You started with a shitty Rose Bowl loss. Which, as bowl games go, is better than a lot of bowl game wins. But still.
You ended with the Browns completing their best season since I was in high school doing what they do best: kicking me in the kidneys.
In between: The Cavs' amazing and somewhat surprising run, including a game that I still can't talk about without having my neurons short out. The Indians' amazing and actually not all that surprising run, which I still can't talk about without feeling pangs of regret: I honestly thought that team was going to win the World Series. I've never thought that about a Cleveland team before.
Oh, and this Michigan season.
What to say? I think I've never been more and less proud of my university than I have at various times this year. We all knew Mike Hart was the kind of player we'd all want to be if we had the talent and the drive for it. This year, he just kept reminding us again and again.
And then there was that fucking Purdue game. I know, of all the games to hate from this year, it seems our biggest blowout is a dumb one to pick, but I'll always remember watching it, from California, where a bunch of us had gathered for a classmate's wedding.
We all went together to watch Michigan, which kicked off at 9 a.m. We were sitting -- outside -- on a shaded patio, watching Michigan play Purdue on TV. The sun was burning off the cloud cover, I had a bloody mary in front of me, and good friends all around. Occasionally, I would turn around to marvel at the bizarre landscape of palm trees, parking lots and distant mountains. I had my university on TV and good friends all around. At a TV in front of us, a fat Ohio State fan in sweatpants sat smoking and yelling at the TV immediately above his head, which he had turned up to maximum volume.
After one of the typically incredible runs Mike Hart will always be known for, a friend said: "I could watch him run all day."
I agreed, and then my brain flooded with endorphins as I considered doing just that. Shortly after, I looked up at the TV. Hart was hopping and limping. He was done, and he hasn't been himself since. And now, after one more game, he'll be gone for good. And Michigan football will go to a whole new place.
After the Purude, we drove around Los Angeles, to see the sights. We paused on Mulholland to view the valley, left clear from the previous night's rains. We marveled at the eternally pleasant weather, and mansions clinging to hills. We drove through Hollywood and went to the beach. I silently compared the landscape and architecture against my Midwestern and East Coast understandings of these things.
Occasionally someone made a comment that indicated they were thinking about what it would be like to live there. I know I was. It's tempting. The weather's great all the time. Stuff is just there for the taking. But there's drawbacks -- you have to drive everywhere, sometimes long distances, because nothing is close. There's traffic, but you just have to put up with it. But there's beaches and sunsets and sometimes just incredible natural beauty. If you're far enough out in the hills, the sun sets all pink and purple and the wind smells like sage and mesquite. It's what everyone dreams of.
But I'm not sure it's what I dream of. I want the snow and the slush and the pride that comes from doing things the right way, and wishing for not warmth and sunsets, but Mike Hart, running all day.