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Dome Pondering – 2008 Year in Review

DomePondering2008

2008. Another year, another chapter. 2008 has shown us all many things about ourselves, about our society, about our country, and most of all, about our world. As we jump into 2009, like last year (2007 Year In Review), lets give out some awards, predict the future, and look back on the roller coaster of a ride that was 2008.

THE PONDY AWARDS

Crucial Moment of the Year: Collapse of Lehman Brothers and Buyout of AIG 

During the months of September and October, we watched as the United States and World economies crumbled before our eyes. Third World countries went from suffering to riots for survival. Flourishing countries went from pride and arrogance to questions and worries. Today, the grief continues with lack of funds, retirement plans, jobs, and answers. Yet it opened our eyes to the way business and Wall Street operated (US Economy in Need of Modern Day Robin Hood).

World Affairs Issue of the Year: Global Economy

Is there even a question about this one for 2008? The United States and its falling and frozen credit markets have impacted the rest of the world greatly. It's a tough time for planet earth.

Inspirational Story of the Year: Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech 

After a momentous occasion of electing the first African-American president in United States history, Barack Obama delivered a speech that encapsulated his charisma, Dr. King's dream, the victory of a race, and the hope for all Americans. (Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech: "This is Your Victory")
 
Random Story of the Year: Myanmar Cyclone

On May 2-3, the nation of Myanmar was blasted with a huge cyclone that wiped out an entire nation, killing over 100,000 people. The tragedy also made the world aware to the condition and tyranny in Myanmar, as the government refused aid from democratic countries such as the U.S. Myanmar has yet to recover.
 
Most Controversial Story of the Year: Government Bailouts 

As the United States government passed bills with large sums of money to bail out large corporations and six-figure salary CEOs, middle-class America was losing jobs, homes, security, and relevance, and lower class America searched for new ways to make ends meet. We need large companies to stay in business, yet, somehow, some of these executives need to be held responsible. Honorable Mention - Sean Bell Verdict 

Most Overrated Story of the Year: Madonna/A-Rod Romance

Why do we even care? Is it any of our business? And if it was, is there any proof that there is anything going on? Just another example of more fabrication than reality by our media.

Honorable Mention - The Pregnant Man, Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnancy, Lindsey Lohan, and Sarah Palin 2012.

Invention of the Year: Nintendo Wii
 
Yes, it has been released for a while, but can you purchase one? Nintendo Wii's are almost impossible to find. With interactive gameplay, and software used for fitness, art, and other productive everyday routines, the Wii is worth the wait and demand. 

Comeback of the Year: Britney Spears 

Yes, that does say Britney Spears. This is not a joke. There are many who qualify for this award in 2008, but has any of them risen from as far down as Spears has? A former two-time "Just Go Away" Award-winner here at the DP Year in Review, Spears has risen from media scrutiny which lambasted her every awakened second, to releasing an album that is on par with her previous work. We're a forgiving society, and she's earned it.

"Wishing Well" Award of the Award of the Year: Hip Hop Music

When Nas said "Hip Hop is Dead, he wasn't lying. Today, an art form that created legends, great music, and brought beautiful poetry and raw emotions alive, is replaced with lame dances, fake images, and third-rate lyrics. The genre is a notch above life support, and may soon be deceased with a current-generation accepting mediocrity as acceptable. 

"Just Go Away" Award of the Year: Anti-Obama/Democrat Supporters 

There is nothing worst than a sore loser. Regardless of which candidate won the 2008 election, in the end, they would need the support of all Americans to turn around the mess we currently find ourselves in. To wish and hope Obama fails solely because you punched a McCain ballot last election day is juvenile, and very, well...stupid.
 
"Largest Fortitude" Award of the Year: Barack Obama

If there is anyone that radiates courage and exemplifies having guts, it is President Barack Obama. Running for president of the United States is difficult and takes a great deal of courage. However, running as the potential first African-American president in U.S. history? Running to become president after eight years of President Bush? Running to take responsibility in cleaning up our nation? That's fortitude, my friends.
 
"We'll Miss You" Award of the Year: Yankee Stadium 

There can't be anything said about Yankee Stadium that hasn't been said already. With it's history, prestige, and tradition, the stadium has been home to many memories to many different people. It's a place I truly will never forget. (161st and River Avenue: Where I Fell in Love). 

Honorable Mention - Ric Flair, Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, Anika Sorrenstam, Bobby Knight.
 
"What Were You Thinking" Award of the Year: Governor Elliot Spitzer

A respected government-elected official tied up in a prostitution circle saga. Spitzer spent thousands of dollars on prostitution while alienating and giving fame to Ashley Alexandra Dupre. It's still hard to believe how some fall. Honorable Mention - Plaxico Burress and Adam Pacman Jones.
 
"What a Shame" Award of the Year: Caribbean and Gulf Coast - Hurricanes Ike and Gustav

After finally rebuilding itself following the damage of Katrina, the Caribbean, East Texas, and Louisiana were hit with more devastating Hurricanes that wiped out cities and damaged oil refineries.
 
