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Szuba: An open thank you note to the TNIAAM and Syracuse community

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Thank you all for everything thus far.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Virginia vs Syracuse Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

To the TNIAAM and Syracuse community,

You know, I was a little hesitant to write an open letter on this site for the reason that it could only be the second best ever written here and it might not do the first one justice.

But as the reality of Friday’s win over Clemson settles in and as we embark on the next chapter of the Syracuse basketball story on Friday, I felt like a message needed to be sent. Nothing quite brings us, the city and university together like a major win, so I wanted to issue a sincere thank you to TNIAAM and greater Syracuse community.

It’s rather comical to me, but I’m giving TNIAAM ~2 to 5 percent of my total time, yet the return on that investment is astronomical. It’s not so much that I don’t want to give more as it is I can’t afford to allot more of my time. Nonetheless, writing here has opened up an incredibly meaningful avenue of my life. My friends and family back home in CNY follow my work and read much of what I write. To them, I’m not James Szuba who works in finance in New York. I’m Szuba, who writes for Nunes. Powerful stuff, right?

Not only that, but writing for TNIAAM for the last two and some odd years has been fulfilling beyond imagination. Wildly enough, I’ve been able to live out a few of my dreams through this site. When I first started writing here I thought I was getting into this just for a platform to write about Syracuse basketball but it’s turned into so much more than that. It truly is a community here. Within the first few months, one of the first things I noticed and really grew to appreciate was the repeat commenters in the comment section. It was great to see people check back in and the comments were almost never malicious which is nothing if not aberrational in today’s world. All of that stems from the community that Sean has fostered and it’s a reflection of you guys as well. That doesn’t go unnoticed — thank you all for making it a jovial atmosphere. It’s part of what makes this site so great.

The team here has been great as well. It’s been a true privilege to work with and get to know some of the TNIAAM staff. I’ve learned a great deal from everyone and the interactions have always been a pleasure. If you haven’t been about to gather, Sean is an incredible guy and what he’s been able to build out of virtually nothing is a remarkable achievement. I won’t delve into numbers, but TNIAAM is one of the more visited sites under the SB Nation umbrella. That’s something to be proud of. Thank you to the team and to the readers who are both obsessively passionate and for working together to make this site a success.

As someone from Syracuse who has lived in other parts of the world and currently resides in New York, there really is nothing else out there quite like this, at least from what I’ve seen. It’s always been so captivating to me how the city and university rivet to Syracuse sport. The city of Syracuse and its denizens undoubtedly gravitate to the university — inherently in and of itself not good nor bad — and the university serves as the city’s identity. Any time I meet someone who isn’t from Syracuse, the first thing they talk about is Jim Boeheim and Syracuse basketball. Jim put Syracuse on the map. That’s always been so fascinating to me.

I write all of this to say: I’m not going anywhere. I just plan to take on a different role this basketball season. While I won’t be doing as many game recaps (but can step in as needed) I want to do more column centric work, which I’ve done here, but I also want to steer the ship (for me anyway) into unchartered territory. I want to share a few personal stories this season about Syracuse, the basketball team and how much it has meant to me over the years.

In the same breath, I don’t want to make this all about me so I hope it doesn’t come off in that way. It’s actually quite the contrary. What I hope to accomplish is to bridge the relationship between the reader (you) and writer (me & TNIAAM staff) with hopes that our stories parallel each other. I hope to add depth to the conversation that keeps this ship going so strong. Syracuse and even TNIAAM is much bigger than one person and it’s always been about the greater community, so I aim to strike that balance.

This is apropos of nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Both Syracuse and TNIAAM are truly unique and special (Mark Coyle voice). I look forward to sharing the basketball season with you all.

Genuinely,

James Szuba, the guy who writes for Nunes