I seem to have picked up a knack for starting years off on a high note. Or, more appropriately, the Alabama football team has managed to find itself in good places each January 1, and I happen to be along for the ride.
I started 2009 in New Orleans' French Quarter, raising glasses with two of my best friends from college, watching a giant fleur de lis descend atop Jackson Square and wondering what the year would hold. I was there, of course, because the Crimson Tide was in town to play Utah in the 2009 AllState Sugar Bowl.
That game didn't turn out very well for the Bama nation, but for me it was an incredible ride.
I got to spend a week out of the office, chasing the Crimson Tide and its legion of fans across New Orleans, to press conferences and practices, to Children's Hospital and a giant pep rally in the French Quarter.
I soaked in a lot of free media meals, and was handed free tickets to a Saints and Hornets game. I attended a Sugar Bowl media party on the second floor of Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street. The guy from the Allstate commercials was there. It was so unreal, I almost didn't mind that Alabama got embarrassed by the Utes on national television. The buildup was so great, the actual game didn't matter that much, even for an Alabama graduate.
Fast forward 365 days, and as the final sands of 2009 dropped through the hourglass, I found myself furiously packing for a seven-night expedition to Southern California, where I would watch the Crimson Tide play for the BCS National Championship in the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of them all.
I decided - in a late December scramble to find a resolution that wasn't tied to calorie intake or exercise output - that 2010 would be the year of the blog. Specifically, it would be the year of this blog, and that I would be the person to write it.
What better way to start than to talk about one of the most amazing weeks of my life? Watch the blog in the coming days for tails of my exploits in that foreign land ruled by movie stars. I stayed out west for eight days and seven nights, and even got a bonus four-hour layover in Detroit on the way home.