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Dome Pondering – 2010 Year in Review

DP2010YearinReview copy

The completion of another year is once again upon us. And with the completion of each year, late in December, that means the time for the Dome Pondering Year in Review is here! The DP Year in Review is our biggest post of the year. It is our Super Bowl. Our World Series. Our Wrestlemania. Our Oscars. And Our Grammys. The 2010 Year in Review will not only be our biggest YIR yet, but most likely, the biggest post in the history of Dome Pondering.

And while 2010 has brought many different thoughts, feelings, reactions, and opportunities to the table for each of us in a special way, the year has been an especially good one for Dome Pondering. For the first year ever, we have surpassed the 100 post milestone for a year – and that includes the old Dome Pondering, pre-Blogspot. As a site, the DP has also seen an increase in hits, visitors, and followers from 2009, the growth of a Movie Review section, and the addition of several new sections, including the latest – The Pondering 10. For all of the success endured here, I thank you. Thank you for coming here to the DP, and even greater thanks for continuing to come back.

With that said, let’s get down to business, give out some Pondys, make some predictions, and solidify some final comments on the year that was 2010.

And since this is our biggest post of the year, we’ve decided to have one of my favorite announcers of all-time, Harold “The Fink” Finkel narrate our big post of the year. 

Fink: This is our opening contest for the 2010 Dome Pondering Year in Review, and it is scheduled for thirty-three awards!

The Pondy Awards

Crucial Moment of the Year: New York City Times Square Bomb Scare

It never ceases to amaze us the various ways that terrorists will attempt to harm our freedom and our way of life. Although, the war in Iraq appears to be coming to a close, our war on terrorism seems like a fight that is just beginning. We learn every day how vulnerable we truly are as our enemy is not in any uniform, or looks any specific way. In this case, our enemy was an American that attempted to destroy Times Square with a car bomb, potentially killing thousands. Thank God for a observant NYPD officer and other New Yorkers for putting to end what could have been a very grim situation.

Honorable Mention – Yemen Airplane Bomb Plot Foiled 

World Affairs Issue of the Year: Pakistan Floods

While many might have thought the Haiti Earthquake or even the Chile Earthquake would  have won this year’s award, the fact is what’s going on in Pakistan is much more devastating with much less attention. All three situations are unfortunate, however, the floods in Pakistan are still ongoing. So far close to 2,000 people have died, with about 20 million being affected by destruction of property, infrastructure, and not to mention, the lack of medical assistance and care.

Honorable Mention – Haiti Earthquake and Chile Earthquake 

Inspirational Story of the Year: Orayne Williams

Many might be unaware of Orayne’s story as it barely made national news. Nonetheless, it is one that gripped me as soon as a I read it. Orayne, a young man that lived in a homeless shelter worked his way through High School to earn himself a full scholarship to college. Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In was a post from early July this year that sheds more light on Orayne’s inspirational journey. 

Random Story of the Year: Gulf of Mexico BP Oil Spill

This was a story earlier in the year that came out of no where, and was one that stuck around causing problems, debate, and controversy. As of right now, the cap has been fixed, yet, it shed some light that at any moment, this nation could lose gallons and gallons of oil.

Honorable Mention – New York City Double Twister, Iceland Volcano Eruption, and Lunar Eclipse 

Most Controversial Story of the Year: Arizona’s SB1070 Immigration Law

A very hot button topic (If You Ain’t White, You Ain’t Right…No, Seriously) that saw Arizona pass a law giving officials and authorities the right to ask an individual for proper legal documentation. The law obviously will lead to racial profiling, yet, was passed and is slowly becoming a topic of discussion for various states.

Honorable Mention: Muslim Mosque on World Trade Center Site and TSA Full Body Scans 

Most Overrated Story of the Year: Rutgers Student, Tyler Clementi’s, Suicide

Insensitive? Not at all. I understand the sudden awareness to cease bullying (more on that later), however, making Clementi into a martyr for this movement is highly overrated. He was not killed heroically, or murdered – he committed suicide. He ended his life. Not those that bullied him. The biggest issue from this situation was the question of, What Happened to Human Decency? 

