Welcome to the Dome Pondering Year in Review, 2011 edition! Much like every completed calendar year (Dome Pondering - Year in Review 2010), the DP commemorates and reflects while celebrating the upcoming new year with the DP Year in Review - this blog's biggest post of the year.
The completion of 2011 marks yet another successful and exciting year for Dome Pondering. With this post, we've reached a full Major League Baseball season worth of posts for the year, 162, which is a new record. Also, the DP has seen a growth in hits, visitors, feedback, and overall interest more so than any other year. Not only have we been mentioned on 9.24, which DP devotees are familiar with, but we have been mentioned on 1050 ESPN radio during the Rucco and Lundberg Show this year. It's been a big year, and hopefully, 2012 will be even bigger. Thank you for your continued support, feedback, and overall interest. Hopefully, you have enjoyed the past year as much as I have, and I look forward to more growth, more feedback, more interaction, and more figuring out this race called life in 2012.
With that said, let's handout some Pondys, look at some interesting e-mails, and in Mariano Rivera-fashion, shut the door with some final comments on the year that is 2011.
The following is the traditional Year in Review section handing out thirty-three awards. For previous award winners, please see click here.
THE PONDY AWARDS
Crucial Moment of The Year: Osama Bin Laden Killed
On May 1st, 2011, the news broke that Osama Bin Laden was killed. However, before the action occurred, there was a decision by President Obama, guided by accurate intelligence of Bin Laden's whereabouts, went forward with an operation to take down the terrorist mastermind and leader. In a very gutsy decision, Six Navy Seals were sent in, and eventually killed the most wanted man in the world. A crucial decision. An even more crucial moment.
World Affairs Issue of the Year: Osama Bin Laden Killed
I don't believe we'll ever experience the death of one person bringing such excitement, relief, and patriotism to various respective countries the way Osama Bin Laden's death did. Even in a year of a few fallen dictators, no other story had the attention of the world the way this one did.
Honorable Mention: Death of Kim Jong II, Death of Muammar Gaddafi, Japan Earthquake and Tsunamis
Inspirational Story of the Year: Rebuilding of Joplin, Mississippi
The story of the devastation of Joplin, Missouri is one that just breaks your heart. A small town, never heard of before this tragedy, had its entire town completely flattened by a tornado. The government has projected that Joplin could take up to two years to rebuild, however, the camaraderie and togetherness shown by this town to overcome is downright inspirational and touching.
Random Story of the Year: Amanda Knox Trial
The Amanda Knox Trial is one that has been very interesting. What started off as another American student being careless, turned into an international controversy over mistrials, prejudice, and injustice against Americans. A random turn, and ultimately, a happy, and justice-filled, outcome.
Most Controversial Story of the Year: Casey Anthony Trial/Verdict
This trial evoked a level of emotion across the nation not seen since O.J. Simpson's Trial. The overwhelming common sense, gut feeling verdict that Casey Anthony murdered her child was there. Unfortunately, the prosecution was unable to prove it. A trial that fired up everyone and caused further skepticism about our judicial system.
Honorable Mention: Occupy Movement, Troy Davis Execution, and NY State Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Most Overrated Story of the Year: Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries Wedding
Hey, if this sort of reality show is your deal, then by all means knock yourself out (Pondering 10 - Ten Reasons to Dislike Reality TV). However, the constant coverage and interest for this wedding was overrated, and well, beyond ridiculous. Yet, somehow, this "event", and that term is used loosely, was once lead-in material on the evening news. Why? And quite honestly, what is the point? And oh yeah, once again, why? Overrated, and a waste of our time.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Sheen Meltdown
Tune of the Year: Lupe Fiasco - "Words I Never Said"
2011 was a bad year for music. I just never got into anything at all this year and nothing that topped the billboard charts this year intrigued me. Quite honestly, my favorite albums of 2011 were Lupe Fiasco's Lasers and Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto. "Words I Never Said" gets the nod this year. In a world of catchy phrases and club-bumping beats that make them all sound the same, Fiasco delivers a throwback with storytelling, political stances, and an overall message that many are afraid to take in the music industry today, whether you agree or not.
