I'm going to get a little personal here for a few minutes, so if you don't want to hear it, I understand. You can just stop reading now. Otherwise, click on.
For those of you who read this site on a daily/hourly/minutely basis, I think part of what makes it fun is that this is a community in every sense of the word. We enjoy each other's company, and even though very few of us have ever met face to face, we sort of feel like we know each other. Today's one of those days where I feel like I need to sort of give you a little window into my world so that you can have some context for what's going to follow.
I put a lot of time into this site. Probably too much time, if I was totally honest. There's some compensation involved, but not nearly enough to justify the amount of time I spend doing it. I do this because I love this community.
But sometimes, I wonder if it's all worth it. I have a beautiful wife and two great kids. I teach high school English. I lead Young Life. CougCenter is on top of that. Writing takes a lot of time. Other things take less time. Planning coverage. Managing comments. Figuring out ways to grow the site. But it adds up. We authors have a shared vision of what we want this place to be, and it takes an investment to make it happen.
I often end up sacrificing time with one or more of those important things in my life to do CougCenter things, mostly because I really enjoy both the process of writing and the discussion that comes out of it. But, to be frank, I sometimes get a little burned out.
Different things can lead to it. But the biggest one, without a doubt, is trying to hang in there with crappy teams. We get notes on a semi-regular basis from fans of other teams who are amazed at what we do, given how horrible the team is. Most other sites don't even bother when their team is this bad. However, we keep plugging away, for all the aforementioned reasons.
But everyone has their breaking points. Some of you might remember my famous meltdown with the basketball team last year. I had similar emotions as I listened to Saturday night's disaster against Arizona State.
I've been trying to pinpoint just what it was that bothered me so much this weekend. I think it really comes down to this: We put so much effort into making this site awesome, and the team couldn't even be bothered to show up to a game against the eighth- or ninth-best team in the conference -- a team they should have been able to, at the very least, compete with.
I honestly considered the fact that they might go down there and lay an egg. But to me, laying an egg would have been something like 38-17, 31-10. Truly, 42-0 didn't even enter my thought process. Yet, there it was, staring me right in the face. And what was the team's answer?
"We were flat."
FLAT? HOW IN THE HELL DOES A TEAM THAT HASN'T WON A CONFERENCE GAME IN NEARLY TWO YEARS COME OUT FLAT????
"Flat" is for teams that have proven something. This team has made strides, but ultimately has proven nothing. And it came out flat?
I don't even want to hear that "they're so mentally exhausted" garbage. You know, there was an era not that long ago where all teams actually played 11 games in 11 weeks. It wasn't that long ago. And while the bye certainly provides an advantage, using at as an excuse for poor play is silly. These guys play one game a week. To be "mentally exhausted" playing football is a joke.
When the guy on this end of the computer has a full-time job, a wife, two kids, volunteer responsibilities and still finds time to write seven to 10 posts a week, frankly, he's the wrong guy to talk to about being "mentally exhausted." And after spending the week stupidly allowing myself to entertain thoughts of an actual victory -- so much so that I spent a few hours putting together a post on how the Cougs could tactically slow down ASU's offense -- i just felt let down, disappointed, and even a little betrayed.
I know I said they owed it to themselves to win a game. And I still believe that. But they owed it to us to at least show up in Tempe. And they couldn't even do that.
So, I'm not going to bother to show up, either. I'm sick of writing about losing football. I'm sick of trying to measure progress one baby step at a time. I'm sick of trying to think up unique and interesting angles relating to a team getting its collective face kicked in on a weekly basis. I was willing to do it, up to a certain point. We passed that point on Saturday.
I'm not giving up on these guys. I still believe Paul Wulff is the right man for the job, and I still believe they can win a game this year. I'm still going to follow things, and if they win a game and give me something meaningful to write about, I'll be more than happy to jump back into the fray. But until that happens, I'm just not going to write about football.
It's not like this is some sort of protest or something. Protests are staged with some sort of goal in mind. There's no goal here. Having spent a fair amount of time around players, I feel pretty confident saying they could give a crap about me or you and anything we do here. Unless we're criticizing them. They -- and their families -- don't like that very much. But other than that, we really don't matter. And they're really not going to care that I'm not writing about them. They're focused on their thing, as they should be. Goodness knows they should be after Saturday.
No, this is pretty much all about me, and a need to recharge my batteries a little bit before basketball gets into full swing. I love hoops -- much more than I love football. And writing about football has become such a laborious enterprise, I'm just worn out. I want to be ready to launch full on into basketball, and that's only a couple of weeks away. Ultimately, I need to spend less time with a crappy football team and more time with my wife and kids.
I'm sure Craig, Brian and Grady will bring you their usual quality football content this week. And I'll have some basketball stuff. So I don't know that you'll notice much of a change. But I needed to vent a little, and I wanted there to be an explanation if anyone did notice that I was writing a lot less. Hopefully now you understand a little.
Thanks for taking the time to read.