The December List, and Other Ugly Facts About 2016

I crushed my December To Do List! I did 12 out of 11 things! Wait, what?

It’s 2017, so I’m bending the rules, along with hearts and minds.

Hop on board, this new year is about to get interesting! Let’s leave all the ugliness behind us.

 

Goal for December 2016: Do all 11 items on my painstakingly (for you) curated To Do List.

Result: Success! 12/11

 

December 2016 To Do List

Sip at three new (to me) breweries – Always looking to have a brew or three, see. Of course! Beer is good! I went to Odd Otter Brewing Co. (Tacoma), Populuxe Brewing and Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. (Seattle).

Take a road trip – But where to? Buckle up. Did a few short trips around Washington State; to Mt. Rainer, Seattle and Arlington/Marysville.

Attend a Seattle Seahawks game – Boom! December 24th vs. the Cardinals. And…they lost a wild and crazy game.

Experience two Oscar buzz movies in theaters – Someone has to do it. Well, I kind of did it. I saw Arrival and tried to see La La Land (but it was sold out). I saw Rogue One, which should get 3-4 noms for music and special effects. So there, I’m claiming it!

Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – As always. Burp.

Eat or drink at four new (to me) places, like coffee shops, bars or restaurants – Keeping up on my goal from Oct/Nov on trying new things. Did it! No sweat.

Get some snow on me – What is winter without wonderful white snow? I threw a few iceballs and did a five mile snowshoeing trek in Mt. Rainer National Park.

Hike! 20 miles at least! – Walk it off. I already achieved and more the hiking goal I made this year (read: hike 250 total miles), this is gravy. Done! And done!

Get rid of some stuff – I have clothes to donate, and some other things that need to go. Unclutter. Tidy. I organized a bunch of things to get rid of. I only managed to donate a few things to the 9:30 Club’s holiday charity. Plus I chucked some stuff still at my parents house.

Watch the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff Game (Peach Bowl) – I won’t go to the actual game in Atlanta, but I’ll be watching. Oh yes. Go Dawgs! I watched it at The Loose Wheel in Puyallup (which was surprisingly packed out with UW fans). Did not like the result, no I did not.

Wild Card – Something that in hindsight, should have been on this list! I went to visit the Tahoma National Cemetery near Kent and Covington, where 3 of my grandparents are buried in honor of military service. Jack Parker (1921-2006), Walter Bailey (1919-2016) and Verla Bailey (1927-2013).

Bonus Wild Card – I attended my sister’s wedding at The Rustin Chapel in Tacoma!

11 for December 2016: To Do List

I present to you my so rare, it’s annual December To Do List!

Get comfy and grab a buttery fistful of popcorn. If no popcorn is within reach, re-evaluate your life choices.

December is here, I’ll be in Washington State for the last 11 days, and in DC for the first 20 days!

Goal for December: Do all 11 items on my painstakingly (for you) curated To Do List.

 

December 2016 To Do List

  1. Sip at three new (to me) breweries – Always looking to have a brew or three, see.
  2. Take a road trip – But where to? Buckle up.
  3. Attend a Seattle Seahawks game – Boom! December 24th vs. the Cardinals.
  4. Experience two Oscar buzz movies in theaters – Someone has to do it.
  5. Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – As always.
  6. Eat or drink at four new (to me) places, like coffee shops, bars or restaurants – Keeping up on my goal from Oct/Nov on trying new things.
  7. Get some snow on me – What is winter without wonderful white snow?
  8. Hike! 20 miles at least! – Walk it off. I already achieved and more the hiking goal I made this year (read: hike 250 total miles), this is gravy.
  9. Get rid of some stuff – I have clothes to donate, and some other things that need to go. Unclutter. Tidy.
  10. Watch the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff Game (Peach Bowl) – I won’t go to the actual game in Atlanta, but I’ll be watching. Oh yes. Go Dawgs!
  11. Wild Card – Something that in hindsight, should have been on this list!

 

dec-to-do-list

75 for September/October: Sporting Events + Running

Football season is finally here!

Over the next couple months, I’ll be attending or watching or playing in a good number of sporting events. To make my monthly goal easier, I’ll just add all those up and call it awesome. Plus I’m still training for the Army 10-miler on October 12th, so I’m sure to run a heaping helping of miles.

