It’s uncomfortable we live in a time where each and every failure or misstep of our lives is easily recalled at the drop of a hat (or, even worse, at the push of a button or, more likely, touchscreen). Meanwhile, our greatest or even modest successes are easily cast to the attic of our memories.
This is a sports blog, so obviously we’re tying this into pigskins and pitches, but it’s just as true on the court and diamond as it is on the street.
Without even blinking, I can recite perfectly from memory: Amani Hooker’s middle finger being 1⁄4 inch too short against Penn State in 2017, Nate Stanley overthrowing TJ Hockenson against PSU this year, his interception in that game later on (a lot of bad shit happens against Penn State I guess). It’s going to take awhile to forget Christian McCaffery.
This was a particularly volatile football season. (In reality, it was probably not too different than any other, but it just felt that way.) I had to actually ban people from the comments! Things just got a little too poisonous for my liking around here. As an aside, I’m CONVINCED that all Nebraska fans are not-so-distant cousins.
This negativity, this vitriol, this schadenfreude we produce and consume and engage with on this site and elsewhere is taxing. There were times I felt unwelcome in this very community. I can only hope none of you experienced the same feeling.
So, what do I want for Christmas? Last year, I wished for Nate Stanley Super Saiyan mode, overall football excellence, a return to March Madness for Iowa basketball and the annexation of Ames.
I’m sad to report Mr. Claus failed to deliver on all requests.
The first draft of this ham-fisted piece wished for Gary Barta’s head on a spike. I left that handwritten draft—covered in blood—at the bar I wrote it in. I’m still pretty peeved at the way Barta handled to Gary Dolphin situation, and his employment still puzzles some of the greatest legal minds in Hawkeye blogdom.
Most importantly, in retrospect, spending a Christmas wish on the demise of another individual just seemed, I dunno... off brand for the holiday.
Instead of willing Gary Barta’s shitcanning into the ether, I’m going to pose a simple request:
I want 2019 to be better.
Now, hear me out. 2018 SUCKED. Not just from a Big Ten football standpoint. Scandal surrounded the athletic departments in Maryland, Ohio State and Michigan State. And that’s just the Big Ten. I bet a commenter will mention some wrongdoing at Illinois that flew under the radar, further proving my point: this thing, these sports we love come at a cost.
So here’s what I mean when I say I want things to be better. I want you to commit to being the best you can be. That’s right, we’re Kirby Pucketting this thing.
I know you and I can’t and won’t be the best versions of ourselves all the time or often or even occasionally next year. People are garbage and we are not exceptions. So here’s what I want:
That’s it! I just want marked improvement. Not only across Iowa athletics, but in all walks of life. Maybe you could lose a couple pounds. Maybe you could swear a little less. Maybe you could not be such an asshole to everyone, including yourself.
And maybe Stanley could connect on one or two more deep balls I dunno!
I want to have less news of controversy. I want to stop logging onto Twitter and refreshing these comments to see flags and personal attacks. I want to have more reasons to laugh and smile and heave-cry. I want to ban fewer people and recommend more comments and stop losing sleep over a text I sent to a fucking Bumble match a week ago.
Is this a copout, asking for things to just ominously get better? It almost sounds desperate.
That’s because it probably is.
Thanks for reading, Black Heart Gold Family. You guys make life a little easier and a lot better. And thanks to everyone on staff for the great work they put in. Here’s to making 2019 our best yet.
Merry Christmas y’all.