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Dome Pondering - 2007 Year in Review

2007. A year that has brought us so much with its variety of stories, tragedies, and triumphs. As 2008 rings the door bell, like last year (2006 Year in Review), let's delve into the year that was 2007 before showing it the back door.

Embarrassing - The State of the New York Knickerbockers

20 games. 6 wins. 14 losses.

The 2007 New York Knicks season so far can be wrapped up into one word - embarrassing. It has been embarrassing to be a New Yorker. It has been embarrassing to be a Knicks fan. In a matter of twenty games, the 2007 New York Knicks have been able to drum up enough drama to keep everyone busy through the writer's guild strike.

Embarrassing.

As the tide between the faithful New York Knicks fans and the product that has been presented to us as thus, "The New York Knicks" there has been an outcry of many different solutions, finger pointing and proposals thrown around on how to solve this mess. Long gone are the days of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks, Anthony Mason and others that left it all on the court every night. Gone are the days of the Red Holtzmans, Walt Fraziers, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradleys, and Willis Reeds. Gone are the days of the Garden being an intimidating place for opponents, the excitement of playoff basketball and t…

The Irony of Second Chances.

In life, multiple opportunities are as rare as a true ace in baseball or a great big man in basketball. It is a rarity which causes every individual to seek every option in order to capture it. A second chance. Another opportunity. Another attempt to do it differently. We've all made mistakes. Mistakes are a surplus. Second chances are always at a premium.

As rewarding, grateful, and relieving second chances may and can be, they tend to be ironic in their lessons and assuring of their mysteries.

It is no secret that Stephon Marbury has had a season filled with drama and controversy. From testifying in a court case, to being vilified for a lack of leadership, Marbury's image, courage, and heart has been questioned. The New York fan base recently turned their back on the hometown legend as the Knicks struggle out of the gate, and chastised him for leaving the team on a West Coast trip (Though details on his hiatus are still unconfirmed). Through all of that, Marbury is jeered unco…

Feast, Giving Thanks, And Looking at Our Famine.

Thanksgiving - complete.

The season of giving, sharing and everything else that feels good has begun. However, before heading out to the malls, before making plans for the holidays and before hanging the garlands and opening my heart to the carols, one has to take a moment to slow down before moving forward. After all, this is a time when all moments tend to enter a warped vortex that fast forwards the remaining days of the year. And with just that, a mere few days, giving thanks before the end of the year is essential. Now you may say, aren't I a bit too late? Possibly. However, one day to give thanks cannot capture how much you have appreciated 2007. Yes, as we turn the corner on the final stretch of the new year, this weekend has opened my eyes to give thanks for a few things.

Yankees 1st Round Exit in 2007 Playoffs - One has to be thankful for the early exit as it allowed us to realize the greatness of an era, the class of a manager, and the sudden need to change the philosophy…

Life In It's Simplest Form

"From now on, it can never be the same as before.
Cause the place I'm from doesn't exist anymore."

Life can seem hard as you look forward, plotting and calculating a future of potential moves. Improving and motivating yourself to reach that potential is an everyday grind that is rigorous and demanding. The ins and outs, the yes and no's, the options, the commitments, the failures, the triumphs and the tragedies, all can make life as complicated as we have already known it to be.

However, it all seems so easy sometimes, when we "try" to reduce life down to a simple formula. We recognize life for it's ability to change, alter, and form into different forms. Times change. People grow. Eras come to an end. We've come to grips with our current reality so much so, that we embrace our new adventure whole heartedly- and a half, in order to blanket our feelings for the past. With each chapter, we bring a piece of us (or at least attempt to) into our new be…

The Thick Line Between A Superstar and A Winner

Kobe Bryant.
Alex Rodriguez.

Much has been made and analyzed about these two athletes regarding their constant pursue of excellence, championships and their own happiness. For Kobe, its about wanting to be on a team that has a chance to contend for a championship. A team that is not rebuilding and is committed to winning. Bryant has made his demands clear through the media and his own actions. He wants to win. Can you blame him?

However, Kobe had that opportunity. It wasn't too long ago Kobe had a seven-foot monster named Shaquille O'Neal. Following a crushing defeat in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons, Kobe wanted the spotlight. Kobe wanted the Lakers to be his. His team, and his only, like a spoiled child that wanted his toys back. He ruined what could've been a long run of dominance by the two superstars over the NBA scene. Kobe had what he wanted.

