This is the 9th in a series of 10 early-season essays.
"A dream is a wish your heart makes," it's said, "when you're fast asleep." That's nice and everything, but why does Disney have the market cornered on all that dewy fantasyland crap?
This date - 12-12-2005 - marks a key development in the history of The Mid-Majority, thanks to a key Mickey Mouse subsidiary formerly known as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. It's up to individual readers whether it's a Cinderella day or an evil cackling witch day.
Longtime readers of this site, the ones who followed along during its inaugural 2004-05 season, remember the semi-daily update on the mid-major world called "Daily Dribblings." Some have been wondering where the heck it went. Well, it's resurfaced as "The Mid Life,"
over there on ESPN.com, the official website of the Worldwide Leader In Sports.
The only difference is that now, ummm... it's not free anymore. You're going to have to pay $6.95 a month to read it.
Look, I'm really sorry. If I could, I would share my Insider password with you, but I know how closely they monitor those things. I'd also offer all sorts of cyberpunky tips for breaching the digital wall that separates subscribers and riff-raff, but I'd be jettisoned and divested of my pants via legal means. I'm not stupid.
Yes, I realize that there's a significant amount of irony inherent in my willing participation in the Evil Empire's plot to take over the sports world. Yes, I realize that a good portion of the fanbase here was built on my diatribes against the ESPN culture, how it celebrates North Carolina
on a daily basis while North Carolina-Asheville
(hyphen and all) goes decades without a mention.
But it's like my sister said over the summer. "Kyle," she said. "I remember how you used to watch SportsCenter
for five hours a day when you were a kid. Now you're part
of ESPN. That's so wild."
At this time last year, I was a blogger constantly refreshing my stats to see if anybody was reading. Now I'm a "College Hoops Insider," blogging for Bristol. Wild indeed.
Now I know what you're thinking, but I certainly didn't do it for the money. Trust me, you still make a lot more than I do. This is Mid-Majorville, after all - down here, ain't nobody big pimpin', and nobody's sippin' on either sizzurp or Cristal
. (Note to ESPN, however: if this all works out, I'll be replacing T.O. on Drew Rosenhaus' client roster next summer.)
And in the interests of full disclosure: I can't deny that I wouldn't have come back to this world if the WWLIS wasn't stipending my travels. The Official Wife of The Mid-Majority™ and I live in the same depressed Bush Economy that you do. I still have to ask permission to borrow the car, just like last year, and I still sleep in that 65,000-mile Honda when I go out in search of the soul of college hoops. I still file stories in Holiday Inn parking lots, mooching off the free hotel wi-fi. None of that's changed.
I realize, however, that there are still plenty of people who aren't happy about my newly minted status as Just Another Sellout - some of you have already made your opinions known to me, and several of you have been overwhelmingly passionate in your comments. There are hundreds and hundreds of fans who closely followed the 100 Game Project
, who sent me daily encouragement, have a real emotional connection to this site and its concept - I understand if you feel that I've betrayed you somehow.
But The Mid-Majority is not going anywhere, and the site is thousands of times more informative than it ever was last season. It might take an extra day or three to see a game report, but I still wake up early every morning to choose a Baller of the Day
and Game! Of! The Night!
. Take a look around if you haven't had a chance to - thanks to the efforts of Ken Pomeroy
and I over the summer, blogdom now has access to more ad-free and zero-cost college basketball information than ever: dynamic boxscores, deep and rich statistics, a wider array of performance analysis tools. All updated minutes and hours after games are completed.
First and foremost, I take my role of bringing mid-major stories to a larger audience very seriously. There were other offers from other media outlets, but most required the exploration and exploitation of the silly, wacky side of college hoops. That would have been the real betrayal, the real sellout - that kind of approach does nothing for the players and coaches and sports information directors who populate our world. All that does is cement the misguided notion that everything outside the Top 25 is just one big joke.
As hard as it may be for some to believe (especially those who have just waded through a lengthy, self-referential blog post), it's very difficult for me to sprout an ego about any of this. I specialize in the macro view, I know exactly what I'm in for. The increased exposure will result in more pissed-off fans, an Anti-Whelliston Coalition, and less privacy. I mean, come on, there's now a picture for you to make fun of
- all the mystery's gone.
And I fully understand that my callup from blog-world to Real Actual Journalism is a part of a natural process - hard work and hustle always supplants and supercedes bored, flabby laurel-resters. Don't think that I'm not aware that I'm destined to eventually become one of the latter.
Which means that it's your turn now. If you haven't already, head on over to Blogger
and set up your own basketball site. Create your own magical dreamland, and don't forget to send me the link.