Wednesday, January 06, 2016

2015 All Counted Up

Lead the NL in batting in 1981 with a .311 average
I like lists and numbers and statistics, and keeping track of things. I was a baseball stats junkie as a kid and it followed me into adulthood, in an expanded way. I keep a spreadsheet file every year where I track things, concerts, what I’ve read, and sporting events among other things. I don’t talk much about it though, until now. So, here’s some stuff from 2015, some things I kept track of, and some things  I want to talk about.


In 2015, I read 354 short stories.  I was aiming for 365, one a day. I almost made it, .9698 stories a day.  I read them in books, mass market magazines, lit mags, weekly newspapers, from websites, on my Kindle, from the Best American Short Stories, on my iPhone. I read stories from writers who were dead, who I’ve never heard of, some who I knew, and I met writers is 2015 who stories I had read before I met them.  I read a lot.

In 2015, I went to seven concerts, which seems low.  I do have three kids, so it is hard.  Three of the concerts were Rush, in three different states. I already have tickets to four concerts for 2016.

In 2015, I went to five hockey games, three in Chicago and two in Florida. The Chicago Blackhawks won their sixth Stanley Cup, their third since 2010.  I’ve been to 400 or so Blackhawks games in my life, most of them prior to their recent success, during a ten year period when I had season tickets and the Hawks made the playoffs once. When I go to a game, I look in my old seats to see if I recognize anyone who sat near me. Then I remember that the Blackhawks were so bad for so long that no one sat near me. There were nights we had our entire section, 332, to ourselves. I made Steve Thomas cry once by booing him. The United Center was that empty and quit that he could hear me from 332 all the way down on the ice (note: I can’t confirm that he actually cried). For those of you newer Blackhawk fans, here’s some info on Steve Thomas.

In 2015, I saw all four major sports teams in Chicago at least once: one Bulls game, two Bears games, the three Hawks games from above, a Cubs game and two White Sox games. The team I cheered for only one three times. Once I had a streak where the Cubs lost 12 straight games that I went to. I think I’m on an eight game losing streak with them right now.

In 2015, I visit 14 states, which is pretty low compared to the last few years. I spend 44 nights away from home.  California was the place I visited the most. I did not make ‘A list’ again on Southwest, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. I have at least a dozen leftover free drink coupons. I did make my required three visits to Wisconsin as all people who live in northern Illinois are required to do each year.

In 2015, I ran 420 miles, which is really only a mile and a quarter a day. I took the dog for 110 walks, which isn’t very many. I lost track of how many times I threw her a ball.  Let’s say it was a couple thousand.

In 2015, I turned 40. I am older than my father when he died. This sometimes keeps me awake at night, more than I thought it would. Sometimes I look at my oldest son, who is at the age I was when my father died and I wonder if we are on borrow time. He usually just smiles back at me and says, “What?” I usually don’t tell him what I am thinking.

In 2015, my wife and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. It still feels like the wedding was a short time ago. Where did the time go? On her dresser in our bedroom is the certificate of achievement I gave her on our first anniversary (paper) for surviving one year of marriage to me.

In 2015, we didn’t elect a new president.  I don’t think anyone even voted for one, not even in a primary. But it’s seemed to eat up a lot of news coverage. People have been dropping out of the race before a single vote has been cast. Do I need to start paying close attention yet? How much money has been spent on the election? What if, instead of using all of that money on a really long election cycle, we shorten the election to, oh, five months, and we use all of that money spent on polling and travelling, and straw polls, and caucuses and signs and bumper stickers that no one seems to clean up after the election, what if we use that money to fix the problems these people who are running for present think need to be fixed. Or, we just give it to good charities who could probably do a lot more good with that money.

In 2016 many similar things will happen.  Some planned, some not. There will be good things, there will be bad things. We will smile, laugh, cry, hurt, sleep, be restless, and grow a bit older. Friends will move away, new friends will come into our lives, our children will both drive us crazy and make us proud. The things in our past will continue to move into our past, our futures will be one day closer each and every day. The winter will come, the go away, then come back, spring will show up for a few days, then summer, then fall, then the next thing you know, it will be December again. If you blink, you will miss it.

Thanks for reading.