Out with the old and in with the new. The year 2008 is gone with the wind and 2009 is here. Thank goodness.
2008 represented a year of economic turmoil, political history, athletic persistence, and change.
From an economic standpoint America is in shambles. Government spending is up, consumer spending is down, foreclosures are rampant, yet big businesses continue to get bailed out with taxpayer money.
Bill Clinton planted some of the seeds for this current turmoil but it thrived under the incompetence of the Bush's administration. We’ve suffered a lot on Bush’s watch. Now he’s free to walk off into the sunset without being held accountable for anything.
Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
Barack Obama securing the Democratic Nomination and being voted as the America’s first African American President is at the top of my list. Obama’s presence on the political front has encouraged people to dream and embrace change. Obama dealt with the media effectively. He pulled the plug on race and opened the arena of dreams, acceptance, and tolerance. His message clearly resonated with the masses.
Pre-Obama every President we’ve viewed with our eyes has been white. We’ve now witnessed an African American male be elected President. We also witnessed Hillary Clinton fight Obama for the Democratic nomination and Republican Sarah Palin seeking to become the first woman Vice President of the United States.
Obama made the seemingly impossible a reality. Being the first Obama becomes the Jackie Robinson of politics. He’s setting the table for future African American, women, and Hispanics who may opt to run for the oval office.
When Obama made his victory speech in Chicago for a fleeting moment there was a harmonic state of being. Seeing someone who represents a people who have historically been oppressed now occupy the ultimate seat of authority reveals we've made some strides.
I love using sports as example because often changes ignite in sport before they are embraced in society. Forty years ago African Americans were seeking collective first class citizenship. Africans had to overcome and persist to demand change.
In 1968 sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos used the Olympic Games in Mexico City to denounce racism. They were once hated for their demonstration but now they are celebrated for the courage they displayed.
Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe opened doors in the tennis world in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Now African Americans James Blake and the Williams’ sisters are top players in a white world.
Martin Luther King dreamed we’d one day live as one. Malcolm X challenged oppression head on. Their work, along with others, culminated with Obama being the leader of the America.
Obama will put the final nail in the coffin when he’s officially sworn in as President Jan. 20. It will be a wonderful way to kick in the New Year that’s expected to be one for the ages.
In sports Tiger Woods winning the US Open on one leg was astonishing. For those of you who play golf know it’s difficult to play with two legs but to win at the highest level while injured is remarkable.
The New York Giants shocked the football world when they beat the mighty New England Patriots. The Patriots entered Super Bowl XXII undefeated and left losers. The resilient Giants took home the trophy despite what experts predicted. I picked the Giants.
This year I’ve produced commentary on various topics that’s raised eyebrows, provoked thought, and ignited sometimes heated dialogue. While all my work means a lot to me the one I wrote titled My Hero: My Inspiration, a tribute to my mom, is the most important piece I’ve done to date. My mom shaped who I am as a person and I’m thankful.
On a personal level my covering the U.S. Open and the World Series were the highlights of my 2008. I met some of the top athletes, past and present, like Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Reggie Jackson, and John McEnroe. I met analysts like Tim McCarver, Harold Reynolds, and Chris Meyers.
My presence along side the worlds’ best at their craft was a dream come true. I expect even bigger and better things in 2009. No limits, only results.
We’ve sadly lost actor/comedian Bernie Mack, music icon Isaac Hayes, and Hall of Fame football player and N.F.L. Union President Gene Upshaw. The latter personalities had great lives and will be missed by many.
In closing, I hope everyone enjoys each and every moment of 2009 and beyond. Live each day as if it may be your last. After all, we are not here to stay, we are just passing through.