It’s the last day of not only 2009, but the amazing decade that was the 2000s. I think this decade should just be called the 2000s, not the zeros or aughts or some of the other names people suggest. Don’t we refer to the years 1900-1909 as the 1900s?
This decade was full of highlights as I finished up school at good old Willow Lake High, started and finished college at the Dakota State University, relocated to the Twin Cities and got a full-time job, and finished out the 2000s with the big wedding. A bunch of other stuff happened in between as well, like going to 150 Minnesota Twins games, making trips to Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Washington, Chicago, Toronto, St. Louis, Tucson, and western Nebraska, and operating carnival games for four years at Valleyfair.
Here is a light-hearted look back at some of the biggest moments of the decade as I remember them.
Biggest Regret: Not getting a photo of me with all my former Valleyfair co-workers when I had the chance at the wedding! Seriously, that was something I really wanted to do and even thought about it several times that night but never did. I doubt that exact group of people will ever be back together in the same place again. Good thing I have some killer Photoshop skills and can make it look like we were all together! I guess if that’s my biggest regret of the decade (that I can think of off the top of my head, anyway) I’m doing alright.
Worst I Had to Go to the Bathroom: Waiting to get into the Metrodome on my 23rd birthday, it got too painful and I had to abandon the group.
Most Embarrassing Athletic Moment: In a college intramural softball game, I thought I had hit a home run over the center field fence, so I trotted around the bases. After rounding third, I realized the ball hadn’t left the park after all and the throw was coming home. I tried to speed up but lost my balance and flailed wildly for a good ten steps before face-planting right into home plate, getting tagged out in the process. Then I looked down and noticed I’d skinned my stomach area and it was oozing with blood and dirt.
Most Pointless Day of Work: During my brief employment at Madison Discount Liquor, they had me come in one afternoon for six hours and dust all the bottles of wine and liquor that had been on shelves for a very long time. I believe I was paid $6.50/hr. I felt very important that day.
Most Energy Ever Possessed at a Particular Moment: When the Twins beat the Athletics in Game 5 of the 2002 ALDS to advance to the League Championship Series, Nick Sandbulte and I did a victory lap around the DSU campus, hooting and hollering as I wore my Homer Hanky cape. I could have jumped through a roof at that moment.
Worst Lack of Vision: Last night on the drive home from work I remarked to Lauren how I couldn’t see the road. Literally, it was just blackness aside from headlights. Lauren said she could see fine, so I guess I should get my eyes checked.
Best Lesson Learned: Don’t drink and drive!
Best $54 Spent: Personal handheld breathalyzer.
Second Biggest Regret: Jason LaPlant and I had an opportunity to shoot a 3-pointer on the court of the Target Center after a Timberwolves game on January 2, 2004. We inexplicably got out of line and left right before it was our turn, then when we got outside asked ourselves what we were thinking… we’ll never get to take a shot on an NBA court again!
Most Heartbreaking Sports Moment: My high school basketball career ending after our team got eliminated from the Districts on a buzzer-beater by Waverly-South Shore in 2001. Or was it Willow Lake’s girls’ basketball team losing two more state title games? Or the Twins getting knocked out of the playoffs in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2009? Or the Timberwolves losing to the Lakers in the 2004 Western Conference Finals? Or the Chargers losing to the Patriots and Steelers seemingly every year in the playoffs? I would mention the Vikings’ 41-0 loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game in 2001 but I think in order for it to be a heartbreaking loss it had to have been somewhat close.
Most Memorable Year: 2002.
Best Quote: “I like good soup. Good soup is good. But I don’t like bad soup. Bad soup is bad.”
Favorite Article of Clothing: There was a pair of jeans I owned in the winter of 2004 that fit really, really nice.
Outstanding Achievement in Health: Losing 35 pounds in 2009… though I have gained a few back since Thanksgiving.
Most Horrifying Moment: Being woken up and screamed at by DSU’s football coach at 7am in the dorms one morning because of a big misunderstanding. He later apologized, but wow…
Worst Company: Magazine City. I tried to purchase an adult magazine subscription as a gift to my friend Jason for Christmas in 2008 and it never arrived. They charged my credit card and I’ve never been refunded.
Most Shocking News: That I would become an uncle for the first time in 2003!
Least Shocking News: Brett Favre wasn’t really retiring after all.
Best Freebie: That big-screen TV Patrick and I found along the side of the road in 2004. It worked fine for about three months then smoke started to come out of it.
Least Entertaining State Visited: If it weren’t for Rolla, I might have said North Dakota. But that day I spent driving from Dallas to El Paso and looking at tumbleweeds and oil rigs for 16 hours gives Texas the honor.
Most Legendary Person: Valleyfair game-op Dustin Kooima. Looked just like a small John Candy with the self-confidence of a much more attractive man. Haven’t seen or heard a peep from him in years, but his name keeps getting brought up in discussion on a very regular basis.
Third Biggest Regret: Leaving behind two containers of leftover German food from Gasthofz at a hotel lobby. I was so looking forward to eating that!
Best Knitter, Cook, and Wife: Lauren!
Well, I guess that sums up the decade. Any other categories you’d like my opinions on? Just leave a comment!