There's a week left in 2013, and you know what that means. With half their staffs on vacation or on assignment at the (Obscure Business) Bowl in (Vacation City), the sports world is going to be full of re-run marathons and clip shows.
I spent a few days this week at the homestead in metro Gwinn, and spent a lot of them in front of the TV watching portions of Ken Burns' "Baseball" on MLB Network, a 18-1/2 hour documentary I'm getting dangerously close to being able to quote verbatim.
There was also Sportscenter's Top 50 Plays of the Year. They were kind enough to include both David Ortiz's grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series and Shane Victorino's grand slam in Game 6. To be fair, they did include Jose Iglesias' brilliant flip putout in a game at Chicago as well, but probably just to keep me from making an angry phone call to Bristol.
I work in a text medium, but I think of the world around me visually, and not just because I survived Intermediate Video Production in my last semester at CMU.
Embarrassing admission: I have imagined, with several cuts, video montages of highlights of games I've covered set to the music in my head.
This happens most often during the end of the winter sports season, probably inspired by "One Shining Moment," which you might remember if you stay up late enough to watch the end of the NCAA Tournament championship game.
So, let me string together some highlights for you. You'll have to supply the music.
Remember Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila pulling his weight and then some for Team USA in the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia and flying home with a gold medal.
There's Hancock goalie Jacob Givens standing up in his crease to accept the congratulations of his teammates after a 1-0 shutout of a previously unbeaten Fond du Lac, Wis.
In Houghton, it was an over-the-top pass to Owen Kariniemi to put Calumet ahead with just seconds left, followed by a three at the buzzer from Trent Keteri as the Gremlins snatched victory from defeat.
Just a week later, it was Zach Owens tucking one in at the buzzer as a win-starved Baraga team got on the board in Dollar Bay.
Sometimes, it's not about the moments at the end but sustained quality: Madi Swanson slashing to the basket, Olivia Rouleau turning for home in the breaststroke, Dillon Gordon scoring at will, Ray Brice cutting to the net or Brendan Jacques bagging another goal at the Colosseum.
Or it's about the poignant moments like Cale Markham pointing to the sky in memory of his grandfather after a goal against Jeffers at Dee Stadium or memorials to local hockey stalwart Roger Lewis after his untimely death in January.
At the SDC, see magic moments like T.J. Brown breaking behind the Lake Superior State defense, a Sam Hoyt three or Ali Haidar's dominance in the post.
When the winter postseason rolled around, there was Lake Linden-Hubbell's first girls' basketball district title in years or Houghton's three-pack of a regional hockey title, a regional final in girls' basketball and a semifinal trip to the Breslin Center in girls' basketball.
Then, there would be a lot of shots of snow, ice and slop as we waited for what seemed like forever for the snow to melt.
If we wanted to be creative, we could speed up our collection of spring highlights, but some of the subjects: Chelsea Jacques, Jamie Dompier, Grant Holmstrom and Mary Jarvis of Hancock, didn't need the help.
On the golf course, imagine the likes of Reese Lassila, Avery Rochester and Bailey Raffaelli taking dead aim. The Finlandia softball team walking out onto the diamond for an NCAA Tournament game for the first time.
Once summer began, it was Twilight League baseball in L'Anse, moon shots from Erik Nettell, Paul Kuoppala and Lee Naugle.
As the leaves began to turn, a variety of football highlights: a pinpoint pass from Tyler Scarlett, L'Anse making a stand for a 1-point win at McAfee Field, Houghton winning at Calumet or in overtime (twice), Cole Beauchamp cutting down the sideline as Lake Linden-Hubbell turned heads and its playoff fortunes with a win at North Dickinson or Tech's Lindsey Van Rooy turning to fire on goal in OT.
We go inside to see Terilynne Budreau set Lexie Rowe for a kill on the outside, or Taylor Mattson and the Hancock Bulldogs celebrating with the Copper Spike for the first time, or three different teams hoisting district championship trophies.
On the ice, it's Houghton's own Blake Hietala scoring twice for Michigan Tech against Northern. Or Hancock's own Tanner Kero making a ridiculous move on a Bemidji State goalie, then doing it again the next weekend against Bowling Green. Or Alex Petan scoring in overtime to slay the Spartans at MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
We end the package with promise of things to come in the ongoing 2013-14 winter season: Hancock lifting the Copper Island Classic trophy, perhaps a picture of Comerica Park turned into a frozen playground for the Huskies and their opponents, Alex Almquist blocking a shot, Austin Armga crashing to the basket or Ben Stelzer drilling yet another trey.
Feel free to insert your own highlights into this 'super-cut.' Maybe I left one out - it's been a long year and I'm sure I've omitted a few. Maybe it's something that special to just you: your seventh-grade daughter's first basket or a Bantam breakaway.
But as we fade to black on 2013, there's surely no lack of highlights.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.