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2016: How good you really were

For most people, 2016 will go down as one of the worst years to date as it seemed that anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

However as far as I’m concerned, I will forever see this year’s events as the foundations that shaped what for me, has been a magnificent twelve months.

The year began how every New Year has for me. A night of board games and drinking alongside a Chinese for tea. Having my Auntie, Uncle and Cousin round too also makes for a memorable night.

So the year begins, second semester of university is going well, Derby are struggling to make an automatic promotion push and the cricket winter nets are beginning.

I’m not one for a new year’s resolution but I had been one looking to change the way I looked. University is never the best place to go when looking to lose weight but I was determined to keep up my hard work.

Having lost roughly three stone between the start of 2014 and summer of 2015, being the stubborn individual I am, I didn’t want to stop there.

I’ll be writing another blog on my fitness but for now I’ll stick to the title.

Well that aside and onto the year just gone. It’s been ace.

After being installed as Leeds Trinity’s new wicket-keeper/opening batsman, my hard work was paying off as I worked my way into the Uni cricket team

lions

After fearing for my life before leaving to go to Leeds for my University studies I had finally settled in and felt like I could take on the world.

My flatmates and I from the halls of Whitby had agreed on living arrangements for year two and things were going smoother than expected.

Work was going well, I had my head down and after not being out in the whole of the first semester, we had planned a night out.

Experience in a journalism degree is crucial and so by the aid of Paul, Andy and Will, we had started our own footballing podcast. And it was these fine gentleman that I took to the streets of Leeds with.

podcastFor the wider world 2016 hadn’t started as well. The reported deaths of stars such as David Bowie and Alan Rickman shook the feelings of people all over.

Not the biggest Harry Potter or ‘Starman’ fan, the news wasn’t as shocking to me as it was for others.

Things continually seemed to get better and better for me. I got my first bigtime gig at the Sheffield Steelers, seeing my name in bold writing inside their programme to match my. Around this time the Sheffield Steelers were crowned back-to-back EIHL champions so happy days all round.

Derby had found some form and picked up a playoff spot and I was coming to terms that the cricket season would start back home in a matter of weeks.

Clear enough, this year had been one of the most sport orientated yet and from April time onwards it was only going to get more and more intense.

Yorkshire Cricket Club had become my new adopted county side as their ground sat not too far away from the university campus.

Things were looking good. Me and my Dad had booked a three week trip to Canada for the coming September to watch the World Cup of Hockey so there was something big to look forward too.

After completing all my university work it was time to kick back for the summer. My dad managed to hook me up with some paid labouring work which to me was a welcomed change.

The weekends were spent with great friends playing cricket, although not as many games as the season before, I still personally performed pretty well.

Of course for the UK, Brexit will undoubtedly go down as the biggest talking point for 2016 and rightly so. Whether you voted to remain or stay it gave a great opportunity to so many people.

Voting is great. If you don’t do it, you have no right to comment on anything. This year I was able to sit with my parents and talk about issues that would affect me more than them so I saw this vote as a great thing.

Obviously the summer was also the time that England flopped at the Euro’s in France but despite their woeful attempts, we sure enjoyed the Wales game.

A trip into Headingley with the podcast team saw a day filled with Football and Beer. Nothing better.

Four days spent down in Cardiff with SWCC topped of the cricket season as our annual tour went down extremely well.

As the summer months began to dwindle down Canada was Dawning. Those who know me understand my love for the Country and its game of Ice Hockey.

img_0041-2These three weeks were the best ever. I saw The Killers live, 20 plus games of Ice Hockey, my first Baseball game, my first taste of MLS football, it was incredible. Perfect in fact.

I’ve always felt like I’ve never really had enough time away with just my Dad so this was the best opportunity I had and we sure took it.

From the minute we got on the train to go to Manchester Airport to the goodbye embrace when I went back to Leeds.

Arriving back was a shock as I didn’t want the trip to end. But it paved the way for even more memories to be made.

My current housemates and I have always had little squabbles but things just weren’t right from the get go. So doing things around our new house were weird to be quite honest.

Although we’ve held our own Election Party night which saw the world shook by the result of Donald Trump being elected into the US White House.

I got an Interview with the leader of the Bradford City Council the next day (which was pretty big I was told) and we had a flat meal one night (sounds sarcastic right)

Well it happens when there’s so many contrasting personalities all in one house. It happens. Anyway we had our first quiz night, hosted by yours truly, Will wanted to invite 80 people to our humble home which was never going to happen.

Keeping up tradition me and Paul pencilled in a night to go and watch The Courteeners at the First Direct Arena which proved to be a master stroke decision.

courteenersI also introduced Paul to my favourite alcoholic drink, the Bengali Tiger and explained the story behind it.

By now you can probably tell that we’re well into second year of university and it would be a lie to say I’m not enjoying it.

Memories were made every week it seemed. I had a fiasco with a weird lump on the side of my neck, worried myself silly that it was bad news but as of now, it has the all clear.

I watched my first Whitby Town football game which allowed me to see the finer sights the Barnsley had to offer, thanks Peter.

Maybe I ordered my first takeaway of the year too whilst no one else was in the house but who’s to say I did…

Freddie Flintoff, a cult hero of mine, sat just seats away from me as he relived some of his favourite tales from his cricketing career.

As all the assessments began to pile up, the hard work set in and my social life began to pay the price for this, with no nights out, no gatherings just work.

In-between Derby had a huge fixture against local rivals Florist and they cruised through this with a 3-0 win meaning I was still a very happy man.

Deadlines approaching fast we organised a Journalism night out just to have something to prepare for and it was a great night. Despite me having a heated rant about Reading in the middle of Leeds City center.

Bierkeller had once again got the best of me and I was quite simply a mess. Time had called for a celebration though so it was essential to go all out.

December was flying by and Christmas was only days away. In the last few months I had found who could only be described as Little Miss Popular, also known as Kaisha.

What we have in common is the most unique thing possible, besides our opinion of certain things and people, we both love Ice Hockey.

So come one morning when I tweeted about maybe going to see the Steelers, I got this.

kk

Having already planned to go with my mate Anthony I thought it’d be rude not to get her a ticket too. We went, the Steelers won, we discovered people now wear iPhone as moving pictures in jumpers and that maybe we’re good luck charms.

kaisha_steelers

Something really embarrassing also happened but no one needs to know that.

Christmas came and It was time for another family party. These occasions make you realise how lucky we all are and that taking things for granted is just not acceptable in this day and age.

My Mum again produced a fine Christmas quiz that I am proud to say saw myself and my Uncle come out the winners of.

Three days in London was to follow and this is somewhat a family tradition. Memories came flooding back as trips to the Tower of London and Hyde Park take me back to our very first visit.

New Year is now here and I for one will be quite sad its done.

For some it wasn’t the best. The deaths of Johan Cruyff, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Prince. The tragic terror attacks in Turkey, Germany and Belgium.

The Brexit vote, the US election, the firework explosion in Mexico, the war in Syria, the refugee crisis, all of these global issues should not dampen how you go about spending your year.

Look at all the positives that no one seems willing to talk about. Tiger numbers on the rise for the first time in a hundred year, Giant Panadas no longer endangered, Sri Lanka Malaria free, advances in cancer research so so many good things to come from a year overshadowed by doom and gloom.

This is only a brief look at the year because it would be forever if I had listed everything, but if we as a world want to feel good about ourselves, look at the positives. There’s so many just waiting to be understood.

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