Honorable Mention – JetBlue “Rogue” Flight Attendant Steven Slater and Russian Spy Anna Chapman 

Tune of the Year: Lady Antebllum - “I Need You Now”

A new award here at the DPYIR, I found it hard to pick any song over “I need You Now”. While, I personally thought B.O.B.’s “Airplanes” was the best song of the year and Rolling Stone went with Kanye West’s, “Runaway”, Lady Antebellum’s hit topped the charts in various categories, and helped country cross over into pop and other genres. Taylor Swift’s “Mine” could be argued for as well. A big year for country. While many others had big years as well, it is hard to argue with facts.

Honorable Mention – Usher: “OMG” and B.O.B.: “Airplanes” 

Invention of the Year: Facebook

Yes, Facebook has been around for years. So, why the sudden Pondy win? Facebook took a large step this year in its continuing journey of moving from a site for college students to becoming the site everyone checks too frequently on the internet. From business, interests, personal, and social, Facebook continues to improve, and continues to become more socially responsible. That is without mentioning the success of Mark Zuckerberg, his movie, and the accomplishment of becoming TIME’s Person of the year. Sorry iPad users. Steve Jobs basically found a way to sell you all bigger, weirder looking version of the ipod Touch.

Honorable Mention – iPad 

Comeback of the Year: Michael Vick

Usually, I don’t say things like this, as everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, anyone who still has a gripe with Michael Vick needs to GET OVER IT! Yes, he brutalized dogs. And it was horrible. However, he’s paid his debt to society with 18 months of his life. He has also lost everything. He’s now a changed man, and forming one of the biggest comeback stories in the history of entertainment. Hopefully he continues his success, and continues his personal and professional reformation.

Honorable Mention – Kanye West and the McDonalds McRib 

“Wishing Well” Award of the Year: NBA and NFL Collective Bargaining Agreements

With labor strikes and lockouts looming over the National Basketball Association and National Football League, the winter of 2010-2011 is looking very bleak. Here is hoping for a resolve to both issues. I like college basketball, and I guess I can learn to be more interested in college football, but it’s just not the same. 

“Just Go Away” Award of the Year: Lindsay Lohan

Since Mean Girls, what have you done? I don’t understand why you are relevant other than being a clear example of how to throw away a career. Go away.

Honorable Mention – People that post annoying and useless Facebook Statuses

“Largest Fortitude” Award of the Year: Amar’e Stoudemire

Of all the players during this past summer’s great class of free agents, Amar’e Stoudemore is the only one that truly has impressed me thus far. No, not because he plays for my beloved New York Knicerbockers, but because, unlike others, he came into a situation that wasn’t promising and has helped turn it around. A situation that I’m sure you DP devotees are aware of from my previous rants on the state of the Knicks. His fortitude in walking into the Garden and proclaiming, “The Knicks are Back” took guts and fortitude. And so far, he has backed it up. 

“We’ll Miss You” Award of the Year: Bob Sheppard

As evident by my inclusion of “The Fink”, I have my fair share of respect (and weird fixation)for announcers, especially legendary ones. Although it hasn’t been heard for a couple of years now, knowing the stoic voice of Bob Sheppard will no longer be heard is very, very sad.

Honorable Mention – Ken Griffey Jr.’s Swing and George Steinbrenner 

“What Were You Thinking” Award of the Year: “The Decision” By: LeBron James

After all of the hoopla for two years leading up to his free agency, LeBron James deciding to make his decision via a one-hour special titled “The Decision” was baffling. After being a huge fan favorite across the league, James is now vilified after his selfish colors came through.

Honorable Mention – Tony Parker and Jesse James cheating on Eva Longoria and Sandra Bullock (Ah mean, seriously?)DomePonderingYearinReviewGalarraga 

“What a Shame” Award of the Year: Armando Gallaraga’s Blown
 Perfect Game.

Not sure what else you can say about this? A perfect game is a once in a lifetime feat for any pitcher. To have it blown by a bad call on the final play is just a shame. 

“Welcome to the Scene” Award of the Year: Anti-Bullying Movement

Although it was spurned from an overrated story, curtailing bullying is something that has grown to become the “in” thing. While I’m a bit skeptical on how much “bullying”, something that has been DomePonderingYearinReviewGalarraga1around for years, can be ceased by a movement, it is encouraging to see our society take steps to become more civil with and to one another.

Honorable Mention – Willow Smith and Bed Bugs 

“This Should Have Been Done Before” Award of the Year: Focus on Education Reform

Recent studies have shown that education here in America is still far behind many countries in the world. As the numbers and the gap continue to widen, our government has begun to search for changes to reform education in our nation. Here in New York City, a new leadership is currently being put in place, and occurring to enhance education and to hold our teachers accountable. 

