January 24, 2009 6:25 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
OMAHA -- Every so often, I'll get a long note from one of you detailing exactly when you found The Mid-Majority, the post you first discovered, and occasionally you'll remind me of something that I completely forgot I wrote. I'm always taken aback, floored and flattened by these letters, mostly because I'm too busy working on the next giant long post to remember what I've just posted. I'm just trying to present this complicated 225-team world in a comprehensive yet digestible fashion, and I never feel like I've done enough.
My strategy, and this has developed over the years, is to write long -- thick paragraphs tend to scare away the people who shouldn't be here in the first place, and invite true friends to stay for a while. Over the past week, I've had to accept that this also invites selective readings and partial quoting from drive-by readers, and I've developed an enormous multiple-personality problem I never knew I had.
Some actually believed I had no clue about the risks of posting this essay, or that I was surprised or angry or ashamed at the final outcome. (Huh? What? Really?) It's been more frustrating than I thought it would be, dealing with these message boards and blogs and various Web 2.5 ephemera, but I am inspired by these great words from a great dad: when you're fighting an enemy with no attention span, wait five minutes.
You couldn't have pieced this scenario together the wrong way. You know what this is about, you have since you first arrived. You also understand the homebound alternate reality that would have unspooled had I not written that Bubble thing, I don't have to spell that out for you again. Above all, you understand this site's goals: respect for our subjects, recognition of the uphill struggle that comes with no start-line advantage, new adventures in truck-stop philosophy, and enough stupid jokes to keep things from getting too drippy. We have an understanding, you and I, or you'd be among the trillions doing something else.
You're one of us. And I always knew I could count on you when the chips were down. That's why I knew the risk I took last week was 100 percent worth it... and you came through! I am so overjoyed and proud, and okay, just a touch smack-talky. Find me a non-charity website that's been able to quickly raise an operating budget just by asking nicely.
It took less than a week to raise just over $4,000 to keep this operation on the road. A total of 147 of you donated, despite an economy in which non-essential things are increasingly non-essential. Some gave a lot, and some gave a little, but everyone gave what they could. I'll take that kind of loyalty over 10 billion "hits," because I'd rather talk directly to the right people than a vast and random public.
It's vindication, it's a stuff-you to the critics, and it's proof that a website can sustain itself through simple generosity. We're still vastly, vastly outnumbered, but this victory is a justification of the principles discussed last week. The Mid-Majority makes perfect logical sense as an independent entity, and it will once again continue until the very last mid-major has been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
Each of you who donated will receive a small token of appreciation sometime in the next few days, which you all must cherish and keep close to your hearts, and by that I mean don't put it in your trash folder. And you have voting privileges now -- once the BracketBusters matchups are announced, you'll receive your ballot with which to pick the one I'll go to. And starting next week, we'll talk a lot about preparations for the third annual NCAA Mock Selection, which I'll be attending in Indianapolis on Feb. 12 along with 19 other writers. I'll make sure you see everything that I see.
But now I want to hear from you again, those of you whom this site belongs to. With a little more time on my hands, I can work to make The Mid-Majority better than ever. I want to hear your ideas, your suggestions, even your well-reasoned complaints -- the more words the better. And if you haven't done so already, let me know how you came to find TMM. I love those stories.
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