September/October Goal: Watch, play in or attend enough sporting events and run enough miles so they total 75

Here are some of the ways I can top-up on sporting events:

  1. Play Fall flag football games
  2. Play Fall volleyball matches
  3. Run the Army 10-miler
  4. Attend University of Washington Football Watch Parties
  5. Attend Seattle Seahawks Watch Parties
  6. Attend two Seattle Mariners road games (in Houston)
  7. Attend one Texas Rangers game (in Arlington)
  8. Attend the October 6th Monday Night Football game: Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Football Club
  9. Attend one Seattle Sounders road game (in Dallas)

Get it!

___________________________________________________________

Now let’s look at how I did for my July goal…

July Goal: Complete enough projects in my apartment and run enough miles so they total 35

Final stats:

  • Run = 30.35 miles
  • Projects = 5

Total: 35.35

Result: Success

First off, I hurt my back in mid-July. Probably doing too many activities. So for one week, I didn’t run. Rather then scrap the goal, I just added an extra week into August. I make the rules.

I did not do nearly as many projects around my apartment as needed, but it was good to get the few I did do out-of-the-way.

List of projects:

  1. Took out the epic piles of recycling
  2. Sorted a year’s worth of restaurant cards and movies stubs
  3. Cleaned my book shelf and gave away a number of books
  4. Cleaned my living room, especially the table which had become a reckless pile
  5. Set up a iPod/iPhone speaker in my living room

___________________________________________________________

And how about my August goal?

August Goal: Watch zero TV shows

Boom clap! Success!

glowing-eye_original

Optimism

‘Optimism: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.’ – Oxford Dictionary

Safeco Field
Safeco Field

As a long-suffering Seattle sports fan, it’s hard to be optimistic about our chances of winning. Anything. We’ve been burned too many times.

So, it is with only a mild case of trepidation that I say, there is reason for optimism this year.

After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in February, suddenly my eyes are open. There is a bit of confidence. And lots of hope.

 

1) The Seattle Mariners are 7 games over .500 and the 5th best team in the American League. They beat the best team 2 out of 3 games going into the All-Star break. Say what? Optimism has set in.

2) The Seattle Sounders FC are far and away the best team in Major League Soccer (MLS) so far, at 10 points clear of the 2nd best team. They’ve outclassed everyone. They look unbeatable. Optimism.

3) The new women’s soccer team, Seattle Reign, is 13-1-3 (42 points) and 9 points clear of 2nd place. Although I’ve never watched a game, optimism.

4) The Washington Huskies football team has a new coach, a new stadium and a new attitude. Win. And for the first time in a long time, I believe it. Optimism.

5) And the Seattle Seahawks are again projected to be one of the best teams in the NFL. I say they win the Super Bowl again. Confidence.

 

P.S. If you don’t care about sports, I’m also optimistic for other reasons. You just wouldn’t know from this post!

 

186 for March: Tornado of Tweets

My grandiose goal for March is to learn how to use Twitter better and tweet more often.

March Goal: Post 186 tweets

There are three Twitter accounts I manage and contribute to.

A flurry of two tweets a day for any single account is plenty.

My math formula unleashed:

Math

This is no small feat, since historically my tweeting prowess is suspect. For example, I’ve been dropping 140 character slander snippets on my personal account for three years. On average, I post 1/2 a tweet a day! Hardly inspiring.

I’m making a play for a 300% increase! Not even Frank Underwood* would have the acute acumen to attempt aforesaid action!

@ARandomJourney – This is my personal Twitter handle, which I use as an extension of this blog to promote the various posts. I also share random thoughts and links. All opinions are mine, unless you disagree with them. Then they are 300% more mine.

@ARandomJourney

@UW_DCDawgs – A new Twitter handle for the DC Chapter of the University of Washington Alumni Association, affectionately known as DC Dawgs (the UWAA likes us to say DC Huskies…). We started it to promote the various activities we organize and the sports teams we participate in. Go Dawgs!

@UW_DCDawgs

@ProgEffective – I use this for work, to promote various documents, tools and ideas that would be useful to staff and other people interested. The name ProgEffective is short for Programme Effectiveness, which is the area I work in. This may sound exciting and all, but next time I’ll pick an easier on the eye handle.

@ProgEffective

Let’s the Tweeting Games begin!