“The Incredibles” Award of the Year: Roy Halladay

Once he moved to the National League, everyone knew Roy Halladay would not only dominate, but had the potential to do some impressive things. Well, not only did he win the National League Cy Young Award, but he threw a perfect game, and oh yeah, he pitched only the second no-hitter in post-season history. Pretty incredible if you ask me.

Honorable Mention – Stephen Strasburg 

“We Need to Fix This” Award of the Year: Global Economy

Well, in the 2009 Year in Review, yours truly hoped the Global Economy wouldn’t win another Pondy for this category as it would mean things have not gotten better. Well, the truth is, it hasn’t. Unemployment is still high. Graduating college classes have little hope. And reports show that over 45% of twenty-somethings are still living at home with their parents. Yup, the Global Economy has won this for the third year in a row. An unfortunate dynasty. 

Biggest Letdown of the Year: LeBron James

As I’ve said in the initial Pondering 10 list, “Must-Watch Athletes”, LeBron James is the must-watch guy. He is a great talent, no doubt about it. However, the way he has gone about seeking the easiest way to win a championship is disappointing (Disappointment: The True Falloout From “The Decision”). Maybe we expected too much from LeBron? Nonetheless, his continued actions this past summer to the present have been a huge letdown. 

Idiot of the Year: James Dolan

A now two-time winner of this award (First time in 2007), Dolan earned himself this award when he attempted to bring the awful Isiah Thomas back into the fold of the New York Knicks (D is For Dumb. D is For Dolan). In that post yours truly said it early, stating:
With a little under four months to go, barring a major mishap, Dolan looks like he has the 2010 award clearly wrapped up.”
Way to be an idiot, Jim.
DomePonderingYearinReview33Miners Dome Pondering Person of the Year: The Chilean Miners

33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet below the Atacama Desert for 70 days before being rescued takes a certain type of will, determination, faith, and brotherhood. The 33 men survived substandard living conditions by keeping one another alive by maintaining their spirits and their belief in their faith. A true feat, one that deserves the most respected Pondy. 

Fighter of the Year: Cain Velasquez (UFC)

After destroying the hype that was Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight crown, Velasquez has put himself in position to be in charge of the division through the 2011 year. And oh yeah, he is still undefeated.

Honorable Mention – Manny Pacquioa 

Pay Per View Event of the Year: ROH Death Before Dishonor VIII

ROH has done well with their internet pay-per-view events. For most of the year, Death Before Dishonor was an event that all wrestling fans had to see, headlined by a must see event.

Honorable Mention – TNA Lockdown, WWE Royal Rumble, and UFC 116 

Pro Wrestling Match of the Year: Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money (Best of Five Series)

Yes, I know, that is five matches for one award. However, the best of five series between these two teams this year was amazing. All five were so good it is hard to separate them from one another. In fact, the series could be the best best-of series in pro wrestling since the best of seven series between Chris Benoit and Booker T in the old WCW days. The series proved that MCMG and Beer Money are the two best tag-teams in the business right now.

Honorable Mention – Wrestlemania XXVI – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels; ROH Death Before Dishonor – Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards; TNA Final Resolution – Full Metal Mayhem – Motor City Machine Guns vs. Generation Me 

Pro Wrestling Tag Team of the Year: Motor City Machine Guns (TNA)

After the description above, this selection is pretty much evident. The current TNA Tag Team champions, the best tag team in the business, and many amazing matches throughout 2010 with the likes of Beer Money, Generation Me, and Team 3D. Pretty academic here.

Honorable Mention – Beer Money (TNA), The Kings of Wrestling (ROH), and All Night Express (ROH) 

Female Pro Wrestler of the Year: Madison Rayne (TNA)

Hands down, the best female wrestler of 2010. Madison Rayne greatly improved over the year of 2010 becoming a great heel, and an even better TNA Knockouts champion.

Honorable Mention – Natalya Neidhart (WWE) and Sara Del Ray (ROH) 

Male Pro Wrestler of the Year: The Miz (WWE)

Yes, that is correct – The Miz. Yes, I am amazed I wrote that. It’s been a long road from the Real World: New York, however, The Miz has become quite a superstar in the industry through hard work. After winning the WWE Tag Titles, WWE United States title, and the big one, the WWE Championship, The Miz had a year that is unmatched by any other in any company. A year that was simply, well, awesome.

