Now that we're well into the throes of winter, I couldn't help but notice more than one person I ran into lately mentioning that, though there's lots of snow to come, at least the days start getting longer.
Of course, that's kind of an inside-out way of putting a brave face on a challenging conundrum, but especially in the Copper Country, having a little extra daylight brightens spirits, even if that extra daylight is spent shoveling out after a late-March snowstorm.
It just goes to show that even in tough times, hope abounds. It doesn't have to be political hope or religious hope, just an overall positivity that tomorrow will be a better day.
As you approach a new year, I hope a little spark of hope carries you into 2012. With just two days until it's upon us, here's a few of my hopes for the year to come.
1. I'd really like to do a big championship cover. I came close in March when Michigan Tech played for the national championship in women's basketball, the Keweenaw Storm U-16 girls' hockey team played for a USA Hockey national championship and Calumet played for the state title in Division 3 hockey (all in a matter of weeks), but it did not come to pass.
Of course, rooting for such a thing to occur is not supposed to be in our job description - we're neutral observers. However, pages with smiling people are generally friendlier to readers' eyes than pages with crying or angry people. So, consider it a challenge.
2. I didn't get to do a championship cover for a local team last year, but I did get to do one for the Packers, using a special Super Bowl edition of Gridiron to celebrate "LUCKY NUMBER 13," which if you were wondering, is a reference to the Packers' NFL championships (including those before the Super Bowl era).
We're doing another special post-Super Bowl Gridiron regardless of what happens in the playoffs. It's a good thing, because so many stories originate from the Super Bowl that we couldn't possibly fit them all, and that's without a tremendously busy Copper Country sports weekend to compete with.
I'd like it if the Packers made it to the Super Bowl again to make that special edition extra special (to me, at least). Heck, I wouldn't complain too loudly if the Lions were to get themselves together and make it to the Big Game, though by that point I may be unable to reach the office due to the impending apocalypse.
3. I hope both you and I can make some time to be participants, not just spectators. I'll be the first to admit that I spend a lot of time watching other people run and jump around and don't do enough of it myself.
I'm no fitness guru, but to do is always as fun as it is to watch, if the opportunity arises, if for no other reason than it makes one appreciate the difficulty of the tasks performed. After my defensive foibles over the years in the local church softball league, I can't really criticize with a straight face the victim of a bad-hop Twilight League grounder.
Further, anything that helps keep you around to go to more games in the future is also a plus.
4. Keep dreaming. As a person who was born in January 1984, this year's Tigers playoff run was especially meaningful to me as it gave me hope that I might be able to cross that last team off my sports bucket list. I've seen the Red Wings lift the Stanley Cup four times, the Pistons win the NBA Finals three times and the Packers win the Super Bowl twice.
But for the Tigers, it's just been Magglio's home run to end the 2006 American League Championship Series with a side of Jose Valverde striking out A-Rod to end the Division Series at Yankee Stadium in October.
Even though the Tigers went into the series vastly inferior to the Texas Rangers and stayed that way, I could still harbor World Series dreams. Even though they haven't made much of a splash in the hot stove league, the fact that none of the AL Central did either gives me hope that Detroit can win the division and try its hand on the roulette wheel that postseason baseball has become.
5. I hope you'll continue reading our section. We're thrilled to have Michael Bleach in the fold and we think that you'll see some great work in this section in the weeks to come. Thanks for your readership and support in 2011 and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2012.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @redveale.