One whole year.
That’s how long I’ve been writing for this website now.
My first column was posted on September 13th, 2011. A simpler time, really. I was young, and naïve, untainted by the mercurial rants of the comment section, dumb enough to believe that the Royals where the TEAM TO BEAT! in 2012.
That’s right: my first piece, penned under oblivious pretense, boldly proclaimed “Next Year’s Kansas City Royals Could Be the Real Deal.” I didn’t write the headline. I do now, because I think headlines are funny and I enjoy writing them.
In hindsight, this was a terribly optimistic piece, made all the more embarrassing by the fact that I KNOW the Royals. I’ve lived in Kansas City most of my adult life—mine wasn’t a woeful mistake perpetrated by an outsider with blind optimism. I KNOW how perennially awful the team is, but because I love them SO much, I drink the Kool-Aid each year.
My next piece wasn’t my piece at all—it was Hearne’s comically aggressive introduction of me as the NEW SPORTSWRITER!!
Our esteemed leader’s lofty, Barnum-esque announcement said in part:
“You asked for it…
You wanted an even humbler sports scribe. Someone to walk the walk and talk the talk, hotties be damned. A writer with whom English is not a second language – sex with strangers an avocation. A sportswriter cut from the actual cloth (not Fredericks of Hollywood). With ears not mired in the hopelessness of Don Fortune and the inability to look past hip-hop into the full metal straightjacket that is Kansas City.
To borrow a trite expression from fallen Star Jason Whitlock – you wanted “the real deal.”
Here it is…”
And the commenters—some long gone, some still spewing internet diarrhea, some likely lurking in the shadows—all having been burned by countless unfulfilled promises of a permanent new sports guy—put their passion on display.
Harley—in his typical ellipses fueled psychobabble—said the following: “Brandon…get ready for your nightmare…the readers of this site are brutal. We rip the hell out of writers who know nothing about what they are to be writing about. Smartman will crucify you…chuck will disgust you…orphan will make you cry….glaze will make you laugh…and I will go point by point thru your writing with a fine tooth comb to make sure you’re not another fake. don’t be fancy…just get to the point. We don’t like a lot of flowery language. If a coach needs to be fired…say it. If a player isn’t playing …say it.WE don’t take kindly to newcomers here but give i t your best shot. It can’t be any worse the drivel we get from hearne and glaze on a regular basis.”
Only, you know, he did that thing that he does where he accidentally hits “enter” after every five or six words, thereby turning his mush into some bizarre, virtually illegible alien-poem. (He’s like e.e. cummings on Adderall.)
Chuck was nice, as Chuck is wont to be.
“Cliffy,” who hasn’t been around in a while, said that he liked my stuff so far, but my bio (which I wrote, by the way) was “contrived.”
“That Guy” welcomed me aboard and added the hope that I could “start to keep track of ALL the sports world wide…” and suggested that perhaps I start with “rugby going on in New Zealand, Tennis in New York, NASCAR in Chicago.”
Sorry, That Guy, I did none of those things.
What I DID do was title my next piece, “Because You Have No Life, Here’s What You Should be Watching This Weekend.” I thought this headline was—meh—mildly humorous. “That Guy” did not. He responded with,
“I suppose the moral of the story (based on only getting 6 comments, and 3 of those are me) is maybe dont be so condescending when you write your stories.. There really was no need to tell people they have no life, or make fun of NASCAR like that…”
I would like to take this moment to publically apologize to “That Guy” and all other NASCAR fans who I have offended with my lack of NASCAR coverage… okay, no, no I wouldn’t. Not at all, really. I think NASCAR is terrible and I likely will until the day I die (which, if I keep this up, will probably be after getting bludgeoned to death with a tire-iron by “That Dude” in a Hy-Vee parking lot).
I didn’t have the TIME to cover NASCAR, see, or a lot of other things (chief amongst my regrets: an almost total lack of cricket coverage). I was busy writing about the decimation of the Big XII (remember that?!), the search for a new Chiefs’ head coach (ha!), an endless litany of KC sports disappointments (turns out, the music guy gets to cover the only decent team in the city) and that poetically beautiful period where Kyle Orton was quarterback.
I wrote a million Twitter pieces that, according to recent feedback, people secretly enjoy, apparently. (I say “secretly” because people don’t comment on them all that often; because of this, I’m left to assume that most people find them “simply okay.”)
At some point—deep within the bowels of the post-Super Bowl hangover and before March Madness, a vast abyss grotesquely void of athletics—I decided to write about TV. I reviewed a terrible show on ABC about a river that eats people or something, and I wrote about The Walking Dead and Justified and Hell on Wheels. I asked that The Simpsons, The Office and Modern Family ride gracefully (or in the case of The Office “awkwardly”) into the sunset and professed my love for FX’s Louie.
Additionally, I took time out of my oh-so-busy television and sports watching schedule to eat, urging potential patrons that you’re better off buying sausages directly from The Local Pig than paying a premium to eat them at Haus, and that, despite a horrific lack of air-conditioning, Magnolia’s is totally worth checking out.
I also mourned the loss of Ween, wrote an informative piece about joining a street gang, reviewed malt liquor, bitched about Google Fiber (while simultaneously gushing about it), made up a Chiefs’ drinking game, talked about the religion behind chicken sandwiches, shopped for crap on Craigslist, wrote about my drunken eBay purchases, provided thoughtful Mother’s Day gift ideas and implored the world to stop ubiquitously celebrating Father’s Day.
Oh, and then there was that whole Dick Clark thing.
Simply put, it’s been quite a year.
So I just wanted to say thanks to Hearne, the guy who made all of this possible. When he wasn’t busy chasing murder-leads in the seedy underbelly of local TV meteorological circles, or spending more band-with on failed jazz clubs than anyone thought humanly possible, he was hiring writers like me,
Reid Jolley, Mermaid, David Locke and countless other unforgettable future Pulitzer winners.
I’d also like to say thanks to Craig Glazer for providing incorrigible fodder, Jack for being stoic and efficient (I’ve been told he’s German, so this makes complete sense), David Whinery for being so enamored with Mitt Romney that it makes me want to vomit, Kelly Urich for deflecting some of the heat from my lame jokes and Matt for being the only other seemingly normal writer on the site (until he pens next week’s three part series: “THE ONE TIME I SLEPT WITH A PROSPECT AVENUE CRACK-WHORE… OR DID I???”)
Most of all, I’d like to thank YOU, the reader. Were it not for you and all of your undying support, I would never be where I am today: a mostly unknown local blogger for a second-tier website.