Honorable Mention – John Cena (WWE), Kurt Angle (TNA), Jeff Hardy (TNA), and Mr. Anderson (TNA). 

Sport Event of the Year: NBA Finals - Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

A historic rivalry that went seven games for the NBA title. A great series that had a lot of drama, storylines, and star power in it. The seven games series between the Lakers and Celtics was one of the best NBA Finals I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Honorable Mention – USA vs. Canada Gold Medal Game, FIFA World Cup, and UFC World Heavyweight Championship – Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin. 

“The Derek Jeter Flip Play” Award of the Year: Landon Donavan’s World Cup Goal

Another new addition to the Pondys. This award, named after the call for Derek Jeter’s flip play a few years ago, will go to the best sport play or moment of the year. And with a huge goal in the World Cup to send the United States into tournament play for the World Cup, Landon Donovan’s goal was the biggest play of the year. It wasn’t the most remarkable in terms of talent, athleticism, or strength, but one that had a flair for the dramatic. Donovan’s goal in the 91st minute gave the United States the win sending them into Tournament play.

Honorable Mention – Mark Buehrle Kick, Between the Legs Flip Play, Austin Jackson’s Catch to save Armando Galaragga’s perfect game, and Blake Griffin’s dunk over Timofey Mozgov 

Coach of the Year: Mike Krzyzewski

Coach K has long been associated with winning and excellence for his efforts leading the Duke Blue Devils year in and year out. However, this year, Coach K did his best job as a collegiate coach leading a starless Duke squad to a National Championship. He then followed that up by winning a World Championship by leading a lesser talented USA Basketball squad to a Gold Medal in the FIBA World Championships. No one had a better 2010. And most importantly, no one has won more in 2010.

Honorable Mention – Phil Jackson, Geno Auriemma, and Bruce Bochy 

Team of the Year: UCONN Women’s Basketball Team

It’s not everyday a women’s basketball team can be honored as team of the year, yet, what this program has managed to do in eighty-plus wins in a row is remarkable. Complete and utter dominance. Fact is, no one has won more than this team over the past year. Any sport. Any gender. It is a streak that is historic and may never be duplicated again. And of course, one that may be extended for a few more games.
Honorable Mention – Los Angeles Lakers, Duke Blue Devils, Team USA Basketball, and San Francisco Giants
DomePonderingYearinReviewBrees Dome Pondering Sportsman of the Year: Drew Brees

Unlike last year, this year the DP and Sports Illustrated agree on the Sportsman of the Year. Similar to what Amar’e Stoudemire has done this year, Drew Brees turned down south beach before LeBron decided to take his talents there, and signed with a Saints team that needed resurrecting. After signing, Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf area including the city of New Orleans. Brees embraced the city of New Orleans as his own by not only being a cornerstone of an improving Saints football team, but by being very instrumental in the relief effort throughout the city. Earlier this year, Brees capped off the rebuilding of a city by leading the Saints to a Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts. It was a story that could not have been scripted any better. In one the few times in Sports, a player literally resurrected an entire city not only through his play, but his effort in the community.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Fink: The following contest is scheduled for one calendar year, and is the 2011 look into the future! 

Predictions

Thanks Fink. Yes, what has slowly become a tradition here at the DP, yours truly will attempt to delve into the future, make a few predictions, and hey, who knows, maybe some will actually occur. Before we look forward, let’s look at some of the predictions that actually occurred in 2010:

  1. David Lee makes All-Star team
  2. United States does well in Winter Olympics, but is eliminated by Canada.
  3. Brock Lesnar announces that he will indeed comeback to the UFC.
  4. President Obama deploys another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.
  5. WWE Wrestlemania XXVI is headlined by Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker II with a main attraction of Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon.
  6. Urijah Faber finally jumps from developmental WEC to the UFC.
  7. Tyreke Evans is named NBA Rookie of the Year.
  8. Los Angeles Lakers defeat Boston Celtics in seven games.
  9. Oprah does show on “Families that struggled through the recession”. Oprah claims to understand their hardships, cries, and offers book that struggling Americans should read (Can’t believe this actually did happen).
  10. Jason Bay goes down, and Mets begin their yearly descent to mediocrity.
  11. President Obama states that the time for troops to come home is not right now. Approval rating begins to plummet.
Well, after nailing eleven down in 2010 (which is more than the 6 from 2009), let’s see how many we can land in 2011, without losing the sarcasm and satire. 

