It's at this stage of the year I usually trawl through 50 (ish) newspapers picking the best stories from Western Telegraph Sport - and using them to form a comprehensive review.

But let's be honest, you don't want to work through thousands of words the weekend before Christmas - and you can re-live it all on Facebook memories these days anyway.

So this year something a bit different. As the curtain draws on another year of sport in Pembrokeshire, here is five things that 2018 has taught us. Or taught me at least.

Our sporting range is widening:

When I was growing up, the sporting format in Secondary School was pretty simple.

Boys played football, rugby and occasionally cricket, girls netball and hockey, and the fittest individuals from those afore-mentioned sports were picked for athletics.

There was cross country too, which depending on how you applied yourself was either great for building stamina, chatting with your mate, or sneaking a fag behind the shed.

Now the outlook has changed. Youngsters in Pembrokeshire have the chance to excel in all sorts, with far greater provisions for disabled athletes as well.

In the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, our county had individuals selected by Team Wales in athletics, boxing, shooting, squash, weightlifting, and para-bowls – with Mickey McDonagh (boxing) and Ben Llewellin (shooting) coming home with a bronze and silver medal respectively.

Lily Rice has recently risen to global stardom in wheel chair motor cross, Abe Forsythe has competed in the Vitality Junior Golf Championship in Catalunya, and Jamie Lewis has just kick started another campaign in the PDC World Darts Championships.

Add in the growing stature of clubs like SAW and Dynamic Fitness, numerous combat groups and schemes like Go Out Get Active, and the days of the core sports dominating participation levels locally are long gone.

Of course, the counter effect is numbers in those more traditional ball games have dwindled. But a wider and more varied availability of activities in our county should be considered a good thing.

Having said that, I’m relieved Red Bull have gone elsewhere before cliff diving became a phenomenon around here.

That’s not sport. That’s just lunacy.

With great cup commitment, comes great cup reward:

The Principality Stadium, the Liberty, Sophia Gardens.

Hardly sporting arenas synonymous with sport in Pembrokeshire. Until now.

Regardless of the strength of our domestic football, rugby, and cricket leagues, final appearances in regional or national knockout competitions have been rare (and yes, there are exceptions).

Perhaps that’s understandable. Given our location, competitions like the WRU Cup/Plate/Bowl, Welsh Cricket Cup or West Wales Intermediate Cup can be a real headache. Lengthy away trips to difficult venues often equate to weakened sides travelling.

In other instances, the bus trip home takes priority over the result. I’m all for 20 pints on the way back, but beer invariably tastes better after a win.

Ask Goodwick United, who in May won a second West Wales Cup in three years by beating Penlan Club at the Liberty. Pembroke RFC also lost a thrilling WRU Bowl final with Porthcawl in the Principality, and Neyland were runners up in the Welsh Cricket Cup final at Sophia.

All three sides had to come through tough and no doubt inconvenient away trips along the way – and yet all were rewarded with a day at a special venue that players and supporters will never, ever forget.

And let’s not forget Pembroke Youth RFC or the School First XV’s at Greenhill and Preseli – who also all graced the Principality in various finals.

So teams can see such competitions as a pain in the neck and surrender feebly – or take them seriously, throw everything into them, and fight like hell for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I’d know which I’d rather.

Old fires still burn bright:

Every club has them.

The old boys at the bar. The guys who tell you about when men were men, rucking was rucking, and how that eventual Welsh international didn’t even get in the seconds when he started out.

And yet, while concerns are rising over youth participation in certain sports, plenty of veteran folk are proving age is no barrier to competing.

The Wales age group cricket sides have been invaluable in allowing players to shine on the national and international stage, when many could have been forgiven for thinking that chance was gone. Indeed, Leighton O’Connor, Neal Williams, and Ian Poole, all familiar to Pembrokeshire cricket lovers, have just returned from representing Wales in the Over 50s World Cup in Australia.