Invention of the Year: Angry Birds
First, let me just say that I do not play Angry Birds. However, observing the way the game has consumed the lives of co-workers and friends around me is enough to tip my hat to the application. Not to mention, the sales of various graphic t-shirts and the move to other gaming and entertainment platforms, the developer of the game must be commended for striking it big with Angry Birds.
Honorable Mention: E-Readers and Words With Friends Application
Comeback of the Year: Jennifer Lopez
No, it wasn't her (annoying) Fiat commercials that brought her back, but it was part of J-Lo's return to the A-list in Hollywood. With American Idol being the main vehicle, J-Lo not only entered millions of homes twice a week with Idol, but released an album, a Kohls clothing line, delivered a memorable performance at the American Music Awards, and of course, became the spokesperson for Fiat's American launch campaign. Pretty impressive for the 42-year-old entertainer that stepped away for the past three years.
"Wishing Well" Award of the Year: Quality Television
Today's television shows stink, period. Nothing but reality garbage and other useless fodder. And yes, I am still very bitter over my guys from Dillon, Texas having to hang it up (Farewell to Friday Night Lights).
"Just Go Away" Award of the Year: The Kardashian Family
There are people in this nation that follow the Kardashians more closely than their own actual family. Why? Somehow through scripted conflicts and mocking the institution of marriage, this family has managed to become and stay relevant without doing anything productive.
Michael Kay: "Kardashians, back, track, wall...see ya!"
Following up on Kay's sentiments, please, for the sake of our society's future, just go away.
Michael Kay: "Kardashians, back, track, wall...see ya!"
Following up on Kay's sentiments, please, for the sake of our society's future, just go away.
"Largest Fortitude" Award of the Year: President Barack Obama
Regardless of your political belief, giving the green light to the six Navy Seals to enter the Pakistani compound where Bin Laden was located took a lot of guts and fortitude. Many things were able to go wrong, and fortunately, it didn't. Much kudos to President Obama.
"We'll Miss You" Award of the Year: "Macho Man" Randy Savage
In a year where we lost other great minds, personally, and obviously because of yours truly's love for pro wrestling, the Macho Man Randy Savage was the biggest. Heck, I even let out an "ooooh yeaah" at my wedding. Savage was freakishly athletic as a former baseball player before he hit it big with pro wrestling. He had a brilliant mind for the business combined with tremendous charisma, and let's not forget his insane promo ability (Pondering 10 - All-Time Promo (Male) Wrestlers). Plus, it is always sad to see those who you grew up watching pass away. One more time, "ooooooh yeaah, dig it!"
Honorable Mention: Steve Jobs, Nate Dogg, Joe Frazier, Heavy D, Elizabeth Taylor, and Al Davis
"What Were You Thinking" Award of the Year: Anthony Weiner
Texting shirtless images of yourself, and in some cases tweeting them to random and unknown people? Umm, Mr. Weiner, you easily clinched this award. (Anthony Weiner a Laughing Stock For Alarming Trend).
"What a Shame" Award of the Year: Penn State Sex Scandal
After years as a football icon and a State College, PA legend, watching Paterno's fall from grace was tough. When the well-being of several children was at stake, you never attempted to help them by alerting officials to the situation, simply adding to the sorrowful shame. Just an overall terrible story in 2011 that has sadly opened the lid nationwide on child abuse cases in sports. (Penn State Saga: We Talkin' About Football?)