January
  • Oregon defeats Auburn 35-33 in the BCS National Title Game. TCU finishes undefeated, and the NCAA still considers BCS format “clear and decisive”.
  • VH1 announces that due to the success of “Basketball Wives” and “Football Wives”, they will be introducing “Golf Wives” consisting of a cast made up of women linked to Tiger Woods.
  • Manny Ramirez and the New York Yankees agree to a one year deal to bring the native of Washington Heights home. The deal falls apart after Ramirez and Yanks fail to agree on details regarding upkeep of his dreads.
  • American Idol season begins with ratings decline due to new cast.
  • Beyonce releases new album. Announces that she is working on another new album set to be released before the year is over.
February
  • Super Bowl XLV occurs between Philadelphia Eagles and yes, the New York Jets. Eagles win 27-20. Michael Vick is named MVP. PETA and other animal enthusiasts crazies still want him thrown in jail.
  • Johnny Damon signs with the New York Mets.
  • LeBron has one hour special during All-Star weekend to discuss how many votes he received, what position he will play in the game, and what shoes he will be wearing. ESPN quickly picks up special, and devotes website to the telecast.
  • Monta Ellis is named NBA All-Star Game MVP. Kobe Bryant becomes furious. Lebron James wants one hour special to decide who he think is the real MVP. ESPN grants him his wish.
  • Willow Smith reveals newest single, “Picture book”. (Okay, maybe that was a bit mean.)
March
  • Yankees announce Andrew Brackman will be 5th starter in rotation.
  • Now that NBC decided to name Jimmy Fallon the successor host  for The Tonight Show, 2011 will see Leno announce his retirement, only to return in the fall with a 10 O’clock show and well…you know where that story goes. DomePonderingYearinReviewMcCutchen
  • Michigan State defeats Ohio State in NCAA National Title Basketball Game, 69-67.
  • Bret Favre announces his retirement from football. 
  • Manny Ramirez signs with Pittsburgh Pirates. Andrew McCutchen plans on showing Ramirez grooming tips on dreads.
April
  • New York Knicks make the playoffs as 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. Eventually upsets third seed Chicago Bulls to make second round.
  • WWE Wrestlemania XXVII is headlined by John Cena vs. The Miz and Shaemus vs. Triple H.
  • Strikeforce continues to struggle as number two company behind UFC and their acquisition of WEC.
  • The 80’s will become the 80’s again, and the 90’s will become the in-decade.
  • NBA players embrace new 90’s trend, bringing back the flat top hairstyles and sayings, ala Anthony Mason, shaved into their heads.
  • MTV decides to bring back TRL. Carson Daily crawls out from under a rock.
May
  • American Idol finishes with its lowest ratings ever. When public opinion reflect that the show is not the same without Simon Caldwell, Randy Jackson responds, “I don’t think I’m feeling that dawg. But we look good”.
  • Apple unveils the iBinder. A computer mirroring a trapper keeper for adolescent children. Price is set at $400 dollars, and Steve Jobs calls it “a must have to organize the busy life of your 6-10 year old child.”
  • The Miami Heat are upset in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks. LeBron James claims “His goal is to bring a championship to Miami, and he won’t stop until he gets it”. All of Cleveland collectively rolls their eyes.
  • Landry Fields is named NBA Rookie of the Year. (And yes, I do know Blake Griffin exists).
  • Facebook adds video chat.
June
  • Yankees are in first place. Jesus Montero and Robinson Cano off to great starts to the year. Beckett and Matsuzaka struggle for Red Sox.
  • After hearing nothing from Bret Favre, ESPN tell Vikings they will cover Favre’s salary for the year if he comes back.
  • Cain Velasquez remains undefeated in UFC.
  • Mr. Anderson wins TNA World Title.
  • Mets eventually trade Jose Reyes.
  • Dallas Mavericks defeat Boston Celtics in six games to win NBA championship. Mark Cuban spends $30 million in huge Dallas celebration.
July
  • Eddy Curry wins July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