"Welcome to the Scene" Award of the Year: Usain Bolt

100 meters - 9.69 seconds. 200 meters - 19.30 seconds. 4X100 meters - 37.10 seconds.
The first man to win all three races, and set new world records in each event - enough said.
 
Honorable Mention - Evan Longoria
 
"This Should Have Been Done Before" Award of the Year: Regulation of Wall Street Executives

Well, now that we know what has been happening on Wall Street, in hindsight, we could only imagine if Wall Street executives and investment bankers were curbed on their greed. Would this current situation be as bad, if at all?
 
"We Need to Fix This" Award of the Year: Global Economy

And it wins another one. Need I say more?

Honorable Mention - Genocide in Africa and Growing Global Child Slavery and Prostitution.
 
Biggest Letdown of the Year: Clay Bennet's Move of Supersonics to Oklahoma City

Being a diehard Sonics fan was not necessary to feel for the city of Seattle, and Sonics fans as they watched their team shipped off for no apparent reason. Attendance was high. They played in a recently renovated arena. They had a history. They had support. It was a huge letdown for the average sports fan that spends his hard-earned dollar to support an entity that was a part of them for so long. (Reality Hits Seattle: Sonic Fans Feeling Less Than Super)
 
Idiot of the Year: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

Arrested on corruption charges. Attempting to sell President Obama's senate seat. Hmmm really? Definitely an idiotic move. Once again, very interesting how some people fall.


Dome Pondering Person of the Year: Barack Obama

The thought of one person uniting a nation in a time of despair; giving hope to all during a time of struggle; invigorating many in the political process, when the current government regime has let them down so many times; and adding instant credibility to a nation, when its world image is at a low point; seems unreasonable. However, Barack Obama did it all while changing history and the future. A man whose name will surpass 2008, and become timeless.
 
Fighter of the Year: Anderson Silva

After winning all three of his fights convincingly this year, Silva earns the tops spot. He beat out the undefeated Rashad Evans, fresh off a victory over Forrest Griffin, and the popular Gina Carrano who is spearheading women's MMA.
 
Pay Per View Event of the Year: WWE One Night Stand

After a year of some pretty good events, a few rarely stood out as being great events. WWE One Night Stand gets the nod this year for end-to-end action.

Honorable Mention - TNA Turning Point, WWE Armageddon, ROH Driven 2008, TNA Bound For Glory, and WWE Wrestlemania XXIV
 
Pro Wrestling Match of the Year: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair - Wrestlemania XXIV

Although not the greatest scientific, technical or hard-hitting match of the year like the Marafuji/KENTA sixty-minute classic, Michaels/Flair wrapped it all up with the emotion of Ric Flair's pending retirement and the excitement that is Wrestlemania XXIV.

Honorable Mention - NOAH Autumn Navigation - Naomichi Marafuji vs. KENTA, WWE Summerslam - Hell in a Cell - Edge vs. Undertaker, TNA Lockdown - Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe, TNA Global Impact - Kurt Angle vs. Yuji Nagata, ROH Rising Above - Nigel McGuinness vs. Austin Aries, and TNA Hard Justice - Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles.
 
Pro Wrestling Tag Team of the Year: The Miz and John Morrison

In a period when Tag Teams are so often thrown together and rarely developing any chemistry, Miz and Morrison are the throwbacks to those days. They have dominated the tag team scene in the WWE, and are without a doubt the best Tag Team of 2008.

Honorable Mention - Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns, Speed Muscle, Steen and Generico.
 
Pro Wrestler of the Year: Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle

While yours truly does not like the event of co-anything, choosing one of these guys over the other is a complete injustice to the business. Michaels had a revival year in his mid 40's, putting on great match after great match with everyone and anyone. Angle, much like Michaels, is one of the greatest wrestlers we have ever seen in the business, and he proved that this year by putting on a great match, after a great match. Both men are worthy of this year's top honor. 

Honorable Mention - Chris Jericho, Nigel McGuinness, and Bryan Danielson.
 
Sports Event of the Year: 2008 Olympic Summer Games

This is a no-brainer. An event that gathers the greatest athletes around the world in a competition to decide the very best every four years is definitely a special event. After a few years of debate of whether the games lost their novelty, The 2008 Olympic Games saw many records broken, many great performances and competitions, and the birth of new superstars.

Honorable Mention - NCAA Title Game - Kansas vs. Memphis, Superbowl XLII - New York Giants vs. New England Patriots, and 2008 ALCS - Boston Red Sox vs. Tamp Bay Rays.
 
Coach of the Year: Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays

Maddon chose to take over a struggling Rays franchise a few years ago and believed that he can turn the team into a competitor. Maddon did so by cultivating the young stars of the Rays while changing the culture in St. Petersburg. His vision was realized as they won baseball's toughest division by trouncing AL East kingpins, the New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox. Maddon's vision became a reality as the Rays won the 2008 AL pennant, and are in a position to contend again in the coming years.
 
