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SideLines: Why we look back

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 9:18 a.m. CDT

It was the day after Christmas and all through the county, not a creature was stirring, not even a kid on a shiny, new sled – or so it seemed.

Over the years, people have asked me why newspapers and other media outlets usually run year-in-review reports at this time of year.

For the most part, there are a couple of good reasons.

The first is simply that it’s nice to look back on the past 12 months. So much happens in a year, especially in the first couple of months, that we forget about, not only nationally, but state and locally. A lot even happens in our own personal lives that most people aren’t aware of except for those close to us.

Across the nation, in 2012, we re-elected our president, tried to recover and improve a bad economy, suffered through major drought, hurricanes and tornadoes and, most recently, witnessed the horrific mass shooting of 26 people, including 20 children.

In the world of sports, LeBron James won his first NBA title, the San Francisco Giants took their second World Series in three years, the New York Giants claimed their second Super Bowl in five years and the U.S. won the most medals in the Summer Olympic games. One of the biggest stories may be a sport that hasn’t played a game in months – the NHL, which is in an extended lockdown through stalled contract negotiations that may cancel the whole season.

In our area alone, we’ve seen a man convicted of killing a little girl back in 1957, more than our share of political scandals, a local town suing a local school district over a water detention program, Kishwaukee College expanding and the death of a beloved figure, Mr. Pumpkin.

It’s also nice at this time of year to run a list of old pictures we’ve taken throughout the year, not of significant news events, but fun ones, if nothing else to remind everyone the world isn’t always a serious place.

But that’s probably not the biggest reason for running a year-in-review at this time of year. A bigger reason, perhaps, is that there just isn’t a whole heck of a lot going on the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Especially when both days fall on a Tuesday, like now. In fact, I like to refer to this as “the dead week.”

With all the local public schools closed for the holidays, there isn’t much going on except maybe the wrap-up of a Christmas basketball tournament, like the Chuck Dayton in DeKalb. The 85th annual tournament, the longest boys basketball tournament in the state of Illinois, ended last Friday. Oh, sure, there was that little football game in Miami yesterday – the Orange Bowl, I think they call it – but since we don’t normally cover sporting events, that was a little outside our area.

Another problem with the dead week is trying to reach anyone. Half the people in the world, it seems, are either away visiting families and friends or they’re home busy entertaining family and friends who are visiting them. Then the other half, the ones who are at home or work wishing they were somewhere else, don’t want to be bothered.

I totally understand, except that I’m the one who needs to bother them.

Somehow, though, we managed to put together another paper. It may not contain as many local stories as we would like, but that’s all right. Just wait until next year (I know it’s this year now, but I wrote this column last week when it was still last year). We’ve got a whole bunch of interesting things coming – or at least I hope they are.

Speaking for myself – and since I know what a few of those stories are – I know I’m looking forward to it.

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