Ten Year Challenge: Blog Edition

Ten Year Challenge: Blog Edition

By Heather Nelson

It’s 2009. High school is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana dominate airwaves everywhere. (Don’t lie, they’re catchy.) Barack Obama enters his second year in the White House. Adult life hasn’t quite hit, yet, and it’s actually perfect this way.

I’ve been reflecting on what my life was like in 2009 since the “Ten Year Challenge” sparked popularity on social media. I’ve changed in the ten years that passed (of course), and yet, I still feel like a 16 year old some days.

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I was a really cool 16-year-old and basically my interests have not changed much.

I’m a sucker for reminiscing, so why not create the “Ten Year Challenge” blog-edition?

Sports

Well, 2009 wasn’t exactly *the year* for my sports teams.

The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team, after winning a National Championship in 2008, exited March Madness early. Kansas failed to advance past the Sweet 16. (North Carolina won the National Championship over Michigan State.) However, the team easily became one of my favorites. The squad boasted stars such as Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Tyrel Reed, and Brady Morningstar — who returned from the 2008 championship team. Then the Jayhawks added Mario Little, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Travis Releford, and Tyshaun Taylor to the mix. It’s like I said, this particular group was my favorite. I loved watching them play, and I only wish I’d been in college during those years. WOW. I miss that crew. (It’s a shame that a team of this quality did not bring home a ‘ship for Kansas.) Needless to say, the Jayhawks’ future looked bright.

And baseball? Well, the New York Yankees took home the World Series trophy. So, I definitely wasn’t happy about that. I remember bitterly tweeting that “27 rings is too many.” Nope, not upset at all… The Red Sox finished second in the American League East behind the Yankees in 2009. The Sox earned a spot in the playoffs through the AL Wild Card, but were swept by the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS. (I would’ve never guessed that nearly ten years later, Sox fans would be celebrating a fourth World Series win in recent years.) Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that the 2009 Sox included my favorite Red Sox player, Josh Beckett. The obsession was real…creepy.

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I lived and breathed Josh Beckett. I deeply cared about his statistics. Probably too much.

I don’t even want to mention football/the Super Bowl. A few things: the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl; the gigantic Dallas Cowboys stadium opened; Josh McDaniels was the Denver Broncos head coach — I wish to forget this ever happened.

At this point, I don’t think I was watching much Premier League soccer. But if I was, I wasn’t a Liverpool fan, yet, which is terribly disappointing. So, nothing to note here especially since Manchester United won the League.

Heather’s favorites of 2009:
1. Josh Beckett
2. Cole Aldrich
3. Jonathan Papelbon
4. Cristiano Ronaldo
5. Dustin Pedroia
6. Fernando Torres
7. David Beckham
8. Joe Mauer

Heather’s favorites of 2019:
1. Mookie Betts / Andrew Benintendi (tie)
2. Mohamed Salah
3. Mike Trout
4. Jordan Henderson
5. …Josh Beckett?

Music

My music taste has always been eclectic. I’ve listened to (and loved) almost everything ranging from musical soundtracks to Eminem. My music choices in 2009 reflected this wide range in music taste, but I can think of a few albums that I listened to almost non-stop.

I remember mornings on the school bus where I’d turn on my iPod Classic and hit “shuffle.” Listening to music on my iPod was how I started and ended long days — I was involved in several activities in high school, which often left me feeling stressed and worn out. Music helped me escape and focus on something else for a little while.

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A selfie. Fake Ray Bans. And Jonas Brothers temporary tattoos on our face. Why?!

I’m still a music-fiend, but I’ve switched from iTunes to Spotify (I am a subscriber). I’ve curated playlists and discovered new artists thanks to Spotify. Music fuels my long runs and strength workouts and sometimes my commute (if I’m not listening to podcasts).