  • American League wins All-Star Game. Aaron Hill named MVP.
  • Mark Prior will slowly cause Yankee fans to forget Kerry Wood, and even Joba Chamberlain.
  • Jim Dolan shocks sports world and names Isiah Thomas President of Basketball Operations for Cablevision. No one is sure what that means.
  • Lindsay Lohan decides the best way to optimize her life is to film a reality show from her jail cell. And she does.
  • Miley Cyrus becomes newest bad girl in entertainment industry.
  • Carmelo Anthony signs with the New York Knicks. ESPN’s Chris Broussard’s “sources” claim Anthony was going to Chi-cahhh-go.
  • LeBron James and Bret Favre nominated for a combined 37 ESPY awards.
August
  • New York passes bill similar to Arizona’s SB1070 giving authorities the right to ask any person to say, “Park the Car in the Garage.” The Federal Government calls it a clear and unjust prejudice against New Englanders. New York Senate responds by stating, “umm yeah, so what?”
  • A-Rod, now completely healthy from his hip injury, is on pace for a 40+ homerun season. Cameron Diaz claims Kate Hudson “doesn’t have true sports girlfriend magic.”
  • Tiger Woods begins texting Cameron Diaz.
  • Brock Lesnar leaves MMA and returns to professional wrestling.
  • NFL has player lockout after the issue of extending season to 18 games becomes breaking point between owners and Players union. Vince McMahon quickly moves to attempt to revive the XFL.
September
  • The Kardashians find more ways to stay relevant without doing anything productive.
  • Jersey Shore returns for their third season with declined interest and ratings. Teenagers and pop culture enthusiasts simply have just moved on.
  • As Albert Pujols closes in on 60 homeruns, the debate of the single season record is revived.
  • MTV Video Music Awards furthers its reputation as the least credible and most pointless award show in entertainment.
  • Beyonce’s new newest album is released. Announces in two weeks that her next movie will be released in conjunction with her new fragrance, designer jeans, talk show, and her new, new, newest album set to debut in January 2012.
October
  • United States economy rebounds after foreclosures and unemployment rates fall.
  • NFL and NFLPA come to an agreement. League will have shortened 7 game season. Deal is held up as ESPN refuses to air Monday Night Football because Bret Favre is really retired.
  • San Francisco Giants defeat New York Yankees in World Series in six games, 4-2. 
  • Lady Gaga is caught without makeup, and in pair of jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers. She claims to be going as a “normal, sane person” for Halloween.
  • Bound For Glory is held in New York City headlined by AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle.
November
  • The NFL Season finally kicks off. ESPN decides to bring in Bret Favre as analyst. After creating a page for him on their website, they begin keeping a countdown of his consecutive appearances on NFL Live. He is then lauded as ESPN’s “Ironman” analyst.
  • After election day, the discussion regarding Obama’s last year in office begins.
  • When asked about his opinions on Obama’s current term, President Bush responds, “I don’t really follow that show. I watch Glee.”
  • The NBA, taking advantage of it’s sudden nation-wide popularity due to the NFL lockout, goes head to head with the NFL on Thanksgiving. Players gripe about having to play on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
December
  • Robinson Cano signs deal with New York Yankees to become highest paid second baseman of all-time.
  • Obama announces new bill mandating school year to be extended by one month.
  • Justin Bieber hits puberty, thus resulting in his voice changing. It ruins his career, and the hearts of many teenage girls.
Fink: The next contest is a special attraction piece, and is the twenty five things to be thankful for in twenty five…yeaaaaaars! The rules of this piece are simple, in the past twenty five years, the twenty five greatest accomplishments and things to be thankful for will be revealed!! 

