F*** Off, 2016 (But here are some things I liked)

Let’s face it: 2016 was kind of terrible. I could easily expand on that sentiment, but this isn’t really that type of thing. Plus it just bums me out. At this point, it would be nice if we could move on and forget that this year ever happened. Since that’s not likely an option, I thought I’d take a look at some of my favorite things of 2016 in an attempt to at least try to avoid dealing with real life.

These are in no particular order:

Game 7’s

We were really spoiled with some awesome Game 7’s this year. The rematch of the 2015 NBA Finals definitely didn’t disappoint, and as my man Stefon would say, this series had everything: six combined MVPs, a 73-win team, Drake sitting court side, Lebron being Lebron, suspensions, a 3-1 lead with the unanimous MVP… I’m already looking forward to the third part of the trilogy in this summer.

Speaking of 3-1 leads…

Full disclosure, if you didn’t already know, I am a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan. At no point in that series (even after the team went up 3-1) was I confident that the tribe was going to win the series. That sentiment probably made it even more exciting, stressful, and ultimately heart breaking. Also, I almost passed out when Rajai Davis (Rajai F’ing Davis!!!!) homered off of Aroldis Chapman in the eight inning. As much as I love the Indians, seeing the Cubs in the World Series was a pretty decent fallback (even though the inevitable expansion of the Wrigley bandwagon will be insufferable).

Urban Farm Fermentory

This komubucha and cider factory in Portland, Maine has been around for a bit, but I got to check it out for the first time this fall. Inexpensive and delicious, this place is a ton of fun and a great way to get a buzz while pretending to be healthy.

Keepin’ it 1600

At the time, the 2016 election felt like a never-ending slog that would come for us all. In retrospect, I wish it would have lasted forever. A lone bright spot in an otherwise endless parade of fear, panic, and insecure tweets was the Keepin’ it 1600 podcast on the Grantland Ringer podcast network.

Former Obama aides Jon Favreau (no, not that one), Dan Pfeiffer, Tommy Vietor, and Jon Lovett helped break down the coverage and made the election manageable, even if they were just as wrong with their predictions as everyone else. The November 9th episode “The Day After” still sits unplayed on my phone. I just can’t bring myself to press play.

Kevin Can Wait

Another star-making performance for Kevin James…

Just kidding.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn

This match from NXT Takeover: Dallas was everything you could possibly want from pro wrestling, and I still get chills thinking about it (which is stupid, yes I agree). From the minute Zayn’s music hit, to the Nakamura chants before he even appeared, to the “Fight Forever” chants, this was just 30 minutes of intense, hard-hitting fun and I loved every second of it.

The Crown

As a family tradition (beginning with a set of Sports Night DVDs in 2003) Christmas Day is typically spent pounding around and binge watching TV shows. This year, we reluctantly picked Netflix’s The Crown. The show follows the early days of Elizabeth II’s reign as Queen of England. You’ll just have to trust me that it’s immensely more enjoyable and exciting than it sounds.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame) are great as Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and John Lithgow chews up all kinds of scenery (but in a good way) as Winston Churchill. An episode seven scene involving Queen Elizabeth calmly dressing down Churchill for keeping his illness a secret is one of the most brutal and riveting pieces of entertainment I’ve seen this year.

The Bill Barnwell Show

Losing The Grantland NFL Show (Barnwell’s previous podcast with fellow NFL writer Robert Mays) sucked, but the creatively named Bill Barnwell Show really helped to lessen the blow.

More specifically, Barnwell’s coverage of The Bachelorette (as a newbie to the show) with frequent guest host and overall delight Mina Kimes, was incredible. The pair’s devotion to the ridiculous (and also incredible) reality staple was matched only by their NFL acumen.

Sotto: Los Angeles

I love pizza. This place has very good pizza. And cocktails. I highly recommend, and can’t wait to go back.

Deadpool

I was all in on Deadpool immediately, from the first (of tons) fourth wall break in the opening credits. In an era of bigger and bigger monstrosities and explosions and super-ensembles on the Silver Screen, Deadpool was super refreshing. Hopefully that magic continues for the sequel, although it’s very possible that the act could wear thin, and we’ll have to remember the original as a “lighting-in-a-bottle” miracle starring “God’s Perfect Idiot” and “A Hot Chick”.

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