All in all, I really can't complain about this year. This post won't be very long, but here is a list of all the ups I've had, with only one real down.
1. Finally made it over to Europe when we went to go visit Nelson in Ireland. A great trip all around. You can read more about it on my wife's blog. Start here.
2. Had a great ten year high school reunion. I was a little skeptical of even going to this. I'm not going to give you some big sob story about my high school experience. I wasn't so bad off. But I wasn't the most popular guy and was relieved to get to Wabash. Our class wasn't particularly close-knit at the time, either. I had no expectations going into the reunion, or if I did, it was that I probably wouldn't be going to any others. Instead, I had a very nice time talking with a lot of people who I probably had not really talked to in, oh, about ten years. I would have stayed later if we didn't live an hour away with a dog in a cage. I had nothing but wonderful things to say about the whole event and everybody who made it out. I don't know how many of those people will read this, but for whoever does, I just want to thank you again for making that night better than my wildest expectations.
3. After years of trying, finally got hired into a full-time Purdue job. This couldn't have come at a better time, either. If this job hadn't worked out, I probably would have been out of IT by now and trying my hand in another field.
4. Won yet another NaNoWriMo. My continued absence from this blog has been because of that book. I have blown past 50,000 words, but the story is still far from over. It might still be a bit before I'm posting back here consistently. But, I think I will have one hell of a story once it's done.
I think that's the major highlights in my life. A lot of the big milestones came last year, with buying the house and adding the dog. There are probably some things I'm forgetting, but I still think that comes out to a pretty nice year. Hell, even the one down thing on the year wasn't so bad.
What was the down thing? The failure of the Lafayette Conductors. You might remember back in June I finally made my push to buy a baseball team, which was an absolute dream. Unfortunately, it came crashing down rather quickly. I still think I could have raised the money and tried to make it happen. There was support out there. Unfortunately, there was no support from the one entity where it was most needed, and that was the city. The meeting that made that clear came on my birthday, which was a bit of a bummer. Essentially, I found out that Lafayette is planning to dump quite a bit of money into renovating Loeb Stadium in Columbian Park and just hoping that's enough to attract a team. I'm afraid they will be in for a rude awakening. They are unwilling to make the changes actually needed for this to succeed, which is a damned shame, because it would be so easy.
The short answer is "sell alcohol." Actually, that's pretty well the long answer, too, if you want to know what would work. Alcohol ans baseball have gone together, well, basically forever. Anybody that has gone to a Danville Dans game can tell you it's a pretty boozy crowd. Not an ugly or out of control one, but they certainly serve quite a bit to drink. You want an easy way to draw a crowd? Cheap beer.
The problem? The mayor doesn't believe it's appropriate for a city entity to sell alcohol. Frankly, that's a crock of shit. That's legislating morality, and I have never been in favor of that. Do you want a bunch of drunks roaming a city park at night? No, of course not. But there is no reason that should happen. Alcohol consumption can be easily controlled, and it would have been under my plan. My plan was to create a beer garden in a perfectly carved out space between the stands and one of the bullpens. You could very easily control the flow of people into this area by putting an off-duty (or on-duty, if the city wanted) cop at the gate. This would seem to both stop any illegal serving as well as keeping more wanton displays of drunkenness to a minimum. The fans are happy, the team is successful, and because the team is successful, the city and park are able to find another revenue stream to improve the park. Everybody wins!
And let me be clear. By not supporting my version of the team, Lafayette lost out on one of the most benevolent business owners they could have ever had in that park. I never intended to get fat off this team. As long as I made enough money to stay comfortable, I was fine. I fully intended for the Lafayette Conductors banner to become an entertainment option for Lafayette all year long and to put that money back into the stadium and into the city. Back when a public referendum went out about what to do with the stadium, many people wanted things other than baseball to make a return to the stadium. Boxing, concerts, stuff like that. I fully intended to make that happen. In the months when it was too cold to do it in the stadium, I would have been trying to bring these types of events into the theaters downtown.
And with the profit from these events? I truly wanted to reinvest it with the city. I wanted dearly to help put a roof over the grandstand at the stadium. I wanted to update the sound system in the stadium. I wanted to use that stadium and the stage across the pond to reintroduce the city to it's local music scene and help put a few dollars into those musicians' pockets. The city could have never asked for somebody with better intentions. But no. No alcohol sold on city grounds. Not even at the golf course, I was told. Which, I mean, that went so well there is no longer a golf course.
Am I upset about that? I mean, obviously. But you know what? I'm not bitter. I gave it a shot. I plotted and planned for a very long time, I pulled in a lot of resources to give it my best. It didn't work out. That happens sometimes. But I tried, and I can hang my hat on that with pride and with no regrets. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I just needed a different mayor.