Insert proverbial “wow, what a year 2017 was.” But seriously, what a freaking year? We lost Frank Vincent, you know the guy who coined the famous “Go home and get your fucking shine box!” in the hit movie Goodfellas. Donald Trump was elected president and the whole world laughed. People are getting offended more easily than ever. Colin Kaepernick burned the United States to the ground due to his controversial decision to knee for the National Anthem. “Fake news” became a thing for the right and left to say when the media conglomerate they do not follow puts anything out there. Mansplaining made it’s way into common language. That word is fucking dumb. Fidget Spinners became the hot new toy.

Despite all of these terrible tragedies, 2017 was actually a great year for me.

You Were Good To Me 2017

New Career Opportunities

I found out on New Year’s Eve last year that I had passed my personal trainer certification so I was going to begin a new journey in my career. That journey has come with the ups and downs you would expect from a personal trainer. For every great moment of euphoria for hitting a goal came the dreaded obstacle or plateau.

Along the way, I have gotten to know some wonderful people who became more than clients. They became friends. I will take that any day. To all the people who put their faith and fitness goals in my hands, I thank you. I hope I didn’t let you down.

With the help of the people I work with, we were able to successfully put to action an idea I had to raise money for Alzheimer’s research with the Bleed Purple 5K. We raised $4,000 in the first year which shattered my goal of $2,500. That was a good day.

Finn 26001110_10212664094136407_557944665503503353_n.jpg

January 11, 2016 is the day my life changed forever. I came from work to find a note that read “Hi Daddy, Start Training For Sleepless Night and Early Mornings. See you in September. Love, Baby H.” Those words turned my world upside down. I still can’t type them out without shedding a tear. The wave of emotions I felt the day I came home to find that sweet note my wife had written me is something I will never forget.

She and I literally talked about 2017 and how we had a good feeling after 2016 let us down quite a bit in the baby department. The tears were finally filled with joy and not anger and disappointment.

Then on May 6, we found out even better news.

Not only did we get a baby, but it came in the package of the sweetest little boy, something she and I have talked about since day one. We always wanted a boy. My heart melted the second I saw that bath bomb was blue. I would have been happy with a little girl, but boy has always been the dream.

Then, September 11, I get home from work and my wife said she is having what feels like contractions. After a few hours, we headed to the hospital because we believed she was in labor. She was.

On September 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm, we welcomed our sweet 6 lbs 4 oz, 19 inch little dude into the world. I will never forget the image of him coming into this world. If you don’t believe in miracles, watch a little baby being born and I promise you, that will change. This little miracle came into our lives.

They say the tiniest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts. They were right. It has been a little under 4 months with this guy and it is truly a privilege to watch him grow.

Why me?

Literally the day after Mallisa informed me she was pregnant, I decided to play basketball as I normally did on Thursday. Unfortunately after colliding with someone, my knee decided to give way. I heard and felt a pop. It didn’t lock up. I could still put weight on it and walk. It just felt off and like it wanted to give way.

I remember getting in my car to drive home freaking out. I was so mad at myself and the situation because all I kept thinking was that I was going to need surgery. All I kept thinking was, “I won’t be able to get down on the ground with my baby. I won’t be able to do this. I won’t be able to do that.” That truly broke my heart.

After attempting to let it heal without diagnosis, I noticed slight improvement. I still felt something was up. After weeks of nursing it, someone fell on it. I really felt a pop after that and it hurt like a bitch.

I decided to get an MRI at that point. As I suspected, I tore my PCL. I was able to avoid surgery and it is functional. I’ll take it. I dodged a bullet there.

Made an Appearance on a Popular Internet Wrestling Show

Whatculture.com does a weekly internet show with King Ross where he outlines the top 25 WTF moments of Monday Night Raw. It is actually really funny. Well, my dad and I sat in the third row for Raw back in January. I decided to make a sign that said “it’s still real to Bob damn it.” If you have ever been to my house for a wrestling pay-per-view, you know why. Well King Ross put it on the show. He read “it’s still real to Bob Damn It? Well Bob’s a massive fucking mark then isn’t he?”

Thanks to my buddy Jonah for finding that. Literally the funniest shit I have ever seen. Mainly because it is so true.

New Friends

One of the things I love about the new year is not knowing who I will meet along the way.  I am a fairly social person so meeting new people is always fun for me. I tend to go through friends like underwear. There is always the select few who never fade, but I always find more. That is ok by me.

One friend I made in 2017 is my boy Danny who you guys will get to know through this blog real soon. I will get to that later. But he and his practically wife Jessica entered the Huddle this year and I am truly thankful for those guys.

