I love end-of-year lists. Best photos. Best movies. Best songs. Best everything. So here's my take on the year in sports, something I've done on occasion when asked. So here it is, a few takeaways from 2017 (in no particular order):
1. The Boston Red Sox retire #34, the number of David Ortiz. Big Papi hugs his dad, says “I love you Boston,” and throws in a wobbly but sufficient first pitch.
2. The IOC bans Russia from Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. Don't understand why? Watch Icarus, the right documentary at the exact right time.
3. My daughter saves up her "mother's helper" money to buy a Mookie Betts shirt at Fenway. I tweet her picture wearing it, and Mookie rewards her by liking the tweet.
3. The NFL has a rash of knee-takers when Donald Trump bashes the league. Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed but nabs the cover of GQ.
4. Serena Williams continues to be exactly who she is: has a baby, gets married, and makes a beautiful and poignant (but subtly badass) Gatorade commercial that assures us all she will handle the work-life balance that women negotiate every day just fine, thank you very much.
5. The Lewiston Blue Devils win the Maine Class A Boys soccer championship in their third state final appearance in four years, sending me into a mad scramble to add a postscript to ONE GOAL, which comes out February 27th in the new year (shameless plug, I realize, but hey…..)
6. Lindsey Vonn stares down those who don’t like her politics (and her aching back) to take her 78th World Cup win at Val d’Isere, the second oldest woman ever to do so, ensuring that she and Mikaela Shiffrin will represent the United States but good at the Olympics.
7. John Branch writes about his daughter’s soccer game and makes crystal clear what a lack of gun control in the United States means on the smallest of playing fields.
8. Sloane Stephens defeats Madison Keys in the U.S. Open final to show us that tennis has a future that doesn’t look a whole lot like its past. And their postmatch hug redefines sports(wo)manship in the best way possible.