Quote

P.S. I resisted the urge to coin the phrase ‘Tweetnado’. You’re welcome.

* I encourage you to binge watch ‘House of Cards’. Do it.

2012: A Sport By Any Other Name Would Not Smell As Sweaty

Welcome to a round-up of my favorite sports teams.

I rank the success of each team’s season and how many shots I needed to survive the ups and downs. At the end I also include teams that I played on this year.

Seattle Mariners (ML B – baseball)

The Mariners finished 75-87. Better than last year, but still not good. The only really noteworthy news was the trade of Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees. I’m bummed (especially since it’s the hated Yankees) but hopefully he’s happy and can be productive at the end of his career. At a Mariners-Orioles game in Baltimore, I scrambled for a Dustin Ackley foul ball. First ball I’ve ever got at a game!

Success Indicator: 4/10. Whiskey shots: 3

Seattle Seahawks (NFL – football)

After some strange losses (and a controversial win against Green Bay) early in the season, the Seahawks have found their stride. They’ve rattled off 5 consecutive wins. They outscored their opponents 150-30 in three consecutive games. Second best in the history of the NFL. They are 11-5 and the #5 seed in the playoffs with good momentum. With the emergence of Russell Wilson as the starting quarterback (and maybe Rookie of Year?) and one of the best defenses, it looks like an exciting playoff run is in store. I also got to attend three games in Seattle, including the 42-13 schellacking of the 49ers.

Success Indicator: 8/10. (10 if they win the Super Bowl) Whiskey shots: 0

University of Washington Huskies (College football)

The Huskies treaded water this year. They had a couple good upset victories (Stanford and Oregon St.) but also had some serious head scratching losses (blown-out by Arizona and an overtime loss to WSU, among others). They lost to the teams they should have, but got crushed. With a 7-5 regular season, they got a bid to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl against Boise St. Not the best bowl, but better than nothing. It was a close game, but the referees gifted the Broncos a first down and Boise St. won 28-26 on a field goal at the end. Then as usual, Keith Price threw a terrible interception to seal the win for Boise St. Overall, a disappointing season.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 4 (1 for the season and 3 for Couging it against the WSU Cougers.)

Seattle Sounders FC (MLS – soccer)

The Sounders were among the best teams in the league this season. They finished 15-8-11 (56 points). They went to their fourth consecutive US Open Cup tournament final, but lost on penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City. They won their first playoff series (home and away games) in the MLS (1-0 aggregate goals against Real Salt Lake) but then lost 2-4 aggregate to the eventual champions, Los Angeles Galaxy. Finally, they kicked butt in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. They finished the group stage at 4-0 (12 points) and moved on to the eight team knock-out stage, which starts again in March 2013. Go Sounders!

Success Indicator: 8/10. Whiskey shots: 2 (for losing to the LA Galaxy)

 

Other teams I follow:

Washington Nationals (MLB – baseball)

The Nationals were amazing this year (98-64). Best season ever and a playoff berth. But they lost the most crushing, crappy game in history…Game 5 of the NL Division Series against St. Louis Cardinals. Drew Storen gave up 4 runs in the top of the 9th and the Nats fall 9-7 (St. Louis wins series 3-2). Worst. Baseball. Game. Ever. Stephen Strasburg was amazing in 2012. Bryce Harper was great in his MLB debut. The Nationals will be an exciting team in 2013.

Success Indicator: 8/10. Whiskey shots: 4 (1 for each run in Game 5)

University of Washington Huskies (College basketball – men’s and women’s)

The men’s team were the regular season champions of PAC-12 (24-11) but failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. WTF? Instead they went to the NIT and lost by 1 point to Minnesota in the semi-finals.

The women’s team finished 20-14 (8-10 in the PAC-12).

Success Indicator: 5/10

Chelsea Blues (English Premier League – soccer)

The 2011-2012 Chelsea team (64 points) finished 6th in the Premier League. Not good for them and out of the Champions League qualifying for 2013. BUT.. they won the 2012 Champions League!!! So should get an automatic bid to next year’s tournament. Go Blue!

