I am sure there have been other sports years that have had more news happening off the field than on but this year seems to stand out above any recent ones I can remember. Labor strikes, scandals, dissension among athletes and displeasure shown by fans. Somewhere in all the muck and yuck of this sports year we have forgotten what it’s like to be a fan. Instead we have become a collection of cynical, backbiting, name calling idiots looking to embrace doom and gloom instead of anything positive.

Granted, this sports year there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of positives. That statement might seem harsh but unfortunately it’s true. Look at the NFL strike that took up much of the year before being resolved. We as fans came to find fault with the owners, the players and the overall structure of the game. And even when the season started we found reason to gripe as most of the teams struggled to get up to speed. Then with the ensuing NBA season striking, we call out greed as the culprit for ruining our sports world again.

Of course the recent story unfolding out of Penn State and Syracuse along with the earlier scandal from Ohio State has also soured a lot of us even on college sports. Add in the circumstances surrounding the death of race car driver Dan Wheldon, boxer Joe Frazier, and before you know it 2011 seems to one of the more dismal sports years ever which are cause enough to make us jump off the bandwagon.

Maybe these last 8-10 months have been a bit rough but remember some of the good things that HAVE happened this year. How about the Butler Bulldogs returning back to the NCAA Championship game for the second straight year? Remember Indy Race car driver Dan Wheldon securing a last minute ride to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 then going on to win the event. The Indiana Pacers finally finding a way to get back to the playoffs and showing all kinds of promise for the future.

If NASCAR needed attention they certainly got it with the final race meaning something between Hoosier native Tony Stewart battling Carl Edwards lap-for-lap before winning the championship.

Baseball showed it still has a place in the sports world with Brownsburg native Drew Storen making a major impact with Washington Nationals in his rookie season, racking up 43 saves.

Maybe the most touching if not memorable moment came when the NFL lockout ended and Indianapolis Colt’s Jeff Saturday embraced New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, dissolving almost six months of ill will and hotly contested negotiations between the owners and players.

Sure, the sports world has had its share of ups and downs this season maybe more so than at any other time in the last 10, 20, or 30 years. Maybe we can’t control what happens off the field or court, but we shouldn’t let those events ruin or sour us as fans. Here’s hoping that the course of next year will have us focusing and remembering the good stuff. After all, it’s only just a game.