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A salute to the 2012 sports scene

He came to the nation’s capital offering hope and change…and he actually delivered it.

Sure he cost the Redskins a few future draft picks, but he’s been worth it.

He has an infectious smile, the speed to bounce outside the tackles and score from anywhere.

He makes Cowboys, Eagles and Giants fans tremble.

He has the ability to throw with accuracy, take it for a run or toss it to an equally impressive rookie running back named Alfred Morris.

He has a Heisman Trophy.

His jersey already resides in the National Football League’s Hall of Fame for breaking the rookie quarterback record for rushing yards, as well as several other rookie records.

He’s an NFL Pro Bowler in his first year.

His mere presence can make the Wizards win.

He has even made Redskins fans begin to forget the sins of Dan Synder.

He’s a quarterback, role model and beacon of positive energy to all---the only “cornballs” work at ESPN.

He is Robert Griffin III, the NFL’s most interesting man.

Rejoice! 2012 was the year we’ve all been waiting for here for a long, long time.

The Redskins are reborn with RGIII, Morris and exciting backup quarterback Kirk Cousins.

This week the Redskins are in the playoffs at 10-6 after winning their first Eastern Division title since 1999
Now for the first time in many years, here’s hope for the burgundy and gold.

For baseball fans in the area 2012 was also a dream year witnessing the Nationals and Orioles topple predictions and expectations---the Cardinals and Yankees just ended it a couple games too soon.

For the Nats, the future looks bright with the promise of youth, talent, a full year of Strasburg and a bit more experience to temper the nerves in the playoffs.

As Bryce Harper might say, “Only a clown would question the future of the Nats.”

D.C. United also returned to glory with an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals after a number of lean years under the leadership of head coach Ben Olsen. The Black-and-Red’s young players proved that grit, heart and emerging talent can compete with the league’s new darling franchises.

Look for a January announcement on a new stadium for United, fingers crossed that it will be in the District of Columbia.

The Capitals, with its tantalizingly great roster of dynamic players, made the playoffs the last five years, but have yet to crack the second round. Sadly, the NHL lockout appears to be destined to rob us of an entire season.

Among the area’s professional teams there are stranglers, mainly the eternally floundering Wizards and the Mystics.

The area’s top college programs are joining the national trend of conference jumping.

The Olympics showcased the power, grace and talent of the nation’s female athletes with a dominating performance.

Nationally, the top stories in sports trended toward the negative with the Penn State sex scandal, Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, Saint’s Bounty Gate and the early season NFL referee debacle.

Yet there were also a number of great national stories like the NFL’s rookie stars, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson’s remarkable comebacks, the rebirth of Notre Dame, U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Argentina/Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who scored 91 goals in a season and LeBron James, who finally earned his ring in Miami.

Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to move from Cleveland to Miami?

We are thankful for what we don’t have to discuss anymore, mainly the Mayan Apocalypse, last year’s fishing trips and Tim Tebow.

We are grateful for all the local stories and high school sports that inspire us throughout the year.

We salute all the athletes, coaches, along with the families who support their dreams.

We raise a toast to a great 2013.

Telling your stories makes every year great.

Marshall Conner is a freelance writer.

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