Honorable Mention: Overseas Sexual Attack on CNN Reporter, Lara Logan
"Welcome to the Scene" Award of the Year: Tim Tebow
I touched base on Tim Tebow's legend while he was at Florida (Jumping Aboard The Tim Tebow Bandwagon). Never did I
imagine ponder that the same legend would apply in the NFL. Nonetheless, Tebow's strong character and ability to win despite his constant inept abilities are marveling. I also laugh at the people that find his public affection for Christ to be "too much". We often complain for a man of character and strong belief rather than the prima donna athlete in sports, and when we get it, we complain about them too. Ugh. I'm sure an updated Tebow post is on tap for 2012.
Honorable Mention: Hope Solo, Emma Stone, and Death to World Dictators
"This Should Have Been Done Before" Award of the Year: HGH Testing in MLB
Whether cheaters find a way to stay ahead of the curve is another topic for another day. However, with HGH testing, Major League Baseball becomes the first sport to actively attempt to keep performance-enhancing drugs out of their game. I'm still amazed how the NFL still gets away with such a lax PED-testing program.
"The Incredibles" Award of the Year: Albert Pujols Three Home Runs in World Series Game
Hitting three home runs in the World series that help carry your team to a second championship in five years is downright incredible. When you join the ranks of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in post-season and World Series lure, and accomplish a feat only done twice before in the history of baseball, that is pretty incredible. Pujols final stat line for the Game 3: 3HR, 6 RBI, 5H, 14 Total Bases). Incredible.
Honorable Mention: David Freese World Series Walk-off Home Run, Dirk Nowitzki's NBA Finals performance, and Justin Verlander 2011 MVP Season
"We Need to Fix This" Award of the Year: Job Creation
After a few years of the global economy winning this award, this year's nod goes to job creation. While the global economy is still not what it once was, available jobs and employment remain a big issue for this nation. With recent graduates struggling to find jobs, and adults in their high-earning years struggling to remain employed, the nation's employment situation is in dire need of saving. Let's hope 2012 presents a better future for us all in this aspect.
Biggest Letdown of the Year: 2011 United States Women's Soccer Team
The second time the U.S. Women's Soccer Team has earned this award (The first time, 2007), the 2011 version was stacked with talent and primed to bring some type of soccer prominence to the States. After an amazing game against Brazil, the U.S. fell to Japan in the Finals.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Braun Testing Positive for PEDs, The Oprah Network, and The Casey Anthony Trial Verdict.
Idiot of the Year: Harold Camping
May 12th, 2011, huh? Constantly predicting the end of the world with fervent confidence in each date doesn't make you look evangelical, but simply like an idiot.
Dome Pondering Person of the Year: Navy Seal Team Six
This year's DP Person of the year goes to a team of six that acted as one in the courageous effort and performance in capturing and killing the person responsible for September 11th. After their successful mission that brought justice to the entire world, the efforts and training of such a team that is amongst the elite in our armed services were revealed. They are men that undergo grueling training and preparation to perform some of the top missions of the United States military. Men that help protect our freedoms and our great nation. It is time to give these individuals there due, no matter how under-the-radar they may go.
Pay Per View Event of the Year: WWE Money in the Bank
Even though I attended WWE's Survivor Series at MSG this year, Money in the Bank was easily the most enjoyable event of the year. Two great ladder matches including an amazing match between CM Punk and John Cena earn it this year's top event.
Honorable Mention: WWE Survivor Series and TNA Turning Point
Pro Wrestling Match of the Year: CM Punk vs. John Cena - WWE Money in the Bank
A match that came about following what was probably the moment of the year in pro wrestling when CM Punk delivered the shoot promo heard around the world. Punk vs. Cena was Punk's establishment match as a legit main eventer and quite possibly, the biggest full-time draw in the industry today.
Honorable Mention: ROH Best in the World - Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards, WWE Summerslam - CM Punk vs. John Cena, TNA Destination X - Low Ki vs. Jack Evans vs. Austin Aries vs. Zema Ion, TNA Slammiversary IX - Last Man Standing Match - AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray, and WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII - No Holds Barred - Undertaker vs. Triple H.
