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Published:January 1st, 2010 20:35 EST
A Look Back at the Year of Surprises - 2009

A Look Back at the Year of Surprises - 2009

By Ron G Anselm

   If we look back over the last year, to me it was almost like looking back over a decade because 2009 was full of lots of different happenings and those happenings were probably some of the most dramatic things that our country has ever seen.  It was a year full of different and unusual news topics and events that we have never been a part of or seen before. Our pop culture this last year had more drama than the leading and most popular soap opera.

     Who would have thought that supposedly the best golf professional in the world was going to turn out to be an athlete who made news headlines for cheating on his wife with the so called many extramarital affairs he had throughout his golf career.

     Tiger Woods was once the poster boy for many sponsors and was supposed to be seen as the complete and all-around role model and family man for not only professional athletes but for society in general but then out of nowhere we get a curve ball thrown at us that probably surprised most people and left many in awe with the news of their golf hero was not cracked up to the perfect standards he was once thought of having. There is no excuse for dissing your family over no matter what and maybe one day we will forgive Tiger Woods for what he did but this just added to the pool of drama that the year 2009 was full of.

     We had the off the wall events like the Balloon Boy drama in which I think I made a pretty strong point of how disgusted I was in my last article on it and how less than smart this was to even happen especially the reasoning behind it happening was to help Richard Heene get on reality television by using the first responders to do it and not only putting them in harm`s way but to waste our hard earned money in taxes. On top of that, to say your son was on the balloon is even more disgusting to me.

     But, I guess you have to sort of look at the humor behind this event if there is any humor that can be seen in it.  You have a stormchaser trying to make the big event happen and probably was thought of by him so he could earn the big bucks on reality television by dreaming up a stunt like this, but to me how did he think he was going to completely pull it off and get away with it? Did he think he was going to get a back log of television producers calling him wanting to get him on television and to produce his own reality television show and saying something like this, Dude, what a marvelous, wonderful, and exciting event you just sent us. Wow! It was so full of everything we are looking for to make a reality television show that not only are we now going to give you and produce your own show, but you can have our production company as-well!  Again, I don`t think so! And all at the same time how did he think he was not going to get caught for pulling off a fake 911 stunt? Who knows? But I guess I can say he did learn his lesson from this past event. It`s better to work hard for something you want and make it happen than to try to take shortcuts and do it the wrong way.

     We had the not so humorous events like the recession. The recession really started a couple of years ago but was in full-swing in 2009. We saw millions of people lose their jobs, millions of people who once thought they were going to be able to retire lose all their retirement savings and have to go back to work in the sixties and seventies. We had many companies in the corporate world that went under and the retailers where we once shopped at now to only go out of business with the low sales and inexistent revenue.

     Like any negative event in life, we can look at this as a learning experience and take as much positive from it that we can. This is a wake-up call for many people to live within their means. I know this because again, I use this example " when I was married, I had a wife that loved to buy a house full of furniture every two years, buy a new car or two every two years and basically had to have money.

     The furniture may still be brand new but she wanted to buy even newer furniture and the cars we just bought two years earlier only had ten thousand miles on them but she had to have even newer cars. Of course I could not afford to do this but to keep her happy I did it anyway and found myself having to almost play catch-up all the time with my finances. This left me with no money to save and put me in harm`s way with my bills every month and basically exposed if anything bad happened, loss of a job, unexpected emergency.

     The point is everyone needs to live within their means all the time and to save money. You never know when a life changing event, like the recession is going to happen and you have to be prepared. Maybe, this is the time for many people to start over again and do it right this time.

     We had the swine flu roll in so dramatic that it was like getting hit in the head by a 90-mile per hour fastball. The swine flu was an unexpected event and maybe the media made the number of deaths and severity of this pandemic out to be more than it really was or not, but in any case the swine flu added to the things we were not used to seeing happen. There was even a cat that caught the swine flu in Iowa. This shows how this pandemic can spread and probably reinforces the severity of it to not take this lightly. By the way, the cat recovered from the sickness and is once again chasing birds and purring loudly from the comforts of his owner`s home.

      We had many exciting events in sports. One particular event was in a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox. Mark Buehrle`s, the pitcher for the White Sox`s had a perfect game through the eighth inning when Gabe Kapler pounded a pitch off of the White Sox`s pitcher and sent it soaring for the bleachers in left-center.

