Yesterday, Sean announced that he was officially stepping away from TNIAAM. For those of us who’ve been here for a long time, it’s a day we never really took the time to conceptualize.
For those of us that are stepping into his very big shoes, we never really thought it would be US (me, as well as the rest of the staff) replacing him. And yet, here we are.
On day one of the new era of this website, it’s easy to draw comparisons to the impending situation with Syracuse Orange basketball. Jim Boeheim will eventually hang things up, and when he does, the job will go to long-time assistant Mike Hopkins. For Hopkins, the ghost of what the Hall of Fame coach before him accomplished hangs over him in his place of work, in the expectations of fans and in his own perception of what the program was (and can be).
You could say the same about my new role here, though the weight of taking over for an institution like Boeheim or Sean is certainly no fault of Hopkins’s or my respective predecessors. Their accomplishments allowed us to grow and learn and succeed. And now, we have to make those things happen on our own.
For five years, I’ve worked on this staff in some capacity, and in that time, I’ve learned a ton from Sean, other TNIAAM writers, the SB Nation network and of course, the commenters in this community. They’ve all taught me how to earn respect by striving to continue developing as a writer and as a person, most importantly. I know I’m very different now than when many of you met me as a 24-year old. Hopefully those changes have been for the better.
As Sean said yesterday, I’ve already been the day-to-day editor for awhile, so perhaps the most important thing I’ll be doing in the short-term is not changing much at all. I’ve made lots of tweaks in the background over the years, and they’ve become ingrained in what we do here everyday. TNIAAM has more adjustments in store as it dives into its second decade, but these will not be seismic shifts. To radically change the formula of something this successful would be foolish at least, and disrespectful at most.
Because respect is what I owe all of you and Sean. To the comment section (and various Twitter friends as well), you’ve accepted me as a member of this community and expressed appreciation for my work here -- as thankless as some of it would’ve been otherwise. You guys (and gals) are why I’m happy to spend four hours on a Monday night rewatching a 20-point football loss instead of doing literally anything else with my time.
To Sean: I’m sure this wasn’t the plan when I was writing one article (about our new ACC opponents and not Syracuse) per week, but I can never really express enough gratitude to you for giving me that shot. The ability to grow as a writer and an editor, while talking about the teams I love rooting for was a dream when I was a kid. Your faith in my abilities has allowed me to pursue writing full-time and actually feel fulfilled in my career. There’s no price on what that means to me. Thanks for being the friend and mentor that helped make it happen.
While we’re all aiming for a smooth transition, it’s going to be a learning experience for everybody, too. Sean’s been here for 10 years, after all, so changing management comes with bumps. Where there are some, I hope you’ll all help us iron things out and have patience with me and the rest of the staff as we embark on this brave new world. I promise to try to find the balance between the old Dr. Who jokes and the new Kanye West lyrical references. It’s impossible to lose sight of how this place became such a staple of the sports blogging community, and I don’t plan to do so.
Can’t wait for what’s ahead. Thanks again, as always, for reading TNIAAM.