Welcome to 2009, sports fans

For Seattle, this year will be better than the last.

Put 2008 and the bubbly on ice because it’s officially a new year.

Perhaps it’s difficult to wave goodbye to the calendar year. Perhaps it isn’t.

But for you, Seattle sports fans of all types, perhaps it’s simply a relief.

You watched Tyrone Willingham, Clay Bennett and Bill Bavasi collectively suck the emerald out of your city.

You watched the Mariners write Major League Baseball history, becoming the first team with a payroll of $100 million or more to lose 100 games.

You watched the Huskies write NCAA football history, becoming the only Pac-10 team to go 0-12.

You watched the Sonics, well, become history, transforming into the Oklahoma City Thunder to reign on the NBA.

You watched what many have called the dreariest year in the history of Seattle sports.

So Seattle sports faithful: “flip the bird” to ’08 and dream big for ’09 because the news can only improve.

And as freaky as the ’08 history-making script was, the year actually brought some (don’t look now) positive change.

Hello Jack Zduriencik and Don Wakamatsu.

Hello Steve Sarkisian.

Hello Jim Mora.

Hello Sounders FC.

So, yes, there is reason to be optimistic.

Plus, the local sports scene looks great and we’re in store for an exciting 2009.

The Kitsap Pumas kick off their inaugural season this spring, officially bringing professional soccer to Kitsap County. Whether you’re a

soccer fan or not, the Pumas are going to provide a breed of sport — and entertainment — the county has yet to see.

What’s more, the franchise’s headquarters are right here in Bremerton, on Wheaton Way, and the team will play its home games at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

Club owner Robin Waite, who has ties to Major League Soccer, is dedicated to establishing the Kitsap Peninsula as a legitimate soccer hotbed.

And both Bremerton and King’s West continue to field teams with great coaches and great athletes, each making strides on — and off — the field. Bremerton continues to produce world-class athletes, and seeing names such as Nathan Adrian and Marvin Williams in the headlines everyday is just one reminder of that fact.

Regardless of wins and losses, records and streaks, youth sports will continue to shape the identity of our community.

Let’s not let the stress of presidential elections and floundering economies dampen the sports in our own backyard.

So cheers to the good, and even the bad, but most importantly to a wonderful 2009.

See you on the sidelines.

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