Honorable Mention - Tom Coughlin - New York Giants

Team of the Year: New York Giants

The New York Football Giants pulled off the improbable in early January by defeating the undefeated New England Patriots in Superbowl XLII. The Giants picked up where they left off by continuing their great run from last year's postseason and solidifying the #1 seed in the NFC.

Honorable Mention - Tampa Bay Rays and USA Redeem Team



Dome Pondering Athlete of the Year: Michael Phelps

8 Gold medals. A new Olympic Games record. Michael Phelps captured the world with his amazing feat dominating the sport of swimming with glaring similarities to MJ in basketball and Tiger in Golf. Phelps's success was unparalleled, sparking interest in a sport worldwide (I Wannabe Like Mike: The Effect of Phelps Success).

Honorable Mention - Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh, and Eli Manning.

The Final Countdown…

Well, 2008 is another year in a world that resembles very little of 2007. With the current economy, mother nature taking its course, and the modern lifestyle evolving with mystery, understanding it all continues to fade away. 2008 could not be defined any more true than the quote at the top of this page, "As we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose."

2008 was a very demanding year for yours truly, adapting to change, questioning my character, and trying to make sense of it all to move on. To not be left behind. To continue on, and always be prepared for this "evolving lifestyle" that society relies on.
Evolution is a mystery,
full of change that no one sees.
Clock makes a fool of history.
Yesterday's too long ago,
Don't agree with what I Know,
Tomorrow becomes the place to be.

-Motorhead; Line in the Sand
Following the completion of college, the opportunities and options are endless. Unfortunately, the fear of what the future lies is as well. It's part of growing up. Part of your evolution. Working and traveling following college was about as fortunate as one can be. From Las Vegas to Foxwoods, from coast to coast of this great nation, working with state and federal officials was an opportunity of a lifetime. However, you learn in this "real world" how selfish others are. How self-serving the human race can be. With the travel and work came lies, deceit, and false fronts to protect you, and only you. Trust no one. "Business: It's the nature of the beast", they say. The Beast enjoyed my soul for supper. My happiness was overshadowed by the fracture of my character. It's a character pointed to as a "flaw" and was exposed to me greater than any other in 2008. The "flaw" was expecting, and appreciating the greater good in each individual.
"I couldn't find any way to be at peace with what I had. When a soul gets bigger than a mind can comprehend, it becomes easy to give up on trust and judgement"
- Bret Hart; Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling
I made many connections, although missing out on many personal things, and definitely many business opportunities due to my "flaw". It's not easy being positive in a negative world. And for a brief moment in my life, I was made to believe that this "evolution" requires one to look out for one's self. Fracturing my character. Losing my faith. Cursing my soul.

"It took me a long time to realize that, uh, there ain't much difference between winning and losing, except for how the outside world treats you. But inside you, it's all about the same. It really is. Fact of the matter is, i believe that, uh, our only curses are the ones that are self-imposed. You know what I'm saying? We, all of us, dig our own holes."
-Coach Gary Gaines; Friday Night Lights
It took me a long time to realize the extent of negativity in this world. There aren't too many people in today's world that can say losing their job was the best thing to happen to them, but here is one.

"I don't wanna wake up, and see my life's been washed away,
Like a movie I once saw when I was with you.
Is this all we get when we add up twenty some-odd years of growing up.
We go to college to make some dollars, yeah.
To find the real world is just a figment in the end."

-The Lift; Black Coffee
And along with this 2008, I've managed to forge new relationships, renew old ones, and see some of the best ones fade away. A few are related to just happenstance, most are affected by the change of two different mindsets and souls. Yet, one day, some time, we will meet again.

"To everything there is a season. A time for purpose under heaven. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
And despite it all, I may not understand it in its entirety, but I am better equipped as this life evolves. And although this world seems to embrace the negative over the positive in every opportunity that arises, sticking to one's character, soul, and faith is the greatest tool for survival.

"There are three things that will endure-faith,hope, and love..."
1Corinthians 13:13
I will embrace the "naive" label of overcoming the excessive complaining, egotistical thinking, and pessimistic outlook that surrounds this evolution. I have restored confidence that my "flaw" is not one of weakness, but one of rarity.

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity"
-Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And as 2008 concludes, enjoying the journey of correcting mistakes, analyzing decisions, reflecting on the lessons learned, and realizing the challenges God put before us, is important toward preparing for 2009. Through the fire, one still has health, a terrific support system, a great tag-team partner, and the great hope of chasing a dream.  
"There comes a time when you just have to step back. Rethink things. I have a lot of goals. And I am a goal oriented person. I'm often hard on myself. I have a lot of goals that I have set for myself. But along the way, I have dropped the ball on some personal things, and some professional things...but I'm going home. When I go home, one thing I know I am going to do...you know how they say stop and smell the roses? Well I am going to do that. Enjoy it. Because I'm damn proud of what I've done and what we have been a part of."
-Jeff Jarrett
As life evolves, the race continues through 2008, into 2009. The race is called life. God will continue to open new doors, lay challenges in front of you, and introduce you to yourself.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
-Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Will you take that first step?

In 2009, how will you respond?

Happy New Year!

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