Success Indicator: 8/10. Whiskey shots: 2 (for 6th place)

Washington Capitals (NHL – hockey)

The Capitals had 92 points for the 2011-2012 season. They lost in the second round of the playoffs to the New York Rangers. With the NHL locked-out this season, not much to look forward to.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 2 (1 for losing in the playoffs and 1 for the lock-out)

DC United (MLS – soccer)

DC United finished 17-10-7 (58 points). They won in the first round of the playoffs but lost to Houston 2-4 aggregate in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Success Indicator: 7/10. Whiskey shots: 0 (Enough drinking for one day)

Other teams I play on:

DC Chapter  – University of Washington Alumni (Capital Alumni Network – co-ed flag football)

The third season for the DC Dawgs flag football team was a good one. We finished 6-4 in the regular season (and all of the losses were close games that could have gone either way). Then we won the first two playoff games to reach the Sweet 16 of the CAN tournament. But we lost to last year’s champion, Michigan, in the third round.

Success Indicator: 7/10.

DC Chapter  – University of Washington Alumni (Capital Alumni Network – co-ed volleyball)

The DC Dawgs played our first CAN volleyball season in 2012. We finished 3-5 in the regular season. We lost to the eventual champions, Delaware, in the first round of the playoffs.

DC Chapter  – University of Washington Alumni (Capital Alumni Network – co-ed softball)

The DC Dawgs also played our first CAN softball season in 2012. It was a learning year. We finished 1-13 and went 0-3 in the group stage of the playoffs. Next year we will definitely win much more.

DC Dawgs (Metro Sports League – co-ed volleyball)

I also played in Spring, Summer and Fall volleyball leagues. We came in 2nd in Spring and won the championship in Summer!

__________

Finally, I was voted to be the Sports Chair of the UW Alumni – DC chapter Board. That means I continue to organize the flag football and volleyball teams and act as point of contact for new sports we play.

Peace and may the sports be with you.

2011: Can’t Get Anymore Blue

Welcome. Here, lovingly crafted for your enjoyment (or dismissal), I present my blue mood towards my favorite sports teams.

This also is a tell-tale sign that the end of 2011 is nigh, and I could be writing a bunch of end-of-year reviews. Or something. May be time for you to go on vacation. I am.

2011 was a blue year. Very blue indeed for Seattle sports. Blue is the prominent color of many Seattle sports teams, but that is not the blue I refer to. I mean blue as is melancholy. Blue as in sing the blues. Blue as in break out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and curl up in front of reruns of Hill Street Blues. Get your shot glasses ready.

Seattle Mariners (ML B – baseball)

The Mariners are hard to root for. They can’t score runs. They trade all their good pitchers for hitters that never produce. They do nothing. It’s depressing. Ichiro’s numbers declined. King Felix didn’t match his Cy Young season of 2010. We traded away Doug Fister right when he was pitching well. You can’t finish much worse than 67-95. And no good prospects for next year.

Success Indicator: 2/10. Whiskey shots: 4

Seattle Seahawks (NFL – football)

After improbably winning their division last season (with a NFL history worst 7-9 record), and then miraculously beating the Saints in the playoffs (only to lose to the Bears), the Seahawks looked like they were back in the business of sucking for 2011. They started 2-6. They lost to Cleveland 6-3. Enough said. Yet, somehow they seem to have poured spinach on their Wheaties, because they are kicking butt, winning five of their last six games. At 7-7, they have a very small chance at the playoffs. But small is better than zero, so let’s see if they can pull off another miracle in their final two games.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 3 (5 if they don’t make they playoffs)

University of Washington Huskies (College football)

The Dawgs started strong at 5-1. Then they started playing good teams. And they got crushed three out of four games. Then they lost to Oregon St. (WTF?) and it looked like the wheels had fallen off. To just salvage the season, they had to whip the Cougars in the Apple Cup. They finished with a 7-5 record, good enough to get a bid to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas against #15 ranked Baylor. Robert Griffin III, Baylor’s QB, won the Heisman Trophy, so it should add a bit of heightened excitement to the game on December 29. But they should have been better.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 6 (One for every loss, and two for losing to OSU)

Seattle Sounders FC (MLS – soccer)

The Sounders had their best season ever. That’s why it’s also the worst. Expectations were high. But not fulfilled. They finished 18-7-9 (63 points), 2nd best in the league. Yet they lost again in the first round of the playoffs. Three years in a row. Erg! There was a silver lining. They won the US Open Cup tournament for a 3rd straight time, tying a record for most consecutive times a team has done this and the first MLS team to do it. They also played extremely well in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions league tournament (24 of the top club teams in North America, Central America and Caribbean) and have a spot in the knock-out stage that starts next April.

