Baby's First Words
What I hope you'll see from this blog (and a lot of this depends on who else I can get to sign on here) is far-too-in-depth analysis of Mizzou sports (all Mizzou sports, including lots about wrestling, baseball, and volleyball), combined with a pretty strong look at the Big XII and a general look at college sports as a whole. One other thing I hope to explore here: using whatever nerdy methods I feel like using, I want to take the What If game to an interesting place. What if Ricky Clemons didn't pick Mizzou? What if Kelly Thames didn't get hurt? Things like that...and not in a "If this didn't happen, we'd have won 10 national titles" kind of way...an honest look at what might have happened. If Wesley Stokes had been Quin's point guard for two more years instead of Clemons, would we be stuck in perpetual 6th place (though with no probation) and stuck with Quin a lot longer? Could Kelly Thames have made that big a difference in '95?
Even though sitting with a laptop on my lap this much will probably make me sterile, let's get started...
That's how I wrapped up the first post I ever wrote on a sports blog. Just over four and a half years later, I am writing this for a community that has grown beautifully, a community that has taken on a personality of its own, and a community that made both my mother and my wife cry last week with its kindness and generosity. I've been a part of quite a few online communities at one time or another; some revolved around politics, some music, and some (okay, most) sports. I'm not sure I've ever been a part of one that I simply liked more than Rock M Nation at this given time. We disagree sometimes, and we often drive each other crazy, but we come together when we need to come together. The Stubble Drive, the Karma Thread, and Erin's arrival last week told me all I could possibly need to know about this place. To the extent that I have had something to do with the quality of the community (and to be frank, RPT, The Beef, ghtd36, and plenty of others deserve an immense amount of credit), I am very, very proud. I thank you all for the kind wishes, and I can't wait to have to explain to my daughter who the hell all these Internet people are and why they want to meet her.
About six months ago, I embarked on a new site within the SBN network. The goal was to start a daily dialog around college football statistics, and because of the site (and my masochistic desire to attempt to write 3,000-word profiles about every FBS team) I got to write a long series of posts for the SBN.com mothership. This leads to the "announcement" portion of this post: on Monday, September 19, I will become College Sports Editor and Sports Analytics Director for SB Nation.
So what does this mean? In a lot of ways, it means I'll be writing about the world of college sports (mostly football, but perhaps some basketball too) the way I've been writing about Missouri these past few years. And (this is the best part) what does it mean for Rock M Nation? Nothing. This is a full-time position, and "Manager of Rock M Nation" is in the job description. As we approached Erin's arrival, I worried about the simple fact that something was going to have to give -- there was no way for me to keep writing at a high volume, working a separate full-time job and actually being a dad. If the SBN part-time writing was still doing well, then I somewhat feared that part of RMN would be that "something." Nope.
That my hobby is about to become my job (and that I'm about to possess a job title that comes straight out of this nerd's fantasy world) just blows my mind. And it all stems from blogging about Missouri. The stat pursuit came about because I was looking for Mizzou Sanity content in the 2007 offseason (here are some of my first posts), and any sort of emotional connection I've learned to make in my writing comes from, well, my emotional connection to Mizzou. My path to this place has been incredibly organic and rewarding, and I just cannot imagine any of it happening if a) I hadn't contacted Peter Bean about writing for SBN way back when, b) RPT hadn't also contacted PB around the same time, c) SBN decided to bring us both aboard and d) you guys started reading what we had to say. You are about to have more of me to read than you could possibly tolerate, and I couldn't be more excited about it. Thank you for what you've done to my writing, thank you for becoming (Internet) friends, and thank you for (hopefully) sticking around to continue developing this place in the future.