Pro Wrestling Tag Team of the Year: Beer Money (TNA)
2011 was a very bad year for tag team wrestling across the industry. There was some slightly bright moments, but for the most part, the division in all promotions suffered a bit. Beer Money, a tag team constant, continued to deliver high quality matches until their eventual split later in 2011, where both men eventually grabbed the top prize in TNA - the World Title. With Beer Money no more, TNA, much like other promotions are gearing up to revamp their tag team division. Should be interesting in the year 2012.
Honorable Mention: World's Greatest Tag Team (ROH), The Awesome Truth (WWE), Air Boom (WWE), and The All Night Express (ROH)
Female Pro Wrestling of the Year: Mickie James (TNA)
An easy award to dish out as Mickie James has carried the Knockouts Title in TNA an different occasions including entertaining matches with Tara, Gail Kim, and Madison Rayne.
Honorable Mention: Tara (TNA) and Beth Phoenix (WWE)
Male Pro Wrestling of the Year: CM Punk (WWE)
Another academic award for 2011. However, before we give Punk the credit, a close second must go to Bully Ray, who has delivered all year long, including becoming one of the top heels in the business.
Nonetheless, CM Punk was the talk of the wrestling world in the summer after his shoot promo, and delivered an amazing match every night thereafter. CM Punk has been a favorite by die hard wrestling fans for a long time, and to finally see him get the attention and stage to perform is now well worth the wait.
Honorable Mention: Bully Ray (TNA), Kurt Angle (TNA), and John Cena (WWE)
Sports Event of the Year: 2011 MLB World Series
You can't call yourself a baseball fan if you missed this series. Seven Games. Plenty of drama. The Rangers are a strike away from a championship - twice. Derek Holland's pitching performance. Albert Pujols' three-home run game. David Freese's game-tying triple and game-winning home run. And much more, all contributing to the greatest sporting event of 2011.
Honorable Mention: 2011 NBA Finals, 2011 Women's World Cup
The Derek Jeter Flip Play Award of the Year: David Freese's Game Six World Series Walk-off Home Run
Up until the World Series, Abby Wambach's goal against Brazil was the clear-cut winner for this award. After all, I believe everyone can still hear that call, "Wambaaaaaach, Wambaaaaaach!". And despite having the award named after another play performed by him, Jeter's 3,000th hit was a nice touch.
However, hitting a walk-off home run in a World Series game for your childhood team is the type of moments in baseball that make the sport exclusive. The line I used in Little Boys With Big Dreams Again, "...baseball is the only sport that can turn grown men into little boys with big dreams again" describes the emotion behind Freese's moment perfectly.
Honorable Mention: Abby Wambach's Goal versus Brazil, Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, and Mariano Rivera's 602nd save
Coach of the Year: Tony La Russa
La Russa, a Hall of Fame manager, did his best job as a big league skipper in his final year at the helm. Keeping the Cardinals believing when they were nearly ten games out of the playoffs with a month to play, to defeating the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies to overcoming a last-strike situation twice, La Russa kept his team focused and fighting amidst speculation and skepticism over his style. A storybook finish to an incomparable run, La Russa earns this hands down.
Honorable Mention: Mike McCarthy
Team of the Year: St. Louis Cardinals and Green Bay Packers
While the Green Bay Packers made a very good case for the award in 2011 by simply winning, the story of the St. Louis Cardinals season once again gave credit to the World Series champs. Both the Packers and Cardinals, while winning the award in different ways, are clear examples of small markets with a die-hard fanbase that have produced great teams in 2011.
Dome Pondering Sportsman of the Year: Dirk Nowitzki
What Dirk Nowitzki did throughout the playoffs and in the NBA Finals was amazing. After having a reputation of being soft and unable to win the big one, Nowitzki lead the Dallas Mavericks over the star-studded Miami Heat in six games earning MVP honors along the way. It was a performance that will never be forgotten, and one that Heat-haters all over the world will always appreciate.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN...