25 Thank You’s Over 25 Years

Thanks Fink. You’re doing a great job. Yes, this is a new section to the DP Year in Review, and is one that will be exclusive to the 2010 version. After turning a quarter century this past May on a day that which I described as “New Beginnings”, yours truly has decided to look back and commemorate, honor, give thanks, and appreciate the past twenty five years. Some of the 25 are personal, unique and exclusive to me, while others may be shared by you as well. Nonetheless, without further adieu, here they are:
Fink: And nowwwww, the topic that drew numberrrrr, oneeeeeee!
  1. Being alive, well, and healthy.
  2. Being able to walk, and walk normally, after multiple surgeries on my feet as a child. 
  3. Being thankful for two parents who over the years I have come to learn have rare characteristics in being nothing but unselfish, kind, warm, and unconditionally loving and proud of me.
  4. Finding, accepting, trusting, and loving Jesus with all that I have.
  5. The opportunity to lead others to Jesus in missionary service. An amazing year of experiences that I still carry with me today.
  6. And on a random morning in 2008, the opportunity to save someone's life, literally.
  7. Learned, mainly because of #5, to accept that most of our problems aren’t that serious.
  8. …and because of #4, that life is much simpler than we make it. We usually complicate things.
  9. Met some amazing, interesting, memorable, and diverse friends growing up.
  10. …and the ability to still call some of those friends - lifetime friends.
  11. After #2, overcoming the long-shot odds of defying doctor projections (and sometimes science), having played sparingly in High School, and suddenly becoming a pitcher, I played collegiate baseball - for four years.
  12. Earned a Bachelors Degree.
  13. Earned a Masters Degree.
  14. Earned and bought two cars by myself.
  15. After #12, #13, and #14, being able to say, that I am 100% debt free.
  16. Living in a town for four years that was completely contrary to where I have grown up.
  17. Being treated and considered as family from some of the most amazing people I never thought I would ever, EVER, meet.
  18. I’ve learned to appreciate and love education.
  19. Finding my future wife, and being able to hold on to her when it seemed that things were against us.
  20. I’ve learned to forgive and to never look back.
  21. I have changed, inspired, and had a lasting impact on other people (Or so I have been told).
  22. I’ve been fortunate enough through baseball in college, work, and leisure, to travel to various parts of this great country, and to various places beyond its borders.
  23. Through the economic downturn, I learned the appreciation of working, even if it isn’t enjoyable.
  24. Thankful, for now having a job that I am fairly good at, that motivates me, and one that I do not dread getting up for in the morning.
  25. The ability to clearly and confidently look forward to a healthy and prosperous next twenty five years.
Fink: This contest is scheduled for fifty items, and is the 2011 Bucket List! The rules are simple, fifty goals and tasks will be listed with the intent of completion before twooooooo thousand and eleven, is… commmmpleeeted! 

2011 Bucket List

Yes, after looking back on the past twenty-five years of my life, yours truly plans on being proactive in the next twenty five years, and going forward into the rest of my life. However, before we attempt to make life changing decisions, similar to this post, we plan on taking it one year at a time. The following list of fifty are goals I plan on attempting and completing before 2011 is over. Whether I achieve them or not is another story, but hey, we won’t know unless we try.
  1. Play 18 holes of golf
  2. Volunteer or assist for a charitable cause
  3. Run a 5K
  4. Write (in this case finish) a 50,000 word novel
  5. Play pick-up Basketball more frequently
  6. Go on a picnic
  7. Go to three different beaches
  8. Complete Rick Warren’s, “Purpose Driven Life” book
  9. Achieve an ideal weight
  10. Play the piano, again
  11. Learn a new language
  12. Design a workout/training regime for someone/team
  13. Experience a sunrise
  14. Experience a sunset on the beach
  15. Create a film/movie/short clip
  16. Eat Healthier
  17. Play tennis
  18. Compose a song
  19. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  20. Draw/Sketch a picture
  21. Allow myself to make mistakes
  22. Meet someone famous
  23. Make a difference in at least one person’s life
  24. Learn to live in the now
  25. Eat something I never have before
  26. Become more confident in myself
  27. Become an earlier (and kinder) riser
  28. Learn to, and take more risks
  29. Build and construct a bicycle
  30. Devote an entire day to any and everything my fiancé wants to do
  31. Go bowling
  32. Win substantial money from playing the lotto
  33. Improve my posture
  34. Teach someone how to do something
  35. See a movie in the movie theater (Last movie I saw in theater was in 2006)
  36. Participate in the NYC Bike Tour
  37. Learn basic sign language
  38. Attend a hockey game
  39. Do something that I am afraid of
  40. Reconnect with an old friend
  41. Design an article of clothing
  42. Learn to say “No” without feeling guilty
  43. Finish a jigsaw puzzle
  44. Tour a brewery
  45. Join a sports league
  46. Make five new recipes
  47. Cultivate a plant
  48. Go Ice Skating
  49. Purchase something I’ve always wanted without financial or guilty worry
  50. Attend five events (Sports, Concerts, Entertainment etc…) for the year
More goals maybe added as the year evolves. For future follow up, the list will appear to the right sidebar.

Ding!…Ding!…Ding! 

Fink: The next contest is your 2010 Dome Pondering Year in Review main event…of…the…evening! It is scheduled for one last review with no count outs, no disqualification, and NO time limit! 

The Final Countdown…

Well, 2010 has finally come to a close. It has been an interesting year for yours truly as many things in my life have either picked up, evolved, or outright flipped since last year. In the 2009 Year in Review, there was an emphasis on getting back to improving ourselves - rediscovering our desire, our passion, and our drive. It was a call for all of us, including you the reader. It was a very close description of what I needed in my life moving into 2010.

