To say this year has been a tough one would be a gross understatement. Take a deep breath. We’re nearly through. Much of 2020 has been clouded by a global pandemic, social justice taking the stage domestically, and all of us learning how to navigate a “new” normal.
Personally, I’ve been dealt many blows. But, somehow, I’ve stayed on my feet and haven’t been KO’d. There are many reasons for that. First and foremost, though I’m terrible with confrontation, I won’t let the adversity I’ve faced ring that victory bell.
At the start of the pandemic, Justin had an idea for a series.
A mere few days into lockdown, we posted our first Filling The Void piece. We set out to find a way to celebrate sports at a time during which they were shutting down, one by one.
Now, I knew the impact sports have had on me over the course of my life. However, I don’t think I realized how important the next 132 days would be. Why is that number significant? It’s the number of consecutive days our team at The Turf highlighted a baseball game, tennis match, or random made up sport with a short shelf-life.
Of those of us who have complained about how athletes make exorbitant amounts of money to play a game, how many of us tuned in as soon as we were able? The cultural and socioeconomic impacts of the game loom large, and never was that more apparent than in 2020.
I have been staunchly opposed to sports taking the stage, and I don’t plan to back down from that.
But do I hypocritically sit down and watch week in and week out? Yep. Sure do. And it’s not because America’s former pastime was able to have a shortened season, nor because the NFL continues to stumble on despite so many throughout the league testing positive.
It’s because the NHL was able to work with the United States and Canada to figure out how to bring hockey back in a bubble. Because the NBA gave their players a voice and platform to use it in the midst of grave social justice issues in the US. And because the Premier League, which is 3,000+ miles away from where I reside, take a knee before every kickoff in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
To say this falls on deaf ears would be ignorant, as would telling athletes to “shut up and dribble“. With so many of our eyes watching them, they are standing up to the task of being leaders, mentors, and idols. Well, most of them, at least.
What am I thankful for?
Back to the question at hand. What AM I thankful for? I’m thankful for friends and family. For the people who have my back. Those who have lifted me up, but also provided the tough love I’ve sometimes needed.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t lay out one large puzzle I’m immensely thankful for.
I’m thankful for The Turf.
Now forgive the long list. But I don’t wanna miss a thing.
I’m thankful for…
- …you, the reader. Without you, what we do here would be worthless.
- …Justin Colombo. For one reason or another, he’s been a great partner and allowed me into this wild and crazy journey with him. Consider this the last nice thing I say about him.
- …the ever present question – “Is this anything?”
- …Ned Donovan showing me the backend ropes and trusting me not to bring the site crashing down.
- …the straight shooting team of leaders we have within our ranks.
- …7AM messages in our #soccer slack channel complaining about VAR or being in awe of some cracking goal.
- …ganging up on Joe Danbusky. Then buying him a beer for being a good sport.
- …putting up with all of Katie Pierce‘s smack talk in our fantasy football channel. Good win this past week, Katie. You properly massacred me.
- …Josh‘s Welcoming The Weekend pieces. Half the time I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I chuckle nonetheless.
- …Angelica‘s poems and writing the only Bachelor/Bachelorette content I will ever read.
- …seemingly sharing a brain with Andrew Mark Wilhelm. I’ll admit, this one is starting to weird me out, though.
- …Ryan Kelly‘s irrational hatred of Harry Kane. Followed by his completely rational scientific methods.
- …Matt Branigan, Tim Olsen, Christian Heilman, and Tyler Williams churning out consistent football content that’s both informative and makes me want to yell at them for how wrong their takes are.
- …the friends I’ve brought on board to the site. Craig Kaufman, Mark DiGiammarino, Mike Lacey, and Ryan MacPherson – y’all have slayed. And some of you sashayed.
- …Terry Cudmore, who will probably get mad at me for “not putting him on the friends” list. Seriously, I’m in awe of his brain and the thoughtful absurdity he churns out regularly.
- …Jamie Amos and her immense basketball knowledge and keen sense of style.
- …Ellen Adair for unabashedly loving a sport that I’m falling out of love with, and not hating me for it.
- …Mikey Mahany for reminding us all that dance is a sport and dancers are athletes.
- …Sarah Jane Schostack for hating on Boston and the Miller hat that I’ve moved around too much to receive yet.
- …Paul Radassao for elevating NASCAR content we didn’t otherwise have, putting up a fight in fantasy, and not letting Joe be alone in his Giants fandom.
- …Jason Barash for being both a thoughtful contributor and an unwavering advocate for our continued growth.
- …and to anyone I may have missed who has written for the site over the years.
This team is a special one. Despite the insanity 2020 has brought to us, each and every one of them has stepped up to the plate and tallied their assists. It has been our best year to date, and we have so much more to come. Stay tuned, because we’re only going to get better.
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