Thursday, October 9, 2014

less is more

There's gonna be some changes around here.

Some lengthy background: For, oh, I'd say about a year and half now, I've been kicking around the idea of retirement.  That accelerated starting early this spring, and about a month ago I made the big decision that This Is It.  Here's how that was gonna go: I would keep on plugging away until around February, and then announce the big goodbye to take effect in the summer; spring sports coverage would've been intermixed with retrospectives like my top ten favorite posts and so on.  I don't like the idea of just abruptly stopping, you see.

The reasons for this might well be obvious to anyone who's been a long-time reader.  I've let all kinds of stuff that I intended to do just fall by the wayside.  I've skipped quite a few days that should've been posting days.  Far too often I've caught myself saying, "oh jeez, I still have to write something today."  And then sometimes I'd be like "screw it, I'll just do it tomorrow."  When it becomes "have to" instead of "really, really want to," that's a sign.  And the fact is, real life is simply catching up, and catching up hard.  From 2008 to 2010 I had a job with insanely nice hours and a 10-minute commute.  From 2010 to 2013 I was either doing nothing at all or going to school.  Now I have a job, more to do outside the job (mostly involving sailing, which is fair to call my passion) and at the same time, less inspiration for ideas, which was always the toughest part of this gig anyway.  Writing has been filling up much too much of my leftover free time.

Naturally, it sort of bummed me out, once I'd made that decision.  I've always been kind of bad at quitting stuff, but, every athlete that's ever retired probably didn't want to stop playing, they just wanted to not play more than they wanted to play, and of course I was going to be conflicted about something like that.  That's how I was thinking about it, and I figured, well, what I will do is, after some period of time, look for a place, not just any place but the right kind of place, where I could write part-time, once a week or so.  And leave this site open as a portal to the game highlights I used to make, which is one of those things that fell completely off the wagon and I wish hadn't.

So that takes you from about 18 months ago to about one month ago.  Further into present day, more like, oh, two hours ago, I had an epiphany: dude, if you only want to write once a week, just write once a week.  It's not like you have to find someone to let you do that.

So that's what I'll do.  Starting at the end of football season (no abrupt stops, remember.  Until the VT game is over, things will go as they have been, as I prefer not to just jump into anything midstream) I'm switching the format of this blog to once a week, on Mondays.  It'll probably be a pretty long post.  I plan on using the whole week to write it, not just sitting down on Mondays and banging it out.  Just type in stuff as it comes to me.  See something I like, spend 15 minutes on it, move on.  See a game, throw a thought onto e-paper, move on.  And then publish the results on Mondays.  It'll probably be less coolly analytical and more about the tao of Virginia, but hell if I know, really.

It means the end, of course, of some regular features.  I doubt I'll do full regular game previews (I might do really big ones like NCAA tournament games....or I might not.)  Probably no more recruit profiles (except that I'll finish up this season's.)  I may actually be able to bring the recruiting board back (another thing that I would've liked to not have dropped.)  I don't think I'll do Senior Seasons anymore.  I really like doing lacrosse bracketology and will probably continue.  I hope this lets me find the time to gin up more highlights, because I'm sitting on a huge passel of games.  And I'll definitely still be doing Cavalier of the Year.

Along these lines, the mic is open for suggestions, specifically about what you'd really miss if I stopped doing it.  Whether I used to do it and stopped, or still do; anything from the game preview graphics to the previews themselves to other team season previews, whatever.  I'll try and work it in if feasible, meaning, if it doesn't turn me back into a semi-daily and if it doesn't turn the actual weekly post into a compilation of repetitive stuff.

I have to admit, I'm rather looking forward to the change - it'll give me more of my life back and let me continue being opinionated on the Internet, minus the annoyance and tiny guilt twinge of having skipped yet another day where someone might've been looking for something they didn't get.  I can put my own hobby back on my own schedule, and hopefully improve the product as well.

P.S. the promised midseason review goes tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I am not going to lie, I really enjoy your writing and this Monday thing sucks. However, you asked for opinions so here is one readers.... I really liked the recruiting board and the prospect analysis. I could do without the senior seasons and the lacrosse (although I know you love it). All in all I think you give a really unique perspective to the Hoos and I am going to miss the amount of content on the blog.

Kevin (JMUHoo08) on the Sabre, Cavs Corner, etc. said...

I have been a consistent reader since 2009 ish and I have really enjoyed the blog, especially during football season. I understand the need to move to once a week. There are so many hobbies that I don't have time for since I started working full time a few years ago.

