The Beauty of the Ride: Farewell, BOTC

After more than five years, the time has come. TB says goodbye to BOTC.

In March 2007, I started a blog.

The reasons were as mundane as a lot of the content. Nobody had a blog about K-State sports back in those days, and I enjoyed writing and had enough free time to post a few times each week. What has transpired since then is inevitably a reflection of my own life, both good and bad.

***

Life's bell curves can be a bitch for those who expect a lot of themselves. Unlike SB Nation's best, I have not shaped the sports blogosphere in any significant way. T. Kyle King was and is perhaps the clearest thinker and best writer. Peter Bean is more organized and has poured more time than anyone into SB Nation's college sites. Spencer Hall has an unrivaled force of personality. Bill Connelly has made the revolutionary advanced-stats movement understandable and accessible in ways other statisticians can't. And intelligent perspective rolls off people like Seth Jungman, one of the most fundamentally decent people I've ever met.

And those are just the national guys. Panjandrum is as funny a writer as anyone, and has become as good a friend as I've had. Morse is the brains of this operation, and always challenges my assumptions and makes me think. Derek came up with the idea for, and then went beyond any reasonable expectation in the execution of, the greatest single post that ever ran on BOTC. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone with more passion for K-State than BracketCat. Actually, that's not true. All the other contributors, past and present, cared enough about K-State sports to write about it with more or less no compensation.

And all of you spend time reading and commenting here that you could -- and maybe should -- spend doing other things. Thank you.

***

Time is a significant reason why I'm walking away. For the majority of my life, time was not something I conceptualized as a finite resource. Even in law school, with reading assignments and Socratic method teaching and two weeks of finals breathing down my neck twice each year, I never felt like I didn't have enough time for everything.

Now it's different. On our life's ledger, there's a category for Things That Must Be Done. Working, raising a son, sleeping, and a few other things go here. On the other side, there's a category for Other Stuff. For me, this has always been blogging, reading, playing golf or basketball, and myriad other things. Blogging is eating up the time I want to spend on other things. Don't feel bad for me. I got into it because I enjoyed it. I still do.

But it's more than that. If it were just that it takes up time, then that would be one thing. But it's taking up that amount of time, and it's still not being done well. Look at the well-run sites on SB Nation. With someone who has the ability and the willingness to devote that time to it, BOTC could be that. We'll get back to this.

***

Last week, on our pre-Thanksgiving K-State Slate, one of our longtime commenters encouraged everyone to go back and read some of the old stories in the archives. Though he didn't specify my articles, for a long time, that's all there was at BOTC. And for obvious reasons, it was appreciated.

But for other reasons, I hoped everyone would leave the archives to gather virtual dust. For every thoughtful piece that I took great pride in publishing, there are probably three angry screeds directed at people who had committed no greater crime than not thinking as highly of K-State as I do.

Looking back through the archives is a great personal reminder of what I've experienced in the last five years. From the angry and needlessly argumentative law student to whatever I am now, a lot has changed. Maybe everything has changed.

A huge part of that change has been the network with which BOTC is associated. One of the best things about weblog proliferation is that people who would only be intelligent or insightful or witty or otherwise entertaining to their friends can do so for large audiences. My life is certainly better for reading the writing of all those I've mentioned, not to mention others, like RPT (from RMN).

And unlike The Worldwide Leader and other media outlets, SB Nation comprises a bunch of people who mostly write what they believe, regardless of whether it garners unique visitors or links. Bill Connelly isn't as well known as he should be because he doesn't write things he doesn't even half believe just to bait a bunch of stupid people into stupid arguments about stupid topics. Even somebody like Spencer Hall doesn't get half the recognition he deserves for similar reasons.

Like your favorite local hole-in-the-wall restaurant or bar or coffee shop that's legitimately -- and significantly -- better than Chili's or Buffalo Wild Wings or Starbucks because it's small enough that quality is still possible, SB Nation is the place to go for intelligent perspective on our favorite diversion. Reading the writing of those mentioned, and many others, showed me that so many of the things I used to consider paramount were stupid, and were only argued about by shallow, stupid people who take sports more seriously than they should. Spencer and Bill and many others may have their livelihood tied up in sports, but it hasn't caused them to ascribe outsize significance to sports.

***

BOTC and SB Nation manage to do a better job than most, but sports discussion is increasingly and needlessly ugly. One of my favorite follows on Twitter is my old high school's former basketball coach, and what happened with him is a perfect microcosm of what grates on me most about sports media and sports fans.

He cared about his players so much that he could barely speak about them at the season-ending coaching banquet because he'd be overcome by emotion. And he wasn't some soft touch who didn't get results. His teams made several trips to the state tournament. With a couple breaks, he could have easily won a state championship.

Not only does he care about his players, but he's relentlessly positive. He doesn't concern himself the petty squabbles and politics. At high school or any other level, this and his success should have been enough. But it wasn't. My hometown, which takes great civic pride in doing things the right way and being successful in so doing, pushed him out after a few bad seasons. He won a state championship with a conference rival a few years later.

That's a long way of saying that I'm tired of running down student-athletes and coaches and officials for not meeting the impossible standard of perfection.

***

It's time to get back to the thread I left dangling earlier. Little about BOTC is going to change. Jon Morse will take over the daily operations. In the two or three years he's been on staff at BOTC, there are less than a handful of times we would have taken a significantly different course of action.

And I'm not going to disappear. Morse made only one demand when I asked if he would take over the site: that I remain involved in an Editor Emeritus position. It's not like I can just stop writing about things anyway, and even in a diminished role I'll probably still maintain something close to my already-anemic post schedule.

But make no mistake about it, this is Jon's site now. So farewell, BOTC. Carry that banner high.

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