     All the White Sox`s fans at that moment took a deep breath. In baseball, to throw a perfect game is just about equivalent to hitting the lottery. As the center fielder for the White Sox`s, DeWayne Wise got a fix on the ball which was heading for the spoiling of the perfect game, he kicked his speed to the next level and flew like a 747 taking off into the center field wall with the perfect game saving catch. As he came down from the wall and landed, he juggled the ball and just about dropped it but made a recovery of the ball for the out and the help to save the perfect game. I love these kinds of moments in sports. Being an ex-baseball player in my younger days, there is no greater feeling than making a play like this other than hitting the game winning home run.

     We had the memorable Super Bowl in which the two teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals put on a nail biting performance. The play of the game was when there was about 41-seconds left in the game and the Steelers trailing the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 23-20, the Steelers were in the red zone on the Cardinals six-yard line. Now, as we know if we have played football or have been a fan of this great game for any length of time, when you have the ball in the red zone and the defense, especially the secondary of the defensive team has a fix on your receivers, you DO NOT throw the ball to those receivers especially if they are covered by not just two defenders but three or being triple teamed? Also, you are behind by only three points in the game with no time left, so at the worst if you cannot run the ball in for the score; you could at least have a sure chip shot from the six-yard line with a field goal and be able to tie the score, not lose the game if you don`t score with a touchdown and maybe take the game into overtime and maybe win the game in overtime. 

     If I was doing the play calling, I would probably have a slew of various plays I could run in this situation and I would more than likely run a delayed draw play in which I would fake a handoff to the running back and hand the ball to the full back for a two-step delay and then wait for the hole to open behind the center and in for the score, or maybe run a fake handoff to the running back who would then dive over the middle as if he had the ball and was trying to pull off  a Walter Peyton run for the end zone, and who did it better than the late great Walter Peyton? No one.  Then, have the tight end open in the flat near the goal line and throw him the ball for the score.  The fake handoff and dive over the middle by the running back should draw the defensive linebackers to the middle of the field, the safeties and cornerbacks to the middle of the field and leave a lot of open-field real estate uncovered on both sides.

     But, Ben Roethlisberger had different plans and threw a laser to Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone for the score and Super Bowl win. The ball was thrown and hovering over the heads of the Cardinals defenders and Holmes leaped in the air almost like a Lynn Swann catch, felt the ball hit is finger tips and stick and then he came down with his tippy toes barely in bounds for the catch and score.

     I remember watching this play and having the breath taken out of me. I was rooting for the Cardinals and had just had my hopes taken to the moon a few plays before this one when the Cardinals scored on the Larry Fitzgerald 64-yard touchdown run with the catch over the middle and the sprint into the end zone which put the Cardinals in front 23-20 only to be taken away by the great catch by Santonio Holmes in the end zone for the win. This was an exciting Super Bowl that to me ranks as one of the most exciting in history behind those memorable Super Bowls in the 1970s era of sports.

     Some athletes acted out of character in 2009 with the example of Serena Williams at this past Wimbledon event. In the Women`s Semifinal event, Williams seem to lose it on a fault call by the line judge against Williams. Williams looked like the old Baltimore Orioles Manager Earl Weaver as Earl used to put on a great display of drama with the umpires on any call he thought was inappropriate, Williams basically fell short of almost inserting her tennis racket inside the line judges body, and hitting the line judge with many, many derogatory comments that if you were a six-year old kid sitting near this drama event, mommy should cover your ears.

     Williams ended-up paying a hefty fine for this and basically went on the air and apologized for acting this way and making it clear it was very inappropriate to perform this way in professional tennis.   I know from being an athlete that you do get caught-up in the moment and your adrenaline is running so high you basically see red, but come on, you are a professional athlete and many kids look to you as a role model, act the part!

     We had more events take place in the media and in pop culture like the Obama`s getting their first family pet since President Obama took over the Commander and Chief position.  Now, I thought this media information which from what I remember was covered and on the news for more than a few days, was almost like having to use air time up since at that moment, there was not really anything to put on the news that was interesting at that time. That`s great and I am happy that the first family got a dog, but I guess it just doesn`t interest me that much to know our first family now has a dog. Will their newly adopted dog help create jobs? Win the war in Afghanistan? Take down our National Deficit? Probably not.

     Well, we can see some of the more memorable drama events that took place and left a niche in our history for 2009. Our New Year 2010 promises to be a better year and let`s hope our economy improves and many newly created jobs happen. Let`s think about our warriors overseas fighting the Taliban and terrorism, and let`s all breathe a sigh of relief that we made it to another year and hope 2010 brings more positive memorable events and that it gives us all hope.