In just a few days, we’ll flip the calendar and say goodbye to 2016.
Overall, it hasn’t been a bad year. As you saw from yesterday’s post, I didn’t accomplish every goal possible, but I did pretty well. Though I’m sure there were a few negative this year — there always is — I don’t really remember much. I have a few things in mind, but they seem petty in the overall scheme.
That is a sign of a decent year, I think.
While it hasn’t been perfect, I can look back on 2016 with a smile and know that it was pretty successful. There are always things to improve on for the upcoming year (time to lose weight in all honesty, get other health things under control, continue to get in better financial shape etc.), but when looking back I know the majority of things were positive.
I feel challenged professionally, which is always good. Personally, I feel in a good place. As I’ve noted in previous posts, I feel as though I’ve tilted toward being a little more introverted, but at the same time, that has helped me kind of get my footing and understand certain aspects of life.
Let’s take a closer look at the year that has passed by.
Summer of Baseball
2016 marked the third straight year of the Summer of Baseball, where I set out to watch many baseball games.
And there was definitely baseball.
In total, I watched 75 games this year, spread all over the country. I watched all over New York, went down south as far as North Carolina, hit the Midwest with places such as Cincinnati and Louisville, and even put in a late-season trip to California to see three games.
The breakdown was as follows: 58 minor league games, 11 MLB games, 4 independent league games, 1 exhibition, and 1 college summer league game. Of those 75 games, 30 came at stadiums I have never visited before.
I also conquered several pre-season goals, such as hitting 1-3 new MLB stadiums, at least 5 new MiLB stadiums, and attend at least 25 MiLB games.
Though I didn’t get to all of my pre-season wishlist stadiums, I crossed several off the list, which is always cool. The one I didn’t get to on my MLB wishlist was Turner Field, and I’ll not have that chance again as the Braves are no longer playing there.
During all of these trips, I met a bunch of people, had cool talks with those who work at parks, ate a lot of terrific food, and had the chance to see baseball at all levels. I made trips solo and with friends/family, giving a different perspective all along the way. I kept book at just about every game (save for the college league game) and filled up my Baseball Passports with many stamps.
In the end, I do think 75 may have been a few too many games. I was always on the run and my weekends were pretty much baseball from top to bottom. I will continue my Summer of Baseball trips, but I believe my perfect number (until I retire or win the lottery, anyway) is probably around 50. If I was in an area where a professional team was 20 minutes away or so, I think I’d have season tickets and it would be easier. But with the travel and things like that, doing about 50 — including one big trip during the summer — is probably the best.
This hobby took a backseat, for sure. And the funny part is, with all the traveling for baseball, you’d think I’d add a bunch more.
The funny part of it all is that didn’t happen.
When I was on the baseball trips, I might sometimes find one or two, but for the most part, it was baseball. I always made sure to get at least one or two when in a new state (North Carolina, Kentucky, California), but outside of that, it’s taken a pause.
I continued to enjoy going to and hosting events, but for the most part, finding caches hasn’t been as fun. There’s not as many people to go with around here and, to be honest, finding too many unimaginative hides for the sake of finding things, just isn’t as fun.
I do still enjoy the hobby, but it’s not the same as when I started. I stopped listening to the podcasts I used to listen to as well as I just didn’t get into it. Maybe in the upcoming year things will change and I can get back into it a little more. But with how the game is growing and the wide range of people playing, it’s just not as fun as it used to be. I think I’ll always geocache in one shape or form, but it’s definitely secondary now.
The one thing about getting older is a closer relationship and attraction to family. When I was younger and working in newspapers, I missed so many family things. And I did it without regret because I thought I had to do it.
Not any more.
“Real life” as I like to refer to my world outside of the professional world, has to take a front seat to everything. Now don’t get me wrong — it’s not like I can up and walk away from work or something for certain things. But when there are important family things, I realize taking vacation or personal time isn’t a bad thing.
This year, I had the chance to obviously watch my nephew Cameron grow and I’ve seen him quite a bit, which has been wonderful. I also had the ability to watch many of my niece’s college soccer games, including her postseason run that ended in a national championship.
Social media has made being able to connect with family so much easier now, too.
There are things I truly cherish with family things and it’s nice to be able to connect on all aspects. I love seeing accomplishments across the board, but it’s even better to be there and experience it (such as with Nicole’s national championship).
A note to anybody else reading — make family a priority in life.
I was ready to stop playing softball after last summer.
We had won the league championship for the second straight year and it ended on a great note as we were actually the “underdogs.”
The league we played in took a little step backward and several of our players had other things on their plates, so we decided we’d take the next step — the over 35 league. This league was set for the older folks (ie: no bunting or stealing etc.) and we took a team over with several new people.
It seemed a lot was stacked against us this year. We were the new kids on the block and all. The rules weren’t written, so sometimes it seemed odd..
But I digress.
At the end of the season (which included canceling the last week of the regular year), there was a four-way tie for first. Somehow, we were the three seed. No worries. This is where we turned it up. We scored 70 runs over three games (including erasing a 15-1 deficit in the second game) to win the league championship. It was a nice way to end the summer. As we always say, winning doesn’t suck!
Each year I always wonder if it’s my last. We’ll see what the winter and early spring brings to see if I’ll be back doing it again.
This year, for the first time, I took my main camera to baseball games with me. It was nice to be able to do so and take images of the Summer of Baseball. There were a few games where I didn’t, but for the most part — I did. It was nice.
I also dived into doing different things, which is good.
The monthly Photo Blogging Challenge has been pretty good for me, too, as it’s usually forced me to think outside the box at times.
I enjoyed getting back out with the camera and hopefully in 2017, I push it even more. I want to do different things with the camera and get different photos. I have some ideas and maybe I can follow through. I do think I need a new tripod, though, and maybe that will help me with things.
This past year, though, was good because I had the chance to snap away at a lot of things, and I’ve found it’s still relaxing and enjoyable to get out and take photos — it just stinks sometimes after to process!
Not everything is perfect. I haven’t done as well with my weight and diabetes. Though not full-blown out of control, the numbers and such aren’t where they should be. I let things get a little crazy and I need to make sure that changes.
This is a lifelong battle, for sure. So it’s something I have to get back under control. I had been doing really well and then got lazy with things — so it will be fixed again.
I had to throw this in here because I have the past year or two. The one local company we followed, 2CW closed, at the end of 2015. In the early part of this year, I attended several independent shows, but it just wasn’t the same.
Part was because of seeing so much unnecessary drama. Other parts were because things weren’t as good in many ways. It just … got old. So I went on a boycott. I did see a show the other night, mainly to see a couple of matches and just to get out again. I went in without my camera this time, got a general admission ticket (we usually sit front) and just watched.
I’m sure I might his a card or two in 2017, but I’m definitely going to be selective as I’ve been. It’s not uber expensive and cheap entertainment, but it’s still time and such. I am glad to see people I know who are successful in this crazy world. It’s not easy being a professional wrestler, so it’s nice to see them doing well.
As I’ve noted, 2016 wasn’t bad. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. The year went a little faster, it seems, but I think that is part of getting older.
I learned a lot during this year, I think. One thing is to stop and smell the roses a bit. I’ve eaten some amazing food. I’ve seen some incredible sights. I’ve had the chance to make connections new and old. I’ve discovered more about myself.
I think whenever you can move forward some in life, you’ve done well. This year was a tough year for some, be it personal, professional, or too much dealing with politics. But when you get to your personal world, sometimes you can take that deep breath and know life could always be worse.
Here’s to the end of 2016 and looking forward to 2017.