Success Indicator: 7/10. Whiskey shots: 5 (would have been 6, but for the secondary tourneys)

 

Other teams I follow:

Washington Nationals (MLB – baseball)

The Nationals had the 2nd best season since they’ve moved to Washington, D.C. (80-81). I managed to attend 10 games (two doubleheaders) while eating lots of nachos and Shake Shack burgers. Teddy Roosevelt continued to lose in epic ways in the 4th inning President’s race.

Success Indicator: 7/10. Whiskey shots: 1 (for Teddy)

University of Washington Huskies (College basketball – men’s and women’s)

The men’s team was solid (24-11) and won the Pac-10 Tournament Championship for the 2nd straight year. They beat Georgia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but then lost a close one to North Carolina.

The women’s team (11-17) continued to suck.

Success Indicator: 7/10

Chelsea Blues (English Premier League – soccer)

The 2010-2011 Chelsea team (71 points) was up and down all year. And finally they were too far behind Manchester United and finished in 2nd place 9 points clear of 1st.

Success Indicator: 7/10. Whiskey shots: 2 (for letting Man U win)

Seattle Storm (WNBA – women’s basketball)

Yep, they still play professional women’s basketball. Seattle finished 21-13 and got bounced from the playoffs in the first round. Blah.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 0 (no reason to waste any here)

Washington Capitals (NHL – hockey)

The Capitals continue to be an enigma. In 2010-2011 they were again the best team in the Eastern Conference (107 points). They beat the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, but lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to zero. Another season wasted.

Success Indicator: 6/10. Whiskey shots: 4 (one for every loss to Tampa Bay)

DC United (MLS – soccer)

DC United played better this year, finishing 9-13-12 (39 points). But they failed to make the playoffs despite a weak Eastern Conference.

Success Indicator: 4/10. Whiskey shots: 0 (Can’t. Drink. Any. More.)

University of Washington Huskies (Capital Alumni Network – co-ed flag football)

Year two of DC Dawgs’ (UW Alumni) participation in flag football went better. We finished 4-6 (playoff seed #34 out of 58 total schools). Our division was stacked with a few of the best schools in the league so in a different division, we would have done even better. We played #31 Cornell in the playoffs, but lost a close game 20-12. They stopped us on the goal line at the end of the game. Also, we were shorthanded as many of our players were in NYC for a UW vs. Duke basketball game. There’s always next year…

Peace and may the sports be with you.

Bowling for BCSanity

Wow, we’re in for some exciting college football bowl games this year!

How about the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl pitting unimpressive UCLA (6-7) vs. Illinois (6-6)? Top notch!

Or how about the BBVA Compass Bowl where surly SME (7-5) will clash against powerful Pittsburgh (6-6)? Not impressed?

Surely the badass Beef ‘O’ Brady Bowl tilt between fiesty Florida International (8-4) and mighty Marshall (6-6) will make your pulse race with anticipation? Not your cup of beef?

Ok, at least see how you feel about the Belk Bowl (not a typo) that gives Louisville (7-5) a chance to crush N.C. State (7-5)? No? Man, you’re tough to please. Sigh.

There are 35 bowl games ready for your enjoyment. What do you want? 70 universities (out of 120) go toe-to-toe. Are you not entertained?

Maybe you want to see #8 Boise St. (11-1) still smarting from having to play Arizona St. (6-6) in the MAACO Bowl, instead of a top-tier BCS bowl berth? Nah.

Or maybe you want to get a slice of the Little Caesar’s Bowl where Western Michigan (7-5) can punish Purdue (6-6) while enjoying pizza, pizza on the sidelines? Too cheesy?

If you’re still hungry, maybe the Idaho Potato Bowl baked between Ohio (9-4) and Utah St. (7-5) will give you enough carbs to sit through? Pass the ketchup, please.

What if I tuned you in to the Music City Bowl match-up against Mississippi St. (6-6) and Wake Forest (6-6)? Sing it loud, sing it proud!

Or maybe you’d trade a polished turd to peek at the GoDaddy.com Bowl in the titillating tussle between Arkansas St. (10-2) and Northern Illinois (10-3)? Who are these schools you ask? Don’t be coy, you know you want to watch.

