So I found Blogger So Dear in the aftermath of the 2010 season opener against Stetson. I was so absolutely shellshocked that I decided I absolutely needed to find a Wake site to talk to people. I was going to link the first article I read on here, but it’s so old it’s literally not in the archives near as I can tell. The Stetson preview by Riley is, but the recap, written by then-managing editor Martin Rickman (shouts out to Marty) isn’t. But I’ll never forget the headline. “Stetson 89, Wake Forest 79: Hatters Gon Hat.” I thought that was such puntastic genius that I decided to stick around. Before long, I was writing FanPosts, occasionally analytical, often histrionic, and always optimistic about the potential of the Jeff Bzdelik-led Wake Forest Demon Deacons (lol but also kill me for many reasons). Before too long, Marty took a flyer on me and asked me to come on staff. Counting Marty I’ve been here through four managing editors (Marty, Mundy, Rob, and Riley) the gradual decline and eventual end of the Grobe Era, the entire Bzdelik Era, and the Manning Era. I’ve written recaps, bullet points, haikus, poems, rap parodies, calls to action, love letters to sports and Wake Forest in general. I’ve interviewed players (big ups to Tree), interfaced with fellow bloggers, actually met the twins, Rob, and Jake (yeah we never met at school which seems borderline impossible). I’ve moderated podcasts (anybody remember that?), had Twitter exchanges with dudes now in the pros, and had a space to do something other than my “day job” (which, without outing myself too much, relates to disability rights advocacy, for those who don’t know). Counting just football and basketball, I’ve seen probably between 400 and 450 games as a BSD writer and counting. I’ve definitely written well over 100,000 words just in articles for this blog. And now I’m (partially) in charge.
To be honest, it’s weird for me. I’m now 32. I’m the last of the “old guard” still regularly writing here at BSD. I know people say 32 isn’t old, and I don’t feel old, but the last ten years of Wake sports have been not only a hell of a rollercoaster, but frankly have been soul-sucking enough at times that I may or may not have a Dorian Gray-esque portrait in my closet in an effort to keep myself from looking like Hans Moleman from The Simpsons. You’ll never find it either way, coppers! In all seriousness, though, when Ed urged me to take the second spot, I initially balked. It’s a young man’s game in the blogosphere. But then I thought about it and I realized it felt like a pretty good idea. Those of you who know me well, follow my Twitter, and/or have been eagle-eyed about my articles over the years (and/or obsessively stalk my activity here on SBN, not just BSD) will know that I’m a bigtime pro wrestling fan. I mention this because both my favorite performer and favorite storyline of the modern era in WWE was the rise of the man known as Dean Ambrose. In and out of character, he was largely a gritty everyman, an iron man for the company and the locker room who was always there, always kept his head down, and did what he loved. But he was never the focus, really. He could never win the big one (read: management didn’t want him to). He just did his thing. It’s not a perfect analogy, because BSD isn’t a competition, these guys are my family, I love the site, I love the readers, and I’ve worked this hard for this long because I want to, not to get here. But eventually, Dean won the WWE Championship, and he had a line I’ll never forget. “No matter how many guys came in and washed out, or got themselves suspended, or went to chase fantasies in some other sport, when the smoke cleared, I’m the guy still standing here, I’m the backbone of this industry, I’m the king of this company and now the whole world knows it!” That resonated with me for reasons I won’t get into right now, partly because this isn’t a pro wrestling blog nor my diary and partly because it’s not a perfect analogy. I’m not the king of BSD, nobody is. Again, that’s not how this works. But I don’t mind saying that in some ways I feel like I’m at the heart of the BSD staff. I’m the guy there when the smoke clears, no matter who comes and goes. Unlike Dean, I’m not putting anybody on blast for walking away. They know I love them all. But they are gone. They’ve moved on, and I’m still here, for my team, for SB Nation, for BSD, and most importantly for you guys, the readers.
The bittersweet thing is that Dean Ambrose, less than three years after that memorable (and true) decree, left WWE. He had good reasons, might come back some day, and will likely be happier for having left to work other places. But I bring up that postscript because there came a point when I decided (about the managing editor gig), “If not now, when?” My team has faith in me, my co-editor has faith in me (and vice versa), those who have moved on have faith in me, SB Nation has faith in me, and hopefully the readers do too. And I don’t want to stop being BSD’s ironman. I want to wear that badge with honor and do you guys, BSD, and SBN proud as I help to steer this ship.
So what can you guys expect under my and Elijah’s banner? Some new faces, hopefully some new energy, but the same soul. And for my part, I kinda want to write more articles like this, if it doesn’t absolutely tank. I don’t mean articles about me, necessarily, but recaps are great and fun to write, but only go so far. I want to do more to get at the heart of all this. The teams, the sports, the fans, the rituals, the school. WHY are we who we are? Why are we all here? Blogger So Dear is, at its core, a collectively created story. Lives as chapters, coming together in the singular binding that is Wake Forest fandom. That’s what makes the blogosphere so special, especially this blog. I want to try to do more to honor that, especially if certain things continue to suck, because we need to write about something.
On the more lighthearted side of things, I want to at least try to interject more of my personality into the writing (hence the references in this article; I mean Dorian Gray and WWE? Who do I think I am, Bill Simmons?) because I feel like when I interject a bit of heart or humor or oddity or weirdness (like rewriting rap lyrics) is when I’m at my best. If it fails as an experiment, I’ll dial it back, and I’ll never force it, because I just checked and I am not, in fact, Bill Simmons. But it’s a new era, y’all. And I wanna get a little nuts sometimes, so heck with it, let’s get a little nuts.
At this point, I’m rambling, so I wanna close with some thanks. Thanks to Matt and Caroline of the SB Nation “mothership” and everyone else for giving me this opportunity and trusting in me. I hope I honor it. Thanks to Elijah for agreeing to be my co-captain. Thanks to Marty, Mundy, Rob, and Riley for helping pave the way as editors. Thanks to the team: Ed, Ned, Andrew, Grumpy, Cam, Rafael, and anyone I’m tired enough to forget. Thanks to those who will join the team in the future. Thanks to my family, friends, and loved ones for believing in me on this as well. Thanks to my mom for literally looking me in the eye a couple days ago and telling me that I can really do something as a writer, be it sportswriting, fiction, or both (yes, I’m working on an original fiction project as well). And thanks to literally every last person who has read, commented, tweeted, and engaged with my work. Without you all, I’m nothing as a writer. I’m humbled. If I’m something of the heart of BSD, all of you are the soul. One’s not much good without the other, they go together, and the soul is bigger annd more important than any one individual.
I’d be willing to bet this is by far the longest article I’ve ever written. There’s a reason for that. I wanted to reintroduce myself, and hopefully do so in grand, stirring fashion. Hey guys, I’m SamuraiFoochs. It’s nice to meet you all again.
On to the next. Go Deacs.