I will miss the "tradition" of football game weeks the most. I enjoy reading the preview on Thursdays (including the predictions) as well as the reviews on Sunday/Monday. In 2008/09, there weren't nearly as many sites covering the hoos as there are today but I've always read yours because of your unique writing style and perspective on what's been happening. I will still check the site from time to time.

Best of luck in this next phase!

Brandon (not Brendan) said...

Sorry to hear you're slowing down, but certainly can't blame you. I guess the things I'd miss most would be those that I don't get elsewhere (yay obvious)... Your game previews, for example, are great, but I can read about 20 of them all over the internet if I want to; yours might be better, but in the end it's a lot of the same info... so that's not something I'm going to miss nearly as much as something like the recruit profiles. I imagine I could find that info out there as well, but digging into the obsessive recruiting sites tends to make me want to cry, so it's nice to get just the relevant uva info without having to dig through the high school stalking and bitchfests of the people who care way too much about that shit. Other stuff... certainly anything about the "other" sports, since unfortunately most of that would just pass me by without notice. There's a reason for that, so obviously I'm not saying I want to read 10000 words on the state of field hockey, but it's nice to know in general how things are going. Otherwise, really just write about what you want to, presumably those are going to be the topics you're best informed and have the most interesting opinions regarding.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your writing and your take on the Hoos. If once a week works for you that's cool. Keep up the good work.

ragekage said...

Damn, son, this was one of my regular morning blogs to check on. Get a cup of coffee, peruse the news. But I completely understand real life taking over, you're not beholden to us just because we like to hear your rants. Good luck in your future endeavors, sir!

Dan said...

Wow I'm blown right now. This is easily the best uva sports coverage blog out there. I don't know another blog that goes that indepth about other teams.

Random thoughts
1. The preseason previews for other teams can go. I think if you kept it to our rivals VT and UNC for fball or just the Coastal. Bball Duke, UNC, VT, and maybe teams we play twice?
2. The recruiting profiles are nice however what do we really know at that point in time? I'd prefer something like "2nd,3rd,4th year class reviews for fball". Your tidbits like "If Smoke doesnt improve his vision he likely won't reach the 5 star HS status" is insight you won't get reading the DP or WaPo. Or maybe a bigger picture roster management posts like who will be invited back for year 5 or with X number of scholarships available this year we'll target X OL, Y DB, etc.
3. I'm really going to miss the weekly game previews for fball. They are exceptional.
4. Your posts on realignment, ACC scheduling, and bigger NCAA issues garnered the most comments. Really hope you're able
keep that up.
5. I personally enjoy the "too early preview:offense/defense" but thats just me. The prediction posts are always fun to look back on.

Best of luck on your next phase in life. It's been a great ride

Anonymous said...

I'm a relative newcomer to the blog and live in a place where UVa does not get much ink (Boston). So the UVa news is like Bud to a man in the desert. The FB previews and post game articles are of great interest to me. I think you could back off the individual "predictions". Same for basketball. Basketball is even harder for someone out of the area to follow. And, of course, yours is about the only baseball coverage I can get. The senior season has never interested me, nor do I much care about (please forgive me for this heresy) women's sports. The recruiting info is good but could be cut back if you are looking for a place to ease up. And, honestly, a once a week format would be just fine. After all SI only comes out once a week. Bottom line: I'll take whatever you can give. And thanks.

Anonymous said...

First off I've this blog for so long and so often that I no long think of it as From Old Virginia, I just think of it as Frummuld.

It is the best. Other UVA blogs are...I mean it's harsh, but jeez, worthless by comparison, and all the back-slapping going on in these comments today is well-earned. So it is sad to hear about the cut-back, but it's not surprising and not well-earned. As always, good luck with this stretch of your life and with your other endeavors.

As to favorite content, anything that is ranty is fun, but most anything that analyses something as opposed to simply reporting is my favorite. Lots of stuff I would never have picked up on but want to hear about (Smoke's shortcomings are indeed a good example).

Season previews of opponents, these are not my favorite as they're simply not about my teams, but I always read them and am better informed against my will.

What I never understood is how you could spend all you valuable rant and analysis time on digging through high school reports for Senior Seasons (my guess is more that you dig it, rather than a sense of obligation). I would have thought some enterprising Cav Daily kid would offer to do the legwork, but apparently not.

Great work on other sports, anything with UVA on the front of the jersey gets cheered by me, and our legion of successful programs deserve any recognition they can get. Same for Cavalier of the Year.

Glad you're not fully going away, feels like we dodged a bullet there. I appreciate all the hard work and I look forward to reading you on Mondays.


Anonymous said...

