Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our 16 Most 2016 Stories of 2016

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

So yeah, 2016 was really something, eh?

I know most people are ready for this year to end, what with all the celebrity deaths, political vitriol and whatnot, but there were some good things to come out of 2016!

The Cubs won the World Series and the Cavs won the NBA Finals, remember? I member.

Also, enjoyed its greatest year ever, though admittedly that came partly because ESPN Boston stopped covering high school sports, which was bad news for pretty much everybody involved with our site, and local high school sports.

Yep, 2016 was a mixed bag, so I'm not gonna give you a best/worst list of stories, I'm just going to give you the 16 stories we did that were quintessentially 2016.

16. Mike Oppong Kneels for the National Anthem

What could be more 2016 than an athlete kneeling for the national anthem? Here in Central Mass, it was Doherty junior Mike Oppong who did it against Leominster in his team's opener, then said he was being suspended by the school.

The school later came out and said he was never suspended, while Oppong maintained he was initially, but the school took it back. We'll probably never know the whole story on that one, but whenever I think back to Mike Oppong (and, of course, Colin Kaepernick), I'll definitely remember it happened in 2016.

15. The Lesser of Two Evils

Oh, the election. The 2016 race for the White House tore families apart and made every uncle think his niece was a socialist, and every niece think her uncle was a racist.

Here, we make our (failed) attempt at showing that, while Hillary Clinton has her flaws, she is the lesser of two evils.

14. An Era Ends in Miami

After he took about $20 million less than he could have earned to help Pat Riley and the Heat build multiple contenders, Dwyane Wade finally got sick of not being the highest paid player on the franchise he made relevant.

Our Justin Sherman, a South Florida native, recaps the region's greatest athlete ever leaving for Chicago.

13. CMass Lax Season Wrap

We love our local lacrosse here at SuiteSports, and last season was an eventful one. You can check out our All-Stars and Award Winners above to recap the season.

12. LeBron and the Cavs Make History

It was a year of historic championship wins, and Cleveland started things with a thrilling come-from-behind NBA Finals victory against Golden State. Our Andy Dougherty has more on how LeBron and company came back from down 3-1 to knock off the 73-win Warrior.

11. Patriots Fans Prove They are the Best/Worst With "DeflateGate" Lawsuit

This was one of my favorite stories of the year. We all know Patriots fans are the best/worst, and this lawsuit against the NFL, and Patriots owner Bob Kraft, over the emotional damage done by "Deflategate" certainly proves that.

10. Our Tribute to Carrie Fisher

Most people will remember 2016 as the year of celebrity deaths, and none hit me harder than Carrie Fisher's. We pay tribute to the woman who brought Princess Leia to life, but was so much more.

9. Our All-Star Snubs and Final MIAA Football Column of 2016

Not everybody liked our MIAA All-State team (more on that later), so I offered up a few of my biggest snubs in this piece, along with how I would fix the MIAA football playoffs and Thanksgiving.

Oh, and of course the best stories of the year from MIAA football.

8. Bob Lobel on Why He Rooted Against the Cubs

The great Bob Lobel thought Cubs fans wouldn't be able to handle the burden of winning, in this column which explains how Red Sox fandom has changed since 2004, and how Cub fan identity will never be the same.

7. Our List of the 100 Greatest Songs of the Modern Era

Our Andy Dougherty used an insane number of critical polls and Top 100 lists to come up with his 100 greatest songs of the modern era. We're gonna call it science, and say you should check those songs out for yourself. Spoiler: There is no Limp Bizkit.

6. Our Call for the MIAA to Let Kevin Mensah Play

Another mini-controversy in local football, as Shepherd Hill running back Kevin Mensah was forced to sit the early portion of the season after transferring from Holy Name. First it was because Holy Name failed to sign off on the transfer, but then the MIAA held Mensah out, and it would take a court battle to get the star running back on the field for the rest of 2016.

5. All Our MIAA Super Bowl Coverage

With the expansion of the MIAA football divisions, we ended up with eight Super Bowls this year, and SuiteSports was in Foxboro, Lynn and Worcester to cover every game. The link above will take you to our championship coverage page, and you can click around to our many stories, video recaps and photo galleries from Super Saturday.

4. Our Final MIAA Football Top 25 that Thrilled/Angered the Entire State


3. Our All-State Team that Thrilled/Angered the Entire State


2. The End of ESPN Boston High Schools

This year was rough, as ESPN Boston High Schools closed up shop, leaving a huge coverage void and plenty of local writers looking for work. The only positive that came from it for us was that we were able to pick up a ton of talented contributors, and grow our coverage map over the past few months.

But let's be honest: This was a kick in the gut for local high school sports, and the site will be missed by players, coaches and fans for quite a while.

1. When We Called Donald Trump Winning the Election… In February

This is going to make all my Democrat friends angry, because I basically predicted Trump insulting his way to the White House against a flawed Hillary, and this is going to make my Republican friends angry because I call the American people suckers for believing Trump is actually fighting for them, and not power and his own self-interest.

But hey, what could be more 2016 than hating a member of the media, right?

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