Heather’s favorites of 2009:
1. The Killers
2. John Mayer
3. Jonas Brothers
4. Ingrid Michaelson
5. Ryan Star
6. Lady Gaga
7. Kelly Clarkson
8. Miley Cyrus
9. Ke$ha
10. Green Day

Billboard top artists of 2009:
1. Taylor Swift
2. Beyonce
3. Lady Gaga
4. Black Eyed Peas
5. Miley Cyrus
6. Kanye West
7. Britney Spears
8. T.I.
9. Nickelback
10. P!nk

Heather’s favorites of 2019:
1. Kendrick Lamar / Childish Gambino (tie)
2. The 1975
3. John Mayer
4. Lauv
5. Ed Sheeran
6. Bruno Mars
7. The Weeknd
8. Ariana Grande
9. Justin Timberlake
10. SZA

Billboard top artists of 2009:
1. Drake
2. Post Malone
3. Ed Sheeran
4. Taylor Swift
5. Cardi B
6. XXXTENTACION
7. Imagine Dragons
8. BTS
9. Bruno Mars
10. Camilla Cabello

Social media

My parents said that I wasn’t allowed to create a Facebook until I was 16 or 17. I’d made a MySpace page at a friend’s house without them knowing it — all the cool kids were doing it — and my dad quickly discovered my secret. One day, I logged onto the computer and the MySpace page didn’t load. I was embarrassed when he confronted me a few days later, but he was saving me from being sucked in to a whole other world. I jumped on Twitter back in the days when no one had an account and people tweeted about what they were eating for dinner.

Now, I have just about every social media known to man and spend hours a day refreshing each newsfeed. (Get a life, Heather!) The one positive thing I can say is that I’ve met people online that are now my “IRL” friends. So, in a weird way I’m thankful for the weird blackhole that is social media.

A look back at Heather posts in 2009: 

*All of my Facebook posts are either about me doing homework or song lyrics.*

Ten years ago, I would’ve fantasized a different future (than the life I’m currently living). Ultimately, I’ve accomplished a few goals, learned more about myself, and refined goals for future-Heather. While I’m eager to see what the next decade brings, I’m not in a rush for time to move that fast. For now, I’m living life in the moment and savoring each breath, each sunrise.

Tell me how you’ve changed! What were your favorites in 2009? Have your tastes changed much? 

The playoff Red Sox have returned

The Red Sox clinched a playoff spot on Sept. 19 after a win against the Orioles.

The playoff berth comes one year after a mediocre performance by the Red Sox in the 2012 season. They finished 69-93 — a complete flip of this year’s record.

What is the difference between the two seasons?

I see two: the managerial change and beards. Lots of beards.

Last September, when the Red Sox management fired Bobby Valentine, I threw a party. For one, I was still bitter that Terry Francona had called it quits on the Red Sox. I couldn’t think of anyone better to lead the team. Then, Bobby V was announced as skip. People tried to convince me that he would lead the team to success. Ahem, 69-93? No.

Although a year isn’t a good indicator of what a manager can do with a team, I will never believe Valentine was a good fit for the Sox clubhouse. Thankfully, the Red Sox hired former pitching coach, John Farrell.

I had a strong feeling that the Red Sox needed Farrell; it’d only be a matter of time before the Sox would start winning again. Most importantly, the Red Sox needed a serious attitude adjustment.

The 2013 Red Sox possess the child-like essence that was missing the past few years. Francona’s final (and controversial) season lacked the quirky-ness the team had in years before. The Valentine-era reeked of tension and distrust. He called out his own players, which created problems.

Along with Farrell, the Red Sox added players to their roster who fit the clubhouse mould. Ben Cherington (thankfully) did a good job of adding veteran guys to the roster. Enter Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster.

The Idiot-esque beards returned. And thankfully, so did the wins. The Red Sox had the best record through the first month of baseball. This success continued for most of the season. I turned on a Red Sox game expecting a win.

Now, they’ve entered the playoffs. The next thing on their checklist? Winning the American League East.

The Red Sox beards set the team apart from any other in the league. The personalities of the players in the clubhouse make them fun to watch. (Photo from Jim Davis of Boston Globe).
The Red Sox beards set the team apart from any other in the league. The personalities of the players in the clubhouse make them fun to watch. (Photo from Jim Davis of Boston Globe).

After a spirit night like “Dollar Beard Night,” I think it’s apparent the Red Sox separated themselves from the pack.

Think about 2004. A team of oddballs. Who would’ve thought they’d kill the curse. This year, I’m hoping for no different.

Who cares if George Steinbrenner wouldn’t approve?

Go beard or go home.