At Ironman Wales this year, the 70-74 year old category winner was David Borrell in 14:44:17. A reminder that’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile marathon in under 15 hours.

If I clocked that time tomorrow, I’d retire on it (I’m 35).

Hakin Over 40s are also currently going strong in the Welsh Vets League. I remember covering their first game with Trefelin and looking forward to some relaxed Sunday football. A hotly contested 3-2 win and final whistle melee later, and I realised I'd underestimated the desire somewhat.

But John Wright of Haverfordwest Tennis Club simply tops the lot. Still an active playing member of the club at the age of, wait for it, 93.

It’s fair to say he’s not been lost to the I-pad generation.

The crazy get crazier:

I still remember the days where a Pembrokeshire person completing the London Marathon pretty much guaranteed him or her a sizeable splash in the Telegraph.

Now it’s like ‘right, you done anything else?’

Of course I’m joking, but as fitness training evolves so it seems do the challenges.

In May, Sanna Duthie finished her Sunday morning run shortly before 7am. The Pembrokeshire Coast 100 mile Ultra Run that is, in a new course record of 23:02:04.

It wasn’t the only record to go. The Man-up UK Marathon des Cotes event challenged athletes to complete our whole Coast Path in just three days. Richard Simpson duly did that in 64 hours and 32 minutes, after more than 370,000 steps and 30,000 feet of elevation.

Local mud runs don’t just constitute wading through the odd freezing river anymore either. Unless you’ve been electrocuted, stung, raked by wire and gagged by dirt then you needn’t have bothered.

And recently we’ve had the annual Narberth Night Nobbler. A 10 kilometre trail run through the woods on a Saturday night, with head torches used to counteract the darkness.

Call me old fashioned as I’d probably rather opt for Match of the Day, but with event organisers getting more innovative and daring all the time in an effort to outdo the competition (literally), then I expect the madness to get madder still.

But for atmosphere, exhilaration, and sense of occasion, one local event still stands above them all.

The buzz surrounding Ironman Wales shows no signs of waning, and while endurance epics like the Tenby Long Course Weekend and Tour of Pembrokeshire also continue to grow in stature, the mass crowds that again engulfed Tenby from the early hours this September made one thing abundantly clear.

Despite the continued growth of extreme Pembrokeshire based races.......Ironman is still number one.

Sport is serious, but not life or death:

Like any other year in Pembrokeshire sport, 2018 has been tainted by tragedy and the loss of some much loved characters.

Even this week, the community of Narberth has been hit by the death of renowned rugby player and cricketer Roger Price, aged 65. In a tightly-knit county like ours such departures hit hard, and it often speaks volumes the extent to which people will rally round.

But there have also been tales of true courage through adversity.

The passing of Luke Harding in March touched everyone, least of all for his bravery in the face of being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. As his condition deteriorated, he responded by regularly football training, walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, and completing the Cardiff Half Marathon.

Maybe something to think about next time you don’t fancy going for a run because it’s raining.

And of course there is Kristian Speake, whose heroic recovery following grievous injuries to his skull nine months ago was recently recognised at the Sport Pembrokeshire Awards. To label his story inspirational would be a wild understatement.

Every day I work alongside my sports editor Gordon Thomas, who despite ongoing treatment for illness refuses to display so much as an ounce of self-pity. In fact, if I show the merest sign of sympathy I’m promptly shut down with “it is what it is.”

Of course, these are just three examples. Many more within our county also refuse to be defined by difficult times – and it sure puts other problems into perspective.

By all means, be passionate about the sports you play. In fact whether it has been as a player, supporter, or reporter, I admit I've been guilty in the past of treating local games like life or death. It took me a while to learn otherwise.

So next time you’re seething because you’ve had to wait till 12pm to hear football is off, or lost a few seconds off your triathlon time, or you don’t think your achievements have been adequately covered in the papers, then just remind yourself something.

It isn’t the end of the World.

To all those involved in Pembrokeshire sport, thank you for your support throughout 2018 and enjoy your Christmas and New Year.