Ending 2021 on a…weird note. The whole family caught COVID this past week, making for a not particularly great holiday. But I think omicron is gonna basically hit almost all of us, just a matter of when, so I suppose the silver lining is that we went ahead and got it over with.
Ending on a weird note isn't all that surprising since it's been such a weird year. We started the year still only quizzing online, but a few months later the vaccine got us back into the bars. And that part's been…awesome.
If I'm being perfectly frank, by March 2020 I was burnt out on hosting quizzo in bars. I had been doing it forever, and I was kind of mailing it in. But 2020 tilted all of our worldviews, and one of my realizations was what exactly it was that I do. Quizzo wasn't just a thing I did each week, it was a community, and when shit hit the fan in 2020 it was a community that came together. Virtual quizzo kept many of us (myself included) from losing our damn minds when things went sideways.
So getting back to the bars this year, after hosting quizzes on a computer, was nothing short of awesome. I can honestly say that I enjoyed each and every live quiz I did this year. I get to hang out with my friends for a living. What could be better than that?
There was a lot more that went down in 2021 as well. I invested in an ultimate frisbee team, because…um, why the hell not? It's a crazy thing to do, of course, and a terrible long-term decision if 99% of the previous pro sports leagues in American history are any indication. But it was a quote I read in a book about one of those failed leagues, the ABA, that convinced me to pull the trigger. One of the former owners, looking back while talking to the author, said something like, “The ABA was the worst financial decision I ever made in my life. It was also the most damn fun I ever had in my life.”
Well you guys know I'm a sucker for a good time. So who knows if pro ultimate frisbee will catch on, but I'll be honest, I've had so much damn fun with it I can hardly stand it. I hope I can convince some of you guys to join that fun in 2022, I think we've got a neat thing going. I basically get to put on parties for my friends, and in case you hadn't noticed, that's a thing I really freaking like doing. And now that I have a full offseason to prepare, expect this year's parties to be epic. And entirely Philly: local food, local beer, local bands. Click here to join us on IG.
In other investments that made no sense (who was going into retail in 2013?), we had a great year at Shibe Sports. We closed down in the King of Prussia Mall, but to be honest I was kinda wanting to shut down there anyway. We're a mom and pop shop, not a mall destination, and there's a big difference. If we open up anywhere new in 2022, it'll be on a Main Street somewhere, not in a mall. But our store in Philly did terrific, and my business partner Brian has done such an incredible job of improving our online experience that we blew all previous online records out of the water. Looking forward to the year ahead.
As for 2022: Who can predict these things anymore? A year ago there was no vaccine, America's finest morons “patriots” hadn't tried to take over the government, and I didn't know ultimate frisbee was a pro sport. But regardless, there are a few things that we're planning on for 2022.
For one, Quizzo Bowl is coming back. Obviously big events are fluid, but barring societal collapse I'll be damn if we're going another year without a Quizzo Bowl. Gonna try to get that lined up in the next few weeks.
Secondly, the Winter Warz start next week. With so much in flux in terms of in-person events over the next few weeks as omicron kicks us in the pants, it's a sure way to get your quizzo fix on. And unlike regular quizzo, the virtual ones are run by Carl, so it's the only department at JGT Amalgamated that's run with even a smidge of professionalism. The website's been acting wonky over the past week, but you can find all of the info on our facebook page.
Third, a 2022 project I'm really excited about is something we're gonna be doing with Beyond the Bars. They run an incredible program, setting up music programs in hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. Anywhere that hope is hard to find, these guys show up to provide it. Our buddy Reef works closely with them, and in the coming year, he's gonna host some music quizzo…with the kids from Beyond the Bars performing between rounds! We're gonna raise some money for a great cause, we're gonna give these brave young people a crowd to play for, and we're gonna have fun doing it. These are the types of events I love.
And speaking of giving back…we knocked it out of the park with our annual Christmas Drive. Every single child on the list was accounted for: again, how awesome is this community? You guys rock.
Finally, let's be honest with ourselves: the last couple of years have been rough. There's no putting a ribbon on a turd and calling it Christmas. But one of the great lessons of the past couple of years, as we've been through all of this insanity together, is that there's something to be said on some days for simply putting one foot ahead of the other. So in the coming year, be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, and take time out to celebrate the small victories. You're doing great and I'm damn proud of ya!