What Kobe is seeking is the power to dictate the terms of his own trade, while ending up on a contending team, where…

The Fear of No Fear

"What is your biggest fear?"

I was once asked this question about four years ago. As always, when asked a question of such personal magnitude, I wanted to take a moment to select a proper answer that truly captures and accentuates my absolute greatest fear. So, I brainstormed for several seconds, going over the many things that lock up my nerves and paralyze my mental ability. After honestly reviewing it in my mind twice, I came up with the answer of...

"The Boston Red Sox winning the World Series."

It was the most logical answer for my feelings, as prior to 2004, the thought of the Red Sox winning was truly frightening. It was the fear of every Yankee fan. Imagining what it would feel like, the annoyance of Red Sox fans, the feeling of defeat for New Yorkers, and most of all, the end of our greatest edge over the Red Sox- a psychological advantage. However, the Red Sox are cursed, right? That could never happen our my lifetime. No worries.

Then 2004 happened.

A year th…

In the Knick of Time

City of Champions.

It is a term for which New Yorkers wish can be associated with their city. For a place so demanding, so goal-oriented, so ego-driven, New Yorkers consider it almost a birthright that the term is given to them. After all, it is the biggest city in the world. The number one market in the nation. The city of dreams. The biggest Stage. The Big Apple. Yup, this is the show. New York City should be the "City of Champions." After all, New Yorkers lose enough time, sleep and not to mention money, over their favorite teams. There should not be a reason why they are not.

However, they aren't.

In actuality, they aren't even close. With the Yanks pondering their future, the Jets a lost cause, and the Giants giving the city its last bit of hope, the city does not have a favorite. What about the New York Rangers, you say? Well, maybe, if you're into that sort of thing, but we are talking about sports that capture the masses. Sports that actually matter.

So i…

As Iron, Man Sharpens Man: Realizing Your Full Potential

The proverbial look into the mirror.

We all have those periodical moments when one must reevaluate the life he or she is leading. A reevaluation which includes understanding the past, grasping the present, and preparing for the future. Many times, the combination of the three are overwhelming, which causes these periodical moments, causing the vicious cycle over and over again.

It's life.

Nonetheless, many times a person is self-evaluated on varied standards. Most often, it is the standard of one's expectations. Specific goals, dreams and aspirations that you are capable of approaching. It's a challenge within yourself. What you aspire to be is the focus, a focus vastly isolated from the influence of others. These are the standards which you hold yourself accountable to in all facets of your life. If you fail, you reevaluate. You look into the mirror, and you get on track.

Another standard is by competition. Your self-evaluation is dependent on your understanding of others. Yo…

Rationally, He is My Guy

The New York Yankees.

It seems everyone has an opinion lately on the future of the Yanks and what direction they head for 2008 season. Torre? Pettite? Posada? Rivera? Abreu? And oh yeah, Alex Rodriguez? Everyone has their opinions on who should stay and who needs to go. A mere three days after what has become the quietest 24-hour mourning period in New York City in the past seven years, the Yanks face a crucial and probably the most important off-season in the franchise's last twenty years.

It is not a secret (Thanks to non-stop ESPN coverage) that Joe Torre is the focus point of this off-season so far. Athletes like stability, and for the Posadas, Riveras, and Pettites of the world, Torre's return will play a huge part in their return. The Yankee Brass know this. Over the last twelve years, Torre has been immortalized in this city. Which is why it is smart for them to take a few days to be rational and separate emotion from logic. After all, in what other sport would a coach or…

Dome Pondering Import - "Consider The Yankees Dynasty Over"

With all of the controversy, discussion and debate over Joe Torre's position as New York Yankees manager, many have failed to look at the broader spectrum of the situation. ESPN writer, Howard Bryant captures the feelings, thoughts and brutal truth of Yankee Universe following their elimination.

A Different Year It Is Not

$11.6 million.

That is how much money Isiah Thomas will cost Madison Square Garden as they pay for his indiscretions and poor judgment. Only, he didn't make these mistakes regarding the New York Knicks.

