SEATTLE -- The papers are in order: passport, car insurance, medical. The Canadian government's extradition order for Bally has been overturned, following several rounds of tense inter-embassy negotiations. I think we're ready for a border crossing.
We will be at the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver for the next two weeks, primarily thanks to TF, a reader who noticed my despondence last week during the Dark Times. He performed the generous gesture of underwriting a trip that was originally scheduled at the beginning of the season, but was cancelled when fundraising crashed to a halt in November. I put up my Olympic kitty in a matching-funds challenge to save the Season 6 travel budget, and you came through
, which is the reason we're here now having this conversation. Now, the readership has come through again, and I'm ever so grateful. It's times like this that I wish I were a woman -- just for a minute -- so that my effusive emotions would be more socially acceptable.
I love college basketball, enough to repeatedly risk my health and livelihood for it. But my true heart lies with the Olympic Games. Back during Nagano 1998, I had a historical results website called Winter Games Net, which by Salt Lake 2002 was superceded by sites with superior resources -- that is, sites bigger than ones run some guy in his apartment. Some of that code survived in TMM v1.0 three years later (which was, ironically, a scores-and-schedules Robot).
This will be my fifth Games, and I hope to add some perspective and on-the-ground experience that you wouldn't readily find elsewhere. As for where to find that, I'll be spending the next 16 Days of Glory over at Swifter Higher
, and tweeting at @swifterhigher
. Some of you might have followed along two years ago when I slept during the days and blogged the Beijing 2008 games from my couch for 16 nights. (I didn't have my papers in order then, at least not well enough for the Chinese government.) But if you stay here, and I hope you do, you will be taken care of and never hard done by.
Your host next week will be a good friend, a Hoops Nation capital resident and a fellow member of the basketball blogging Class of 2004. Back when the college hoops blogosphere was six or seven sites, John Gasaway was the Big Ten Wonk
, building an empire on 1800's political references, pithy bursts of gospel truth, and vorpal-blade excoriations of conventional basketball wisdom. Now he's a gigantic celebrity at Basketball Prospectus
, leading the crusade against #unicornstat
But for one glorious week, The Wonk Is Back. And this time, he's on our side of the Red Line.
And as promised, the site will be turned over to you. Some have already crafted and submitted glorious essays about why your school is great, and we have room for a few more if you get them in over the weekend (as always, use The Form™
). You'll also get to finally meet a gentleman who's the protagonist in my favorite real-life tale of The Mid-Majority's effect: he turned in his career to pursue life as a sports information director.
Your day-to-day information needs will be taken care of by The Robot
, whom we'll get around to properly humanizing when I get back. The Robot works seven days a week, still needs a fan club, and holds a special surprise to be unleashed next week. The Robot will be the first cyber-being to provide plain-English team scouting reports for mid-major college basketball teams.
Finally, I might not be present here, but I have an orange friend who'll be checking in from time to time. Bally is attending the Games too, along with his buddy Vuchko (the friendly wolf mascot of the 1984 Sarajevo Games
). They spend all summer together on the shelf, and this is their first trip as roommates. And you never know, if you tune in you might catch a Bally sighting at the luge venue.
Above all, thank you for your patience and support during this time of transition, reorientation and change. The goal of this site from the beginning was to impose a logical order on a subsection of the sports world that is often viewed as chaotic and disconnected. The process has been like that of any journey -- full of wrong turns, missteps and outright failure, but enough smooth and easy roads to make the effort worthwhile.
I'll be back very soon to continue that journey with you. In the meantime, take care of each other, be mid-major but don't settle for mediocrity, and watch as much Pixelvision as you can. March is coming, know all you can.