Good-bye 2012. We hardly knew you.
Some years drag by, lingering well beyond their welcome. I don't know about you, but for me, 2012 was not one of those years. It seems only a few deep breaths ago that the year came bounding into our lives, full of hope, promise and fear. Now its gone, and I don't know whether to give thanks or mourn its passing.
It certainly was a mixed bag. The year brought improvement for what was a recession for those who had jobs and a depression for the unemployed. We had more than our fair share of tragedies, capped off by the ultra-tragic school shooting in Connecticut. Gas prices soared and finally fell back toward affordability.
It was that kind of year.
We're running down the top sports stories elsewhere on this page, and there were certainly a lot of players, teams and events that could have made our list. We also had our share of disappoints and despairs.
I think the most depressing part of athletics are injuries. It is hard to watch a promising young athlete of any age go down with an injury. The kids want so much to play and contribute to their teams, and yet their bodies just won't respond in the way they want them to.
Of all the injuries, the two most distressing to be were to Casa Grande baseball standout R.J. Busse and Casa football quarterback JaJuan Lawson. Both tried gamely to play through the hurt, but weren't the same.
Busse was the more poignant to me. He tried to battle back from a back injury and he did contribute to the Casa Grande cause late in the season, but he was not the same league Most Valuable Player he was as a junior. I hope he is healthy this year and is ready to continue what is a promising baseball career.
Casa Grande quarterback Lawson played gamely on a hurting ankle in Casa's semifinal North Coast Section playoff loss to Concord, but his mobility was obviously limited. It didn't help that the field was a quagmire. There is double good news at the end of the story. Lawson had already had a brilliant season before he got hurt, and he is a junior who can look forward to an even brighter season this year.
Overall, 2012 was a year of contradictions.
It was a year of great Little League news. Of course the big story was the Petaluma National Little League's adventures in the Little League World Series, but there was also the opening of the National's new baseball complex on the Petaluma Junior High School campus, and don't forget about the Petaluma Police from the Petaluma Valley Little League winning the City Championship and the Tournament of Champions.
But the Little League success and excitement was tinged with tragedy. Petaluma American Little League pitcher Brendan O'Neill was struck in the head by a line drive and had to undergo an operation. A Petaluma Valley Little League storage shed was broken into and pitching machines and other equipment stolen.
Most tragic of all, Petaluma American Little League player Trevor Smith was killed in a traffic accident.
Football was marked by NCS playoff appearances by Casa Grande and St. Vincent and the renaming of the Petaluma High School football field Steve Ellison Field in honor of the long-time coach.