Lately there's been a lot of pessimism among Habs fans, myself included. I'm usually as optimistic as I possibly can be about sports, so this is kind of strange and new to me. But 2011 wasn't the easiest year I've seen in my brief time so far as a sports fan. It started out well enough - I worked on my 2010 year-in-review post in sunny Florida. Unfortunately, vacations (like all things) come to an end, players get injured, games are lost, and sometimes the worst happens.
I'm trying not to think of 2011 as the year where [insert bad thing that happened]. So many other great things happened this year that I'll be happy to remember:
I went to my first-ever football game...
And my first-ever basketball game...
Where I got to be on the Jumbotron - which is every sports fan's dream, right?
Despite my lack of athletic prowess, this was the year that I tried to play a sport. (I was bad at it, but that's okay because I'm proud of myself for trying, and golf isn't really that great of a sport anyway.)
At one point this year, I owned T-shirts for teams in all 4 major North American sports teams. (And I probably still do, but one of them has gone missing.)
Maybe I should up that number to 5, now that soccer is increasing in popularity and the Impact are joining the MLS and have snazzy new uniforms.
This was the year I met Ken Dryden, Yvon Lambert, and Chris Nilan.
And Michel Lacroix.
And Hal Gill, sort of.
This was the year that Jonathan Toews looked at me.
This was the year that I went to my first playoff game - and while I sniffled and coughed through the whole thing, I booed the Bruins as much as my sore throat would allow.
This was also the year that I screamed so much at a hockey game that it gave me a sore throat.
This was the year I got to see Bell Centre celebrity Logan win "fan of the game."
This was the year that I got to be a bet commissioner on live radio. (But not a slap bet commissioner - the stakes were too high. I would have been responsible for Moe Khan getting slapped by a CFL player, and there's no way I'm mean enough to do that.)
This was the year that I started a Twitter hashtag that started trending, and became so popular that even famous people got in on the fun and newspapers wrote about it.
This was the year that I saw the Stanley Cup. And yeah, maybe I kissed it. But that was in April, when it belonged to the Blackhawks, so it's okay.
This was the year that I found out what it's like to be a Habs fan in Toronto. But that was in April, before the Leafs started getting their act together.
This was the year that the good guys won the Super Bowl and the NBA Championship.
This was the year that the Florida Panthers stopped being where NHL players go when they've been bad.
This was the year that Saku Koivu returned to Montreal as a hero.
Even though Mick Jagger had already told me, this was the year I learned that you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.
Happy 2012, everyone.