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A new year doesn’t mean forgetting the past. Whatever 2019 brings will be based on an eventful 2018

“Come, Let us roam the night together Singing….,” Langston Hughes from his “Harlem Night Song.”

We spent much of 2018 looking back at 1968, a year whose aftershocks are still being felt.

Sports fans know all years are living things. Their power and influence don’t run out when a clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. They can’t be contained in a mere 365 or 366 days. They can’t be boxed and tied up at year’s end for future examination.

Consequently, fans know many 2019 sporting events will be continuations of events from months, years, even decades ago. For example, in 2019, the NHL and NBA will crown champions from among teams whose regular season began in 2018. Today’s activist athletes and entertainers, including Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and Beyoncé, march on a trail blazed by the likes of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Harry Belafonte.

Furthermore, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees among the likely contenders, next season’s American League pennant race will be a continuation of the 100 years’ war between the Boston and New York teams that began when the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yanks after the 1919 season.

And everywhere Americans protest injustice, from the streets to the NFL football field sidelines, they are imbued with the spirit of 1776.

That’s why savvy sports fans bring a strong understanding of the past and its influence on current events.

Nevertheless, New Year’s Eve offers the allure, illusion and promise of stark transition: from the old to the new. On this New Year’s Eve, some will roam the night with friends and family, singing. Still others will spend the last night of 2018 without human companionship; their memories, their concerns about the present and their hopes for the future will keep them company. Still, it will be as if something old ends tonight and something new starts tomorrow.

But, as always, tonight the past will walk arm-in-arm with the present. And the present will walk arm-in-arm with the future. And sometimes they will dance in a dizzying circle while a night song for the ages echoes in the darkness.

Happy New Year.

 

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