Isiah Thomas who has been scrutinized for all but his first few days as President of the New York Knicks, is once again under the spotlight. If criticism for his decisions regarding the Knicks weren't enough, Thomas has now added a $11.6M tab to the Garden's bill for sexual harassment.

As a die-hard New York Knicks fan, holding Thomas liable for the Knicks financial woes regarding the NBA salary cap is absurd. Thomas replaced an overpaid, aging roster with an exciting, promising (and overpaid) roster. Last year was his definitive year. A year of do or die. Although before injuries plagued the team from contending for a playoff spot, he proved that he had put together something worthy of his contract extension from James Dolan.

However, this year was supposed to be different…

Getting Back to The Basics

So beginning this week, the amount of hours of wrestling programming per week will increase, again.

TNA iMPACT will be presenting their first two hour broadcast in the company's short history. One would think with almost eight hours of television, the wrestling industry is beginning a swing back into prominence. A certain level, which can benefit the business in one of its most crucial eras in recent memory. A level of programming, where each brand is enhanced to similar importance of the Monday Night Wars.

However, with additional hours coming, its seems that the overall business is still lagging behind. All products, all shows, all brands, and both companies. Some may say that it is the effect of pressure from congress, as well as the recent stress to reinvent the business to gain and attract casual fans once again. The fact of the matter is that both are overdoing themselves, when keeping it simple is what truly attracts viewers.

Vick Falls Like No Other

For as long as the story revolving Michael Vick has been happening, I have tried to wait for the dust on this tragedy to settle before forming personal thoughts. After all, there seems to be another update for every time you click "refresh" on CNN's website, or turn on ESPN's Sportscenter.

Michael Vick's actions were heinous and were grounds punishable under the law. Pet lovers across the nation have cursed him to the end of the earth for his choices, some comparing him to Adolph Hitler and concentration camps.

Even though that label maybe a bit brash, I can understand both sides. Yes, what Vick did is cruel, inhumane, and downright disgusting. However, yes, Vick has been a community activist, leader, and figurehead for charities and other charitable organizations in the Atlanta area. My biggest gripe with Vick has been his poor judgment.

Why does an athlete so revered in the city he plays in and making over $120 million in need to be part of an organized unit that…

Barry's New Chase

After 15 years as a San Francisco Giant, Barry Bonds will part ways with the organization and city which has supported him and cherished him with unconditional support. The city of San Francisco has not only been a home to Bonds, but a safe haven from doubt, speculation, controversy, and criticism. Bonds has returned the favor, representing the city and putting it over every opportunity he had. San Francisco is his city.

However, the Giants, who are in dire needs to rebuild, and rebuild young, will move on leaving Bonds without an organization and city that he is used to. Bonds, a figure that has not been shy to voice his opinions (as bold as they may be) to the public, must now seek a new home to continue his career. A new home to niche his craft. A new home to pursue not only 3,000 hits, but a World Series ring that has eluded him for his entire illustrious career.

As debate begins on where Bonds will land next year, and who might be interested, the hot stove will be busy with rumors.…

The Jena 6: A Past Resurrects itself...or does it?

The "Jena 6."

A term which has sparked so much debate and controversy over the past couple of weeks since making its way to national attention. Six kids punished heinously for an altercation where the victim walked away with a few bruises and cuts. After the incident, he then attends a school function.

Yep, sounds like attempted murder to me.

We should begin trying all children across the nation in school yard fights as adults.

Give me a break.

Both sides took wrong steps which inevitably led to such a conclusion. However, wherever there is hatred, bigotry and sheer simple-minded thinking, what else do we expect to occur?

Realizing "It"

It can happen so fast.

So often we are reminded how fast life can turn around on any individual. A complete 180 degree turn. A change so swift that it leaves the prosperous searching amongst the hungry - sometimes the starving.

It does happen fast.

In today's world where technology expands and shortens everything possible to maximize every effort of production, entertainment, awareness and communication effort possible in God's 24 hours, we are left stranded, almost in disbelief of where the time has gone, and where it will come from for tomorrow's tasks and goals.

We seek unimaginable ways to shorten assignments, which require our attention to get to the other things, which demand our attention. The cycle continues until a standard of happiness is fulfilled and is not necessary to be created. It has taken on a life of its own.