I mean, who else am I going to have a Disney draft with in the Disney store on a Saturday after the Babycakes cancelled their game? The answer is no one. There are a couple of other friends I have made along the way in 2017, whether through work or however else we met. You know who you are. Appreciate y’all.

The Hotard Huddle 22491712_10159391724090697_9134663553342808635_n

This was a big year for the blog more than tripling the traffic to my site. I am super pumped about that. To all my loyal friends and followers who like, share and read on a regular basis, you’re awesome! I truly thank all of you.

I revamped the layout of the website, wrote 100+ posts, hosted 30 something episodes of Off The Record with my boy Richard. That was a lot of fun ranting about the whatever the hell we wanted.

Toward the end of 2017, I launched the Hotard Era, my first solo podcast which I am having a ton of fun with. Be on the lookout for a new episode soon. Holidays have been crazy!

Mallisa

The woman who makes all of this possible. I just don’t have a clue where I would be without her. She has been there for me and by my side since the day we met (during high school). We met when we were 5 technically, so that doesn’t count.

I know I spend too much time on my phone. I know I drink more than you probably like. I know I am not always the easiest to put up with, but you somehow do it. Thank you for everything you have done in 2017. You carried our baby like a champ and you looked amazing doing it. You gave me the greatest gift a guy could get so I thank you for that. You sacrificed a lot for that happen and you deserve a medal for it.

You support everything I do on this blog even though it takes time away from you sometimes. You don’t criticize the things I write, no matter how controversial it may be. You let me be myself and that too is a wonderful blessing and gift.

You are the best mom to Finn, better than I could have ever imagined. If I could think draw up what the best mom in the world would like, you would put that person to shame. This is your calling and what you were made to do. I am so happy Finn has such a wonderful woman to look up to.

Bring on 2018 Babayyyyy!

Another Career Opportunity

Last year, I took on personal training in addition to managing the front office with Anytime Fitness. That was fun, but I am stepping away from the training. As I wrote in a previous column, it is a bittersweet. I am sad to leave, but excited for the new opportunity I got.

Ownership felt it was best I step away from training to prevent me from burning myself out, which was happening. They want me to maintain the office, but expanded that into social media director for all of their franchises. I am super stoked about that because I feel like I will actually be using my degree finally, kind of. My degree was in broadcast journalism, but obviously this is a little more PR based stuff. I still get to tell stories of members, staff, etc. It is all intertwined to some degree.

Hangout with Hotard & Hillmann Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 10.41.45 PM

Unfortunately, Richard and I had some scheduling conflicts to keep him as part of the Huddle.

But I am super excited to bring on my buddy Danny for our web show titled Hangout with Hotard & Hillman. The show will be a round table discussion that centers around sports, pop culture and politics. Instead of us ranting about the latest topics, it will be timeless topics where we discuss topics like top 5 movies of all time and why. Maybe we do a 64 team bracket of WWE superstars during March Madness. It will be centered around countdowns, mock drafts, tournament brackets and more. It will take a less serious and more fun approach to the topics we all love to discuss.

Direction of the Hotard Huddle

I am excited to see where 2017 takes the Huddle. However, I regret to inform you that I may be pulling the plug on it in March. While I increased traffic for the last year, the last two months have been maybe the two worst I have had, even before the revamp. I did have some sponsorships lined up which would allow me some wiggle room to do better giveaways and put money toward the blog. However, I am putting that on hold until I see the numbers increase. I am not about to take money from my friends or their businesses if the traffic isn’t there…that would be a dick move.

My Little Family

With the family expanding in 2017, I can’t wait to see what fun and surprises 2018 brings with Finn running around. He is starting to become very aware of his surroundings and he is rolling over. I am excited for many firsts like walking, talking and more. I am excited that we get to take this dude to Disney in 2018 as well. Again, none of this be nearly as fun without having such an amazing woman by my side. 2018 is going to be filled with plenty of firsts for Mallisa and I.

Wrestlemania giphy

I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t thrilled to be going to Wrestlemania in three months. This will be the second time in four years I get to attend the granddaddy of them all. This time will be extra fun because it is with my dad, Bob. Every wrestling fan who watches Raw Top 25 WTF moments knows Bob is a mark, so it will be a good time. Let me explain what a mark is for those who don’t know. Someone who can’t fully figure out that wrestling is choreographed and staged. Bob really wishes ill on some the talent he hates and doesn’t understand why people don’t get off the ground quicker or take their time to set up moves. It really is one of the funniest things to listen to. Here is to five hours of wrestling with Bob. That is a win.

Disney World

Yup, we’re going back to Disney. Not only that, but we get to see Pandora and the new Toy Story Land. That is a fucking win my friends.

Conclusion

2017 was an awesome year for us and I know 2018 is going to be just as fun. Let’s get it!

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