Sadly, this year’s slate of bowl games is about as boring as a curling match between Krygyzstan and the Gambia (that is if you can be bothered to unpack this analogy – don’t worry, neither was I).

One thing I will do is watch the Alamo Bowl where Washington (7-5) and Baylor (9-3) will get busy. I will, of course, pull for the Huskies, but the future Heisman Trophy winner (just maybe) is the QB of Baylor – so an added bonus.

The BCS sucks…how about we just get a playoff system already?

LSU vs. Alabama in the BCS Championship? Yawn. We already saw that game. LSU won 9-6 in Tuscaloosa, AL. I hope Alabama wins, so we can have more controversy. A national champion that didn’t even win its own conference? The system is whack!

2010: Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Welcome to, what has apparently become, my annual wrap-up on my favorite sports teams. I am a victim of routine, so expect to be liberally doused with many end of year lists over the next few weeks.

2010 can be categorized as ‘another’ year for Seattle sports. No riot-in-the-streets championships (although one oh-ok-here’s-a-high-five championship). No plane crashes in the Cascades where the survivors subsisted on the ‘hide of the game ball’. No Lebron James style shenanigans (although one team in particular had its share of drama). There were a few heart-stopping and heart-breaking moments, but nothing that Seattle hasn’t become quite used to by now. 

In other words, just another year.

Seattle Mariners (ML B – baseball)

To say that the M’s were terrible this year (with a woeful 61-101 record), would do the word ‘terrible’ a disservice. The M’s had lofty and immediate expectations for success in 2010. They were coming off of an 85 win campaign in 2009, and acquired the brilliant Cliff Lee in the offseason (who ended up pitching for the World Series losers, Texas) and added a couple of solid hitters. Then the wheels fell off. And they sunk into a sinkhole so deep, I still don’t think they can see the way out. Brutal. Drama. I don’t even want to talk about it. Only two highlights to mention, and they were both brilliant. First, Ichiro hit 200+ hits in his 10th consecutive season, breaking the Major League record. Dude is going to the Hall of Fame. Second, Felix Hernandez won the American League Cy Young Award despite only winning 13 games. He was the best pitcher in baseball this year and won the award despite everything his team did to prevent it, like not scoring any runs during his starts. Take that New York.

Success Indicator: 0/10 for the M’s as a team. 10/10 for Ichiro and Felix Hernandez

Seattle Seahawks (NFL – football)

After two dismal seasons, the Seahawks are again in contention to win the NFC West division and a ticket to the playoffs. Under their new coach, Pete Carroll (from USC), they have become more competitive overall, but still have played some head-scratching games (explain losing two consecutive games by a combined 10-74 score?!?). At 6-6 (with four games to play), they are not a good team, but they just might be good enough for the bad NFC West. They play their bitter rivals, the St. Louis Rams (6-6), the last game of the season on January 2. Expect that game to decide the division champion. Expect elation or heart-break. I choose elation!

Success Indicator: 6/10 (I’d up it to 7 if they make the playoffs)

University of Washington Huskies (College football)

The Dawgs are going bowling!! After 8 seasons without a bowl game, the Huskies finished with a 6-6 record, winning their last three in convincing fashion, to qualify for a bowl game. They will play Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. This is an unfortunate re-match since Nebraska crushed the Huskies early in the season. There were multiple heart-stopping, last second victories for the Huskies and after all the stress they put us through, we are finally vindicated with a bowl appearance. Jake Locker, the QB, passed up an opportunity to play in the NFL last year to give the Huskies one final chance to do something good. And it paid off.

Success Indicator: 8/10

Seattle Sounders FC (MLS – soccer)

The Sounders started the year with high hopes, but didn’t perform well out of the gates. They pulled themselves together and finished strong with a 14-10-6 record (48 points), good enough for a 6th seed in the playoffs. Sadly, they lost in the first round. They also participated in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament (this hemisphere’s equivalent to the European Champions League) with other North and Central American and Caribbean countries, but fared poorly in the group stage, only winning one game (1-5, 3 points). The bright spot for the Sounders was winning their second consecutive US Open Cup championship (a domestic tournament for all levels of professional soccer). Go Sounders!