It truly never occurs until that proverbial fall where you are knocked to the ground like a featherweight fighter trying his hand in the heavyweight div…

Chance and Risk: The Future of the African-American Baseball Player

"I want to win pennants and we need ballplayers! I've stretched my efforts in this two-year search for players of promise. Do you think you can do it? Make good in organized baseball?"

Robinson shifted to relieve his mounting tension.

"If...if I got the chance."

This was the brief dialog between Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodger boss, and a young Jackie Robinson in 1946. Robinson made it clear to Rickey that he was able to conquer all of the obstacles ahead of him to make the game of baseball better for all people. Robinson met and hurdled all of the obstacles. Robinson opened the eyes to many that baseball was anyone's game, and enlightened a nation stuck in its ignorant ways. Because of Robinson, there was an opportunity provided for African-Americans to participate in America's game.

Fast-Forward sixty-years later. Coming off the heels of celebrating Robinson's 60th anniversary of breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the sport finds …

Give me the Good, the Bad, and Everything Else

New York City is often regarded as a city that is complex in its existence and its operation. It is a city that is often in overdrive, slowing up for no one, nor showing any regression or compassion for those that are swamped by the pace. It's a demanding and peculiar culture.

However, despite the pressure that is laid upon every individual in this city, New York City begs to be sought after to every New Yorker. No matter where you are going, have gone, or will go, New York City possesses qualities and characteristics that can't be duplicated or replicated anywhere else.

I missed this City.

I forgot how unforgiving this town can be.

Only a place like New York City, where a man can be vilified and be the center of attention the way that Alex Rodriguez has been this season. Whether it is his on-the-field performance, or his personal life, A-Rod cannot escape the madness, the intrigue, and the controversy.

I forgot how passionate this town can be.

Where else will fans use the word &quo…

Forever

Every college senior class experiences a time of rejoice, reminiscence, and repose. It is a time when change is imminent, and every graduate prepares to walk through the tunnel into that big stadium that is life. Commencement speeches are usually an attempt to wrap up all the feelings that a collegiate senior is experiencing.

As a graduating member of the 2007 class at Cazenovia College, I was selected to give a speech to the class of 07' at the Awards Banquet. After reviewing and reading many commencement and awards speeches given to graduates by students, faculty and celebrities across the nation, I found many of them to be cliche' and monotonous in their meaning and personalization to the graduates. Although they were rich in humor and inspiration, I felt that most missed the true opportunity to get across a message that is often overlooked. That message was the importance and rarity of a college graduate.

In preparing my speech, I wanted to stay true to that message. I wa…

Dome Pondering Import - "I Have a Dream"

With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day upon us once again, I found it very fitting to post the text to his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. It is a piece that en captures depth to social interaction and provides a blueprint for the togetherness of humanity. Here is to the celebration and tribute of a great leader, an unbelievable humanitarian, and a hero to yours truly and many others.
"I Have a Dream" by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
August 28th, 1963
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Erasing the Lines (again) Within the War

So, we need more troops?

How much more?

22,000?

No big deal right? Well, President Bush doesn't seem to think so. In his latest address to the nation on the status of the war in Iraq, President Bush unveiled his new plan which centers around increasing the number of troops deployed to Iraq. A plan which is very controversial and seems questionable even amongst republicans and the most fervent Bush supporters.

President Bush's new plan calls for an additional 22,000 troops in Iraq to cover "mistakes" from the previous operation. The troops will be used to protect already safe areas, and to protect the Iraqi border. Bush also calls for effort from Iraq and claims that under the new plan, American forces will fight alongside Iraqi forces. Bush said that, "failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them." To ensure that this will hapen, Presi…

Dome Pondering Import - "The Bright Side of Isiah Thomas"

Here is an article located on "Page 2" of ESPN.com written by LZ Granderson. Granderson looks at the often overlooked talent of Isiah Thomas and the future of the New York Knicks. A very interesting read for Knick fans and those very critical of the New York Knicks and Isiah Thomas.

Dome Pondering Import - "The Sooth About 2007"

This is an article written by Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News. Bondy writes comical articles for the New York Daily News Sports Section and has an annual prediction column for the following year on New Years Eve. This year, Bondy didn't dissapoint as he produced another piece that would entertain any sports fan, especially the New York sports fan.