I never actually wanted to do this.
There I was, fiddling around on EDSBS and writing my little small-college blog and working on my college football history wiki. Happy as a pig in mud. Of course, I was also poking around here at BOTC, because that's what one does. But I wasn't really active here. Just a guy who occasionally popped in and said stuff.
Then I get an e-mail from TB wanting me to start writing regularly for the site.
He had to talk me into it. It wasn't that I didn't want to contribute, but at the time it just felt like I wasn't really needed. TB was, as always, doing a bang-up job handling the actual coverage of K-State sports. Pan and Bracket were both still relatively active at the time, and they'd just brought on another contributor not too long before.
More pertinently, while I've always been a loyalist, I had never really immersed myself in what was actually Going On in Manhattan to the extent I really felt was necessary to cover K-State in depth. My focus had always been on the bigger picture. And that's how TB roped me in; he told me that's exactly what he wanted me to do -- cover the nation from a K-State perspective. So I did. And for about 18 months, everything was just peachy. I was just one of the guys, occasionally writing some stuff, and in the process discovering what truly makes SB Nation great: the fact that the authors are engaged with their community, rather than inviting comments but entirely ignoring them like so many other sports media sites.
Then SB Nation United happened, and that changed the way things function in ways you can't imagine. My prior work experience in IT involved a lot of the same concepts, and I was fascinated by the new backend. As a result, I dove in to figuring out how everything worked, and basically became the site's line editor.
About a month before the 2012 football season started, I made it up to Kansas City for a day on personal business, and TB and I got together for some Oklahoma Joe's and beer. Before that evening, he was just this guy I wrote stuff for, and I was probably just some irascible asshole that generated pageviews. That all changed that day. TB's become a pretty damned good friend. It was during that meeting, pre-baby, that TB first indicated to me that he knew he was probably going to have to step back at some point in the future, so this wasn't exactly a big shock to me.
Which brings us to the ultimate thrust of this memo. As I take over the management of this site, there are three things you, the community, really need to understand.
One, when TB approached me about taking over, I had one condition and one condition only. The actual wording was that he had to stay on staff as Editor Emeritus, but the effective reality is that he and I are just swapping spaces on the masthead. His level of contribution may lessen; then again, freed of the hassle of actually having to manage the blog, you never know. Crazy fool might write more. Time will tell. I'll probably still lean on him for certain things which he's been able to wrangle in the past through his connections, too, and god knows I'm going to need his help networking during the transition. Basically, what I'm saying here is that TB will still be around. He's just going to be able to do so at his leisure now rather than having the obligation of dealing with all the day-to-day bullshit.
Two, the staff is -- much to my glee and relief -- wholly on board with this. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how the guys were going to react. But having contacted them individually to discuss their plans, what they want to do going forward, and my intentions, I couldn't be more pleased with their responses. It was said several times by various people in TB's farewell post, but it bears repeating: the fact that TB assembled such a great group of contributors who are going to be able to seamlessly carry on under new leadership says as much about him as anything.
Three, this is and always has been TB's baby. I don't think he'd have chosen me to replace him if he thought the tone of the site would be fundamentally altered. You can rest assured that unless he just flat disappears on me, there won't ever be a major change to how this community operates without TB's input. I may not do what he wants, but he's going to have every opportunity to tell me what he thinks, and what he thinks is going to bear on my decisions. The tone of the community itself isn't going to change. Well, unless some of you decide to stage a revolt or something. A lot of things will change, but your daily experience -- other than possibly having even more things to read -- won't.
You see, there's one thing that is a truism about any community of this nature. It adopts a life of its own, and you've got to try really hard to mess it up. We all know one another, and even if I may snap and growl at some of you occasionally, you're all great folks. It's my fondest hope that for you, the community, the only real sign of a change here will be that TB and I have written posts telling you there's been a change. If I fail to live up to that, my e-mail address is right there on the masthead. You let me know.
Long may our colors fly, my friends. Let's get to work.