Some 2013 loose ends

First and foremost, Happy New Year to everyone who follows this blog or any of the many offerings at Kansas.com. Thanks very much and I hope 2014 is an even better year for you.

It’s been a very good year for me. The birth of League 42, our baseball league that we’re starting in Wichita to serve underprivileged kids and their families, has been one of the most exciting and rewarding ventures of my life. I hope to have much good news to report concerning League 42 in the coming year.

I’ve enjoyed working with this group of people whose dedication and interest in League 42 is as great as mine. Those folks include my wife, Debbie, who has been a strong advocate for kids during her entire life and has worked for Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the past 30 years. Anything good that I’m involved with is a direct reflection on her influence.

I would love to list the names of everyone involved with League 42, but that would be too big of a task and I would undoubtedly forget people whose service to this cause has been influential. You know who you are and I have to believe this endeavor has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me.

* I’ve also been working on the Shocker Invitational for the past few weeks. We have some big plans for this fictional group of 16 teams, made up of 80 Wichita State players from the present and past who will clash in an upcoming XBox 360 tournament that wills start in February.

I’ve been breaking down the 16 teams, picked mostly at random, on my blog and will continue to do so as we approach the start of the tournament. We have some exciting ideas as to how to play this out so I hope you’ll become interested, especially if you’re a Wichita State basketball fan. And at this point, who isn’t?

Let’s just say that we hope to play out this tournament in a public venue that would allow Shocker fans to see what we’re doing. We haven’t finalized plans yet but we’re working on it. Stay tuned.

* My wife and I are having dinner this evening with some very good friends and our son and daughter-in-law. Then we’re coming back to the house to ring in the New Year. Maybe. If we can make it that long. It’s about 50-50, I would say.

* On New Year’s Day, I have a little work to take care of. But the plan is to see a couple of movies, starting with “Saving Mr. Banks” and ending with “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” I had not been introduced to the Hobbits before seeing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” last year. It was enjoyable.

* I’m looking forward to covering the rest of the college basketball season. All three of our state teams have intrigue and of course it will be fascinating to see how far Wichita State can get. Do the Shockers have a chance for a second consecutive Final Four? Sure, why not? They’re ranked No. 8 and depending on how Missouri Valley Conference play goes – and I happen to think it will go very well for WSU – could earn a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I also expect Kansas to continue to improve throughout the season under Bill Self and with such a young group of players. And Kansas State has shown me something. It’ll be interesting to see how the Wildcats fare against George Washington today in an afternoon game, set to tip shortly as I write my blog.

* Again, have a very Happy New Year. Don’t get too crazy tonight. I’d invite you over, but we have such a small house. See you in 2014.