Chapter 23 of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life is simply titled, "How We Grow" followed by Ephesians 4:14, "We are not meant to remain as children" in the headline. The opening sentence of the chapter states:
God wants you to grow up.2011 has been an amazing year for yours truly following up on what was a tremendous 2010. As I sit here a few days away from 2012, I cannot fathom how much my life has changed over the past two years. I've become become engaged, married, moved into a new home and have gained and maintained full-time employment for beginners. Over the past year, I've discussed rediscovering a passion for life and even more so, optimizing every second of it.
In 2011, I've maintained this focus spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
However, as the year progressed, I realized that 2011 was a transitional year that will most likely be looked back on as a year of growth.
A year, where change occured.
And what better way to grow up other than getting married. In the Unity Road Writings, I decided to document all of my thoughts, feelings, worries, and fears on the road to marriage - on the road to 9.24. In doing so, not only was I trusted with the new responsibility of marriage, a responsibility that will drive you and keep you motivated every day, but I grew up pretty quickly. Learning the true essence of compromise, teamwork, and sometimes, the swallowing of your pride, marriage is the ultimate test of humility and selflessness.
Attaining our first home together was also another growth catalyst. The sharing and compromising continue and amount, however, so does the responsibility as well.
And while these added responsibilities added to my external and future growth, our honeymoon to St. Lucia - or real-life timeout - as well as significant parts of planning our wedding helped deliver a different type of growth. A growth that helped cure a long-time self-consciousness about my family and background. In 2011, not only have I come to grips with my unique family set-up, I have added to my family through marriage (with even more interesting dynamics to say the least), and I have also been re-energized in my background. West Indian - Caribbean. No pressure, no problem.
As I round myself whole, my relationships with others have grown and have been restored as well. After a few years of separation from my brother (no other reason but life and work) I was able to reconnect with him for my wedding, including having him as part of the wedding party. I was also able to reconnect with distant friends, including my closest friends who because of this race called life, I am rarely able to see.
And through these relationships I was able to hear and carry some very inspiring words that were said to me:
"You can do this" - From (one of) my best man's speech at my wedding
"You're a person I've always admired. You always do things the right way. Good things happen to good people, and don't you forget that" - A elder friend of the family
And finally, one of the most significant changes that has affected my growth and will do so moving into 2012 is that off my parents. Next year, my parents are planning on retiring. A normal announcement by most mid-sixty adults, however, is still shocking coming from my parents, especially my father. A man who I've seen once go two and a half years without taking a sick day. A man who was once told and ordered to take a vacation by his boss.
My father is the epitome of hard work.
As he retires, it is one of those aspects that changes your life forever.
And as sad as it makes me to write this, as I witness his immediate memory diminishing along with other qualities that disappear with age, growing into a role of caring for my parents is one that will spur my growth more than anything else.
As the year comes to a close, because of these changes - current and impending - I'm significantly stronger as an individual. A result every person should seek every year, every day, and every awakening second. As I touched on last year, evil doesn't rest.
"Make the best use of your time, because the days are evil"-Ephesians 5:16
2012 will continue to bring life your way. New challenges to overcome. New hurdles to jump. New discoveries to find. And more of the darkness to light up.
More specifically, 2012 will bring about more growth and change.
Specifically, significant changes that will bring growth, and growth that will bring changes.
In a world of Facebook, Twitter, social media, and immediate access, we all have learned to adapt and adjust to the constant changes around us in this race called life. However, sometimes, inner growth and progress is lost in our attempt to keep up with the changing world.
A growth we should all aspire for, and a change that we must all be prepared for.
In 2012, let's address our personal demons, (yes, we all have them). Let's make a concerted effort to eliminate those issues of hindrance, changing ourselves to grow, to eventually grow to make a change, in order to take that next step in our lives.
Growth and change.
Two qualities that can drastically color the blank canvas of your 2012 and beyond.
God wants you to grow up. Are you willing to change?
In 2012, How will you respond?
Happy New Year!