Success Indicator: 8/10

 

Other teams I follow:

University of Washington Huskies (College basketball – men’s and women’s)

The men’s team (26-10) was the best of the Pac-10. They won the conference championship and went into the NCAA Tournament with high expectations. Two victories later, they were in the Sweet Sixteen. But alas, they lost to West Virginia, 69-56.

The women’s team (13-18) was not good.

Success Indicator: 8/10

Chelsea Blues (English Premier League – soccer).

Chelsea (86 points) managed to break Manchester United’s three-year strangle-hold on the EPL championship in the 2009-2010 season. Finishing just a mere 1 point clear of the damn United, they are rightfully the new champions! They have started strong again for 2010-2011.

Success Indicator: 10/10

Seattle Storm (WNBA – women’s basketball)

The WNBA is a league few people care about. It struggles with attendance and it seems like one team folds every other year. Despite that, the Storm were by far and away the best team this year. They finished with a 28-6 record and basically could not be stopped and easily won their 2nd championship (the 1st was in 2004). High five!

Success Indicator: 10/10

Washington Capitals (NHL – hockey)

I’ve never been a huge NHL fan since Seattle didn’t have a team, but I can adopt the Capitals. The Caps were the best team in the 2009-2010 regular season (121 points) but inexplicably lost in the first round of the playoffs to Montreal. WTF? Another huge build-up of high expectations, only to be dashed in traumatic fashion.

Success Indicator: 7/10

DC United (MLS – soccer)

They sucked. The worst season in franchise history at 6-20-4 (21 points).

Success Indicator: 2/10

University of Washington Huskies (Capital Alumni Network – co-ed flag football)

I have started playing flag football this year with the UW Alumni in DC. (And as fate would have it, I ended up being the ‘coach’…hmmm). This was the Huskies expansion season (1-9)  into the Capital Alumni Network (CAN) league. With 51 other schools playing flag football, we didn’t expect to win right away. And we didn’t. All teams qualify for the playoffs – we put up a strong effort against Delaware but fell in the end. It’s on for next year!

Peace and may the sports be with you.

2009: A Better Year

Last year I shat out a blog about the complete ineptitude of Seattle sports teams (see 2008: The Worst Year Ever). It came out sideways and it hurt.

This year, I’m happy to report, has been a bit rosier. Not brilliant, mind you, but definitely encouraging going into 2010.

Let’s see what happened:

Seattle SuperSonics (NBA – basketball)

errrgg…they are gone to the sorry, pointless city of Oklahoma City. Yes, you heard me. Sorry and pointless. I predict public interest in the team will precipitously drop after about 3-4 years and the NBA will look to move the team somewhere else, with egg all over their face. Bastards.

Do I Care Indicator: 0 out of 10

Seattle Mariners (MLB – baseball)

Finishing with a respectable 85-77 record, the Mariners improved on last year’s dismal season by 24 wins. It wasn’t quite enough to make the playoffs, but it bodes well for next year. 2009 also saw the return of Ken Griffey, Jr., and the Kid brought some serious energy to the clubhouse. And he got into tickle fights with Ichiro. Don’t try that at home, kids. Also, King Felix Hernández had a Cy Young worthy season (19-5, 2.49 ERA), but lost to Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.16 ERA) in the voting. The Mariners do need some more hitting to compliment Ichiro’s standard brilliance, so we shall see how that goes in the off-season.

Success Indicator: 7/10

Seattle Seahawks (NFL – football)

The Seahawks are strange this year. Sometimes they are listless, sometimes they are world beaters. But mostly they are underachievers. So far they’ve only managed a 5-7 record. It’s almost assured a playoff berth is out of the question this year, but they are doing better than the apathetic 4-12 team that didn’t bother to suit up last year. Now if they can only find a good running back and keep Matt Hasselbeck healthy, they might stand a chance.

Success Indicator: 5/10

Seattle Sounders FC (MLS – soccer)

The expansion Sounders FC* made their debut in 2009 and took Major League Soccer and the USA by storm! They did indeed do quite well, finishing with a 12-7-11 record (47 pts). That was good enough for 4th best in the league and a spot in the playoffs. They lost in the first round, but we can forgive them that because during the season they won the US Open Cup championship against DC United. I was there! Winning this domestic tournament also qualifies the Sounders to play in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League tournament with 24 other clubs in North and Central America. Very nice. Finally, the Sounders set MLS attendance records by averaging a stellar 30,897 fans per match in Qwest Field.

