Though I’m not one for year-end sentimentalism, or any year-in-review list or retrospective for that matter, I am especially thankful for all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in 2013. Last January, I was an unpaid intern at BostInno and bitter hockey blogger in the grips of the NHL lockout. One year later, I have a Stanley Cup Final under my belt as BostInno’s Bruins beat writer. I’ve met some incredible people, winked at Scotty Bowman, done a decent amount of hitchhiking and penned some bizarre headlines, like “Is Your Chicken Boring? Shove Some Angry Orchard Cider Up in There.”
It was a weird year, but a good year nonetheless. Here are my 13 best stories from the wild ride that was 2013.
NBC Sports Network began its coverage of the Barclay’s Premier League this year, launching a comprehensive campaign to get Americans interested in soccer. I, like many others, do not care. Fellow BostInno Sports writer Hayden Bird, a fervent fan of Norwich City, tried to convince me otherwise in this dialogue.
Delaware’s very own Dogfish Head Brewery makes the only IPA I can stomach, as well as a myriad of other cool brews, including their Ancient Ales series, made from chemical analysis of clay pots that once held beer consumed around 1 AD. For whatever perverse reason, no one seems to be nearly as excited about Dogfish Head’s MOON BEER as I am. Brewed with REAL MOON DUST, it lets you quite literally DRINK THE MOON.
The shootout is a post-Bettman-lockout-II gimmick that has simply run its course. Rather than letting it continue to taint hockey or even worse, instituting a sudden death, 3-on-3 pond hockey alternative, I offer up my own solution.
Current BostInno managing editor Alex Weaver and I launched the site’s Style Guide this year, and we’re awfully proud of it. One of the first pieces that came out of it was this one, my attempt to distill every argument against the fedora: the waving standard of the neckbearded weirdo.
The Bruins’ long playoff run meant plenty of games broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network instead of NESN, much to the chagrin of Jack Edwards. Doc Edwards is a legendary announcer — the best in the business, in my opinion. But a certain bald rinkside reporter’s evangelizing about the Quebec juniors got to be a bit much.
I sat down with Malia Lazu, executive director and co-founder of Future Boston Alliance, the nonprofit seeking to change the way Boston operates to make it friendlier to young people and minorities. One of the most electrifying people I’ve ever met, Lazu recounts the early days of Future Boston, in which she would receive threats from Mayor Menino’s administration, to tell her mother to expect her daughter’s body in the Charles River. Lazu explains the problems currently preventing Boston from becoming a fully actualized, world-class city capable of retaining its endless supply of college graduates.
I had the pleasure of speaking to John Barre, a blogger at the fan forefront of the movement to establish an NHL franchise in Seattle. There are plenty of reasons to believe a club will thrive in birthplace of Starbucks and grunge. And besides, the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup — or back then, the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup.”
It seems every night Tyler Seguin has a multiple-point night for his new team, the Dallas Stars, some Bruins bloggers cry out in despair, that the B’s should’ve never moved the troubled young forward. Comparing the first 19 games of Seguin, Joe Thornton and Phil Kessel with their new teams, it seems the one-time Daisy Buchanan’s regular is somewhere in the middle of the pack in sticking it to his old home. Even still, the Fourth of July trade was far from a mistake.
“The New York Jets Twitter Page is a Sad, Sad Place” Series
Parts One, Two, Three & Four
The Jets went 8-8 this year, just as I predicted back in August. It was perhaps the rockiest .500 I’ve ever seen. I profiled the team’s social media staff’s sad attempts to look on the bright side throughout the season, and the fanbase’s cynical unwillingness to cooperate.
I grew a dastardly mustache for Movember along with my teammates on the Boston University Roller Hockey team. In this piece, I detail my own cancer scare, as well as the need to break through the stigma men face in getting checked down there.
Any hockey writer worth his salt has a well-established take on fighting in hockey, the most fiercely contested issue at the heart of the sport. In mine, I argue that hockey’s current problem isn’t fighting — far from it. Hockey’s true problem is something far more pervasive and dangerous: a lack of respect amongst its players.
Back when I started with BostInno, I was curating tech and national news, like Apple earpod rumors and the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi. My first break-through piece came with the meteoric rise of Brockton’s own Lil’ Poopy, a nine-year-old rapper and friend of French Montana. It earned me the nickname “Poopy” around the office for a few months, but it was worth it.
Making dinner in my former dilapidated residence on Freeman St. in Brookline, I idly checked Twitter and saw a campaign to buy Carlos Arredondo, a Marathon bombing hero known to many as “Cowboy Hat Guy,” a new truck. The next morning, I wrote an article about the online fundraiser. All day, I refreshed the page, watching the meter surge upward, closer to the campaign’s goal. On a grinding C train back home, I received a direct message from an Herb Chambers rep. She told me the auto tycoon had read my article and wished to donate a truck to Arredondo, no strings attached. I was ecstatic.
Because I have no car and no one at the office could give me a lift, I took the 66 bus to Roxbury Crossing and hopped on an Orange Line train to Forest Hills. Once there, I caught the 34E bus and took it 87 stops into Walpole. I got off somewhere on Maple St. and walked a few miles to the entrance ramp of Rt. 1, the Boston-Providence Parkway. I walked along the shoulder until I reached the Herb Chambers Lexus in Sharon, just in time for the presentation of the shiny new red Toyota Tacoma to the man who had rushed into the scene of the blasts, not away from it, to help those wounded.
When Arredondo had learned of my commute to the dealership, he demanded he drive me back home. But first, he treated me and his two friends to the Dunkin Donuts in Sharon. I sipped my iced coffee while his pals recounted Arredondo’s heroics on Patriots Day. He drove me back to the Forest Hills station in his new truck, and we parted ways. It was easily the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
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