Did you ever have something you always secretly wanted to try, but never could figure out how to do it? I did. I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to put my words down, and have people read them and respond, and most of all be entertained and informed by them. And to know that there was an audience out there for something that I created somewhere in the strange world that exists just below my thinning grey hair. But for most of my life, I was unable to achieve that secret dream in my heart.
And then a year ago, on August 17, 2011, I got the chance. I started my time as a front page writer here at Blogging The Boys. It was just about perfect. I was getting to do what I always wanted to do, about my very favorite sports team at any level in any sport, at the best sports and commentary website I have yet to find anywhere. The big question, of course, was if this would pan out. Would my writing be accepted, and could I manage to come up with four or five articles a week?
Roughly 350 front page pieces later, I am still going strong, and anxious to have another season of Dallas Cowboys football to write about.
I'd say it's been great. But it has been so much better than that.
OK, I'm warning you. It gets a tad mushy after the jump.
I have some things to say about the other people involved in this. This is a team effort, in several ways, and I want to take a few words (OK, maybe more than a few) to express some things that normally don't get said.
To start off, I got to join a really wonderful staff, and it just keeps getting better. The leader of the bunch is Dave Halprin. He was the guy who decided to sign me up, but far more importantly, he is the man who somehow manages to herd this bunch of cats while maintaining the finest, highest-quality website you are ever going to see. Part of my job as a writer is to review all manner of media and fan sites out there, and I can say this with total assurance: Nobody does it better than BTB.
KD Drummond is our multimedia guru, but the thing I love about him is that he has our back. I have lost count of the times something trollish being mouthed off at one of the writers, including me, and KD was immediately after the guy with a big beatdown stick. Every group needs an enforcer, and KD proves repeatedly he ain't just a pretty face.
Rabblerousr may not realize it, but he kinda started this whole thing with his FanPost of the Week posts. When he mentioned me one week back when I was still calling myself Pineywoods (and throwing those FanPosts out like crazy to see if any of them would stick to the wall), I started to think that maybe I wasn't totally stupid for wanting to try this. When he gave me one of the coveted Rabbies (mine is normally kept in a safe deposit box, but I get it out for special occasions like today to show everyone), I first began to think this might actually work. So in a sense, it is his fault.
Coty is the newest kid on the block, but anyone that can put out something like his excellent Roster Builder is somebody we need on the team. Plus, sometimes, he writes more like I do than anyone else. I don't know if he wants to hear that.
If rabble started this thing going for me, OCC is the one that really opened the door. He was the first front-pager to tell me he thought I could do this thing. Also, right now, he is the one human being (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) on the face of the earth with whom I would most like to sit down over a few beers and talk. Whether it was about geopolitical trends, the childhood trauma that must have emotionally scarred and stunted John Mara, or the hot chick at the bar, I know the conversation would be intelligent, funny, and at some point would teach me something.
OCC gave me encouragement and supported my case early on. I got to do the same a few months later. It may not have been that much, but I feel like I helped a little bit in getting Archie onto the front page. I gave him a tip or two, and voted for him when his name was put forth. And, for reasons I don't quite understand but am grateful for, Archie has become a friend. It is the cyber variety, but I value him nonetheless. And he is still a better evaluator of talent than 95% of the guys out there getting paid to write about draft prospects.
That's the crew I "work" with (plus the semi-phantom Brandon, who drops in on occasion), and it has been truly a pleasure. But none of this would happen if it weren't for you, the audience. Everyone who comes here regularly and reads the words I cobble together makes this worthwhile. The ones who take the time to sign up and comment have become part of a community here, not just a bunch of opinionated football fans. I wish I could take the time to talk to everyone individually, but that ain't gonna work. So I would like a few of the people who hang around a lot to stand in for all of you. These are the ones that are like me, a little bit different in how they see the world. And they are kindred souls in the love they have for creating and writing.
Tanstaafl is our resident Rod Serling, taking us on voyages of the imagination and daring one and all to keep up. I have never seen comments like this anywhere. Each and every one is a mini-adventure where you never know if you will find delight, a little horror, or both.
Hawkeye101 writes some fantastic FanPosts on his own, including the phenomenal Dick Diamond adventures. Good parody is a tightrope act, and he negotiates the high wire with aplomb that puts a Wallenda to shame.
Tennessee Jed was kind enough to make me a regular character in his News from Camp series. I am just hoping he doesn't kill me off like Hard Knocks did with Chad Johnson - and does something about my wardrobe.
And Tarheel Paul has a unique place around here. He unintentionally served as a catalyst for this place becoming a true community. If you don't know the story, you need to click that link. It is sort of required reading for anyone who wants to hang around here for the long haul, at least in my book.
I could go on. Just let me say that all of you (well, except the trolls) are why I do this. So thanks to each one of you that reads and, hopefully, enjoys what I do. Let me repeat how much I,and I think all the writers, appreciate everyone who takes the time to comment on the articles. It is the surest sign that you are getting some kind of response from the fans. And more than once, the discussions that get started in the threads are more educational than the article that they flow from. The best thing about them is that the sense of civility and decorum has been maintained. No obscenity-laced tirades, no personal attacks. Well, they do happen, but if you notice, they tend to disappear. If you go to the bottom of the page, you'll notice a couple of moderators listed, who get a lot of credit for taking care of these issues. Like I said, it is all a team effort.
One last, and most important, thank you goes to my wife, Ruth. This little project takes a sizable chunk of my time and focus, and she has not only been supportive, but she actually takes pleasure from the fact I enjoy this so much. She thinks I'm a bit crazy, but fortunately that is neither a new thing or a problem. Loving each other is helpful like that..
So to all you who have been here for all or part of my ride so far, thank you. And if you are new, take this as an invitation to dive in and come along with us. I am not sure just how bumpy this trip might get, but I will do everything I can to make it enjoyable. And the last thing I have to add: