2014 In Words

“It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”

So offered Facebook repeatedly over the last week, as various friends clicked/tapped the “Auto-generate my year in review, please” call to action. Everyone in their respective social networks were treated to a algorithmically generated review of the pictures they chose to upload and the life events they allowed Facebook to ingest.

I have never been much for the programmatic, and while I appreciate the visual nature of Facebook (and I’ll do my own, hand-selected photos post not long after I write this one), I still enjoy the dying art of writing a blog post about what happened in a given year.

I’ll remember 2014 for a few things, but mostly the exhausting emotional toll that enveloped the world. From the Ebola scare, to Ferguson, to the current behavior of the NYPD, to the respective NFL and NBA scandals, to the hand-wringing about a Franco/Rogen film, it’s just been a complete wear to read the news and try to feel some level of optimism about, well, anything.

At a more personal level, a few things stand out:

2014 was the year we went full cocktail nerd, after years of dabbling. Our obsession with spending Friday night at The Dead Rabbit got us to what Jack has referred to as “super-regular” status. (Also quoting Jack: “You guys are family. You know the drinks better than I do now.”)

We have branched out to other bars as recommendations floated by and friends moved between bars. Attaboy, Underdog, Distilled, Bachanal, and Mother’s Ruin have all earned pushpins on my mental map of NYC. We also went to Speed Rack 4, which was incredible.

Conversely, it was not a year where we tried a ton of new restaurants. Marta was decent, Little Park was impressive, and I’m appreciative that Hudson Eats opened to give us a lot of decent options for takeaway dinners. But by and large, we were still at the usual spots constantly. (I did finally get to try Prosperity Dumpling, which is mind-blowing.)

At the day job, two radical changes at the end of 2013 (one planned, one less so) made 2014 a very different year in terms of my focus. My team has grown significantly, and we transitioned from The Old Way Of Doing Things to The New Way Of Doing Things close to seamlessly enough to make me happy.

It being a World Cup year, soccer activities took over my life far more than I would normally expect. My final count for actual watched games this year: 16 league games, 4 playoff games, 1 national team game, 2 Champions League games, 1 All-Star game, 3 friendlies. (That’s a troubling 40.5 hours of professional soccer watched live.) I also played in two media games, made too many podcast appearances to count (and one TV appearance), and churned out 81 posts on Gothamist.

Unsurprisingly, after that much soccer, I’m a bit burned out and unsure on the best strategy going forward. While I love covering the sport and being a part of that community, it’s a strain on the rest of my life, and with the NYC beat expanding to two MLS teams next year, I haven’t yet figured out what 2015 will look like. I’ll figure it out soon, but it’s been looming most of this month and the answers are still a bit muddled.

2014 was also the year the Port Authority decided, out of complete kindness, to completely ruin our weekends by shutting down our local PATH station. I am glad to consider that we may finally be able to have people over again on the weekends.

That, then, is what I can remember about the blur that was 2014. Pictures and a much reduced survey of what happened with my gaming life in future posts.