Looking back a year ago, when things seemed bleak and life seemed all too moot, rediscovering desire, passion, and drive was the right calling, the right remedy, and an absolute necessity moving forward. Beginning in 2010, I vowed to embark and dedicate myself to the very words I stated:
“The question everyday should be: What have you done today to get better?”
And that is a question I want to move forward with into 2011 as well. One that is motivating, but can be left open ended, without a true answer. One that can become complacent in it’s effectiveness.

In 2010, I began a road of improving by first rededicating myself to my faith, and to the way of life I’ve somehow moved away from along the way. Some way along the road, like many do, I managed to place God in a box. Only available for when I needed him. Fortunately, God doesn’t work that way, and I managed to open my eyes to that reality. I gave up on doing things my way, and that's the best decision I have made all year. Nonetheless, throughout 2010, I’ve managed to successfully read through and study the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and now Acts. It is amazing how great the good book can be once we get passed the fear that it is too difficult and the false idea that it is irrelevant.

I’ve also managed to go through nine books of the Left Behind series which has been amazing.

I now find myself in a sound state of mind, and spiritually in a better place.

I didn’t stop there.

Physically, I have become the strongest I have ever been in my entire life. Rededicating myself to a fitness plan and weight lifting program has allowed me to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in, which includes my years of playing college baseball.

After years of being hurt and out of shape, I am now physically in great shape, and looking forward toward improving my training.

And mentally, well, I must say as 2010 concludes, I am mentally drained. I can’t deny the fact that much of the grind I put myself through during the course of attaining my Masters degree hasn’t left me near empty. I need a vacation! But who doesn’t, right? Nonetheless, I am now more educated, and the proud graduate and holder of a Masters Degree.

I now find myself wiser, more educated, and thirsty for more.

And as the year concludes, along with being spiritually, physically, and mentally in tune, I somehow managed to also become engaged, and land a great job.

In the year of 2010, the most important thing I have learned is that there is a battle everyday. A battle between good and evil. I battle that is a constant struggle when you wake up until you lay your head down at night. And while that may sound a bit out there, a bit crazy at the least, it is a very basic concept we take into each and everyday. How will we react to the forces against us? Whatever problems, issues, or situations they maybe, action and reaction is everything in this race – this race called life.

I learned this through a very interesting experience I had in the early part of the year working as a Recreational Coordinator/Teen Counselor. Understanding the energy and effort that needs to be brought everyday is important for children and teenagers who are quickly being sucked in by the wrong ways of this world. It forced me to bring my best, for them, and for myself. And in the short three months I was there, I managed to impact a few lives.

[Blogside note: Bob Marley when asked on stage during a concert how he could perform after he was shot two days earlier, responded, “The people, who are trying to make this world worse…are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.”]

So yeah, it is safe to say that I have rediscovered my desire, my passion, and my drive. In doing so, I’ve managed to have a great year, and elevate myself.

However, why stop there?

And while I understand that things have gone well, and the good Lord has blessed me with so many things in 2010, I know there are others out there who are reading this year’s DPYIR feeling the same way they did in 2009. I urge you to stay in that battle. Drum up that effort. Stay positive. And to not give into the constant struggle that can often swallow you into a soul-gaping abyss.

Looking back on 2009, where I was unemployed, lost, and unhappy, to one year later where I am excited about life, the difference was a mere change in approach, and a willing effort to battle each and every single day.

Hey it is no secret, life is not easy. In fact, we often struggle with life as it looks on in repose. Heck, it’s the mere focus of this entire blog!

Nonetheless, as this race called life hits another checkpoint and evolves into another leg, I second once again that we light up the darkness. In fact, we ought to give a stern effort everyday to this battle, to improve ourselves, and while we are at it, to help improve one another.

After all, despite what I have done in 2010, there is plenty (lots and lots) of room for improvement, and plenty of opportunity for me to reconnect and run this race of life with many I’ve lost along the way.

So when the question of, “What have I done today to get better” becomes a bit complacent in your thinking as it did for me in the end of 2010, here is a line for you I came across a few weeks ago:
“Make the best use of your time, because the days are evil”
                                                              -Ephesians 5:16
God is calling you. Are you willing to go to battle?

In 2011, How will you respond? 

Happy New Year!

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