Success Indicator: 9/10

University of Washington Huskies (College Football)

Let the Steve Sarkisian years begin! With exciting wins over #3 USC, #19 California and an Arizona team that finished ranked #20, the Huskies played well at times and pulled off a 5-7 record (4-5 Pac-10), a vast improvement over 0-12. They lost a couple heartbreakers (I hate Notre Dame), but they also crushed the hapless Washington State Cougars 30-0 in the Apple Cup. Oh yeah, watch out for next year!

Success Indicator: 7/10

University of Washington Huskies (College Basketball – Men’s and Women’s)

The men’s team went 24-7 (14-4 Pac-10) and won the Pac-10 Conference regular season crown for the first time. They lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament and finished with a #16 ranking in the nation.

The women’s team went 8-22 (3-15 Pac-10) and pretty much sucked.

Success Indicator: 8/10

University of Washington Huskies (College Softball – Women’s)

They won the National Championship, baby! Woo hoo!

Success Indicator: 10/10

A. Better. Year.

*FC refers to Fully Cocked. Or Fans Crying. Or Football Club. I can never remember.

2008: The Worst Year Ever

As a long-suffering Seattle sports fan, I can say without hesitation or debate that 2008 was the worst year in history for Seattle sports.

Let’s look at the performance of the professional and collegiate teams that get the most interest in Seattle:

Seattle SuperSonics (NBA – basketball)

With a record of 20-62, the 2007-08 season was the worst in the franchise’s 41 year history. The Sonics hadn’t played well lately, only make the playoffs once in six years, but this drop-off in performance (11 games from the previous year) was staggering even by those lowered standards. Bad trades and a squabble about the owner moving the team probably contributed. They did have the rookie of the year, in Kevin Durant, foretelling hope in building the team back up, but this season was a complete failure.

Failure Indicator: 10 out of 10

Seattle Mariners (MLB – baseball)

With a record of 61-101, the 2008 season was the 4th worst in the team’s history. It marked the 4th time that they had lost 100 games in a season (a very dubious distinction), the last time being 1983 when the team was still young and terrible. In 2007 the Mariners were close to making the playoffs, but in 2008 they won 27 fewer games – an epic drop-off in baseball terms. There was high expectation to make the playoffs in 2008; in the other three 100 loss seasons, there were no expectations. That the manager quit in the middle of the season and that there was a glut of injuries did not help the situation.

Failure Indicator: 10/10

Seattle Seahawks (NFL – football)

Currently at 2-10, the Seahawks are in danger of one of their worst seasons ever. Even if they were to magically win the rest of their games (they play three playoff contending teams), 6-10 would still rank as a complete bust of a season. After five consecutive years of making the playoffs (no other NFC team has done that, not even the Giants) and a Super Bowl appearance, the Seahawks have fallen into the ranks of the worst teams this season. Naming a coach-in-waiting during Mike Holmgren’s last season is a complete crock and very likely contributed to the terrible season. Injuries to almost all wide receivers and losing Matt Hasselbeck for 5 games only added fuel to the fire of their craptasticness.

Failure Indicator: 10/10

University of Washington Huskies (College Football)

At 0-11, with one game left to play (and not winnable), the Huskies are in the nightmare state of complete and utter failure. No Huskies team in its 100 + year history has ever been this bad. Losing in double overtime to the supposedly worse Washington State Cougars only drives this point home. None of the other 119 BCS eligible schools are winless. No Pac-10 team has ever gone 0-12. Outscored 152-415, they didn’t just lose, they got destroyed by an average of 38-14. Tyrone Willingham, you’ve been served. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Failure Indicator: 12/10

University of Washington Huskies (College Basketball – Men’s and Women’s)

The men’s team went 16-17 (7-11 Pac-10) and missed the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

The women’s team went 13-18 (8-10 Pac-10), missed the NCAA Tournament and did nothing worth noting.

Failure Indicator: 7/10

As performance is not the only indicator, let’s look at some intangibles:

The Seattle SuperSonics are stolen from Seattle by greed and a declining and increasingly irrelevant league and re-located to Oklahoma City. The NBA is dead to me.

Worst. Year. Ever.