Doesn't sound like much does it? But let's look a little more deeply...
I've been a member of this forum for 9 years, 1 month and 14 days. During that time, my posting rate, while low compared to most of the regulars, and most of the "irregulars", has remained incredibly consistent. I do come here basically every day, look at every topic of NBA talk and General talk. When I'm inspired to post, I post. When I'm not, I don't.
This forum has meant more to me than I've perhaps realised. Especially over the last couple of years. During my 9 years here, just about everything in my life has changed. Judging by my November joining date, at the time I would have just completed my Year 12 exams, and was facing a lifetime of uncertainty, especially considering the career path that I was about to enter into. The next three years (scratch that, three weeks) saw me move out of home and begin my first university degree (Bachelor of Arts - Theatre Performance), possibly a surprising choice to some of you. Those three years were unquestionably the best of my life: met some great people, had some great times. But it all came crashing to a heap once the reality of my situation set in. The Performing Arts industries in Australia are almost impossible nuts to crack. Work opportunities are so, so thin on the ground here. Especially since the huge insurgence of reality TV. Most of the jobs that we get, the payment barely covers the petrol money that it takes to get you to and from rehearsals. You move from tiny little theatre to tiny little theatre, and all you can do is hope that someone sees you, that someone cares enough about what you can do.
I spent 5 long years doing this. And didn't really get anywhere.
So this year, I decided to put everything on pause for a while, and did a secondary teaching degree. It was something that had been suggested to me, but I always resisted the idea, because I didn't think that I had the temperament for it. But to my great surprise (and relief), I enjoyed myself. So now I've finished, and begun looking for that full-time job that's always proven so elusive.
It's still elusive. Humbug.
What does any of this have to do with the NBA Live Series Centre (Center/Whatever)? I guess, the one thing that has remained consistent for me is my love of basketball. I have had an almost complete changeover in my circle of friends since 2002. I've had beards, no beards, half a dozen different hairstyles (I've now settled on good old "receding"). My family has become smaller, and grown larger, yet I still have the same passion for that orange sphere. I still love the Chicago Bulls, whether they're drafting Jay Williams or Derrick Rose, signing Ron Mercer or Ronnie Brewer, winning 16 games or winning 62.
This place provides the best outlet for that love.
So I just want to thank all of the admins, team members and moderators.
The Bulls' fans, especially my contemporaries in the Bulls' thread where I do most of my damage (airgordon, George7, Valor and Andrew. apologies for those I've missed)
Ty-Land, who is pretty much the only poster who has ever given me a shout-out, so this is me returning the favour, wherever he is.
Finally, additional thankyou to Andrew for all of the thankless work that you do here (which by definition, is no longer thankless. So Ha!)
And by means of a post-script, to everyone else: Keep improving. Read articles. Read posts before responding to them. It goes a long way and is the best way to demonstrate respect on here. If you're a Miami fan.... well.... you're probably already beyond hope.
Thanks again, here's to another 2000.