I'm just glad you're not hanging it up altogether because this is the only UVa blog I read. You offer terrific analysis that's the antidote to the hack-tacular beat writers that cover UVa sports otherwise (and I used to be one of those hacks back in the day, so I know the profile). You're basically the only thing I read during baseball season and the only game previews worth anything during basketball.

Once a week sounds like a much more sustainable pace, so good luck and thanks!

Jaehl said...

Hey Brendan,

Thanks for the fantastic writing and interesting takes throughout the years. Like all the other commentators I value your opinion more highly than other blogs about UVa.

I my simple suggestion to you would be to do whatever you enjoy the most. Sure you'll lose some readers but I get the sense that most will stick around for whatever you out it there.

That said, if you do decide to cater to us UVa fanatics here what I've most enjoyed:
1) Big picture stuff, both real and hypothetical, and their impact on UVa (eg. Rule changes, division and conference realignment, bowls,etc)
2) Programmatic, specific to a sport or to the entire athletics department, topics (eg. Coaching, recruiting, roster management, etc), but not necessarily individual recruits unless it's big /unique like the whole Slav recruiting story
3) Season and rivalry previews for the big 5 sports - football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer
4) season Review and early look for the big 5 sports
5) Other - a list of 4 is just weird so...

Good luck with real life, but I hope one day you figure it a way to make this your real job.

Ps. Any chance you and University Ball can combine or get other writers/bloggers you respect to help out?

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for running such a great blog, easily the best UVA blog on the internet and it's not even close. I've definitely enjoy your long form big picture stuff the most, mostly because it's smartly written but also that there is less of it elsewhere. Perfect example is today's midseason football review. I also enjoy your weekend reviews and basketball analysis. While the conference previews, game previews, and recruit profiles are really nice, if you want to cut back those would probably be the easiest for you to drop in terms of workload. Thanks for your work!

Nairobi Gilmers said...

I have been a regular reader for years. I love your site, although I also know how time-consuming it is. My favorite posts, as others have mentioned, are the things I can't get elsewhere:

- analysis of our teams strengths and weaknesses.
- recruiting profiles
- baseball incoming class profiles.

I don't appreciate these as much:

- lax bracketology.
- game previews or rival season previews.
- senior season

Thanks for all your work!

Erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for the years of quality uva sports analysis and info, Brendan. I love it all and will take what I can get.

Anonymous said...

Have been consistently reading for a couple years now, and thank you for all the time and effort you've put in.

I enjoy your humor, the recruiting board, the post-game breakdowns, and any post that goes in depth about the personnel, statistics and big news about the football and basketball programs. The other sports are great too, but I'll be honest in that I just don't pay that much attention to them.

Recruiting info is always at a premium. I refuse to pay for information about where a high school kid might go to college. I am only interested in whether UVa is finding success with recruits so that a picture of what future teams will look like becomes clearer.

Thanks again, and good luck in pursuing your other endeavors.

David said...

I’m with the “write what you feel like writing” crowd. I think when you’re passionate about a post it comes through and makes for your best material. For instance, I’ve never watched a lacrosse game in my life and never plan to, but I always read and enjoy your lacrosse coverage. You’re obviously into it and that makes for great posts. (And your interest in uniform combinations is strange, but makes for interesting reading.)

Similarly, I’d steer clear of “regular features.” That just screams “obligation,” which is what will burn you out. Nothing should be obligatory. You feel like covering something, cover it. Otherwise, you don’t owe anyone a damn thing.

My personal preferences: I don’t read Senior Seasons. I don’t read the pre-season previews of all the ACC teams. (One paragraph on each team would do me fine.) (I bet both of those features are a shitload of work, too.) I haven’t missed the recruiting board. (The occasional summary rant on the lousy state of recruiting would be nice, though.)

My favorite posts are the ones on general “Outside the Lines” type topics: conference and division realignment, playoffs, rule changes, players unionizing, your invented statistical metrics (I love those), etc. I also love your baseball coverage because we have an awesome team and no one else comes close to covering them half as well as you do. COTY is always fun.

Your pre-game and post-game assessments are fantastic, especially in basketball, but the best parts of those are your personal takes on things, e.g. the state of the quarterback controversy or Justin Anderson’s three-point accuracy. In a once-a-week format, you’re not going to be doing unit-by-unit breakdowns, but I hope you’ll still give us a paragraph or two to ramble on about what you’re thinking about things in general.

In a nutshell: Retire from play-by-play duties, but keep being the color commentator?

PS. You’ve been my number one source for UVA sports for the last several years. Better than any of the general sports sites like ESPN, the local papers, the other UVA blogs. If you never write another word, thank you for that. I’m very grateful.