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Eight is Enough

It’s been a good run, but now it’s time to walk.

Some time around 2013, ESPN closed their original comments sections in favor of some proprietary thing that would be much easier for them to moderate, in theory. Around that time, a whole bunch of folks who used to hang out in the Big Ten Blog comments section ended up over here. I wasn’t really well known over there, but I still followed that crowd over here, and soon after, I jumped onto the masthead because, well, who wants to write about Indiana football other than an Indiana fan?

Through the highs (way too few) and the lows (way too many), I brought you more information and/or opinions about Indiana football than probably any of us ever actually needed. And so, having reached the conclusion of my part of B1G 2021, there’s really only one thing left for me to say.

I’m ready to just be a fan again.

What does that mean, exactly? Simply, this is the last time I expect to be the solo author of an article here. I can’t walk away entirely, so you’ll probably still see me in SMCD, and maybe an occasional comment here or there, but as far as articles go, I’m just going to be an occasional contributor now.

The post of “Indiana ‘writer’” is officially open.

Why now? Honestly, this is something I’ve been considering for quite a while. I’m feeling fine physically, so don’t worry about anything like that; this is 100% something I’m choosing to do because I want to. There are only so many ways you can write “Once again, Indiana got close to doing something great, and once again, Indiana failed to actually do so” before you start to lose your mind from sheer frustration. Despite the respite of actually being pretty darn good at times in 2020, all those seasons of mediocrity added up. And now, I’ve reached the point where the majority of Indiana’s roster is “a bunch of guys whose names and faces I couldn’t tell from a random assortment”, and I don’t feel like that’s a good place to be writing about them from. On top of that (and forgive me, writing staff, for leaking carefully classified secrets here), most of the work into getting #content together for this site happens at times where, due to my work schedule, I am completely unavailable. Are either of those major problems? No, not really (we’re all fans here, and there’s still plenty enough talent on the masthead to put out as much content as we’ll need most days), but I would much rather give someone else a chance to contribute more on behalf of the Hoosiers.

As with all good conclusions, there’s a lot of people to thank.

First, to the ESPN Big Ten Blog refugees, without whom I probably wouldn’t have found this place. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into the fanshots, but if any of them are still hanging out there, let ‘em know that they’re great folks.

Second, to the handful of Indiana diehards who choose to come visit us here. 87RAS, Sir Sci, and the rest of my fellow Hoosiers, I hope I haven’t made any of you regret spending time here, and it’s been an honor and a pleasure to be the closest thing to “the voice of IU” that we have.

Third, the folks who’ve written for OTE in the last 8 years who’ve moved on, for one reason or another. Thanks for helping me learn how to find where I fit here, and thanks for building a fine platform to write on.

Fourth, everyone else in our comments section, regardless of team, regardless of how long you’ve been here. It’s been a heckuva lot of fun bantering with you about football, and I wish all of your teams the best of luck, except for when you’re playing Indiana. (Yes, even you, Purdue fans.)

Finally, our current crop of writers. You folks are the reason I’ve hung on here as long as I did, and why I’m still going to be lurking in the background for a while longer. If I don’t have any specific messages for you below, just know that I’m glad to have written with you.

Zuzu and Coray: Thanks for being the Rutgers voices we need. Whether or not we want to listen, thanks for speaking anyway.

babaoreally and BoilerBettor: A better group of rivals I’d be hard-pressed to find. If every Purdue fan was half as awesome as you guys, I’d probably like most of them better.

GreenAkers: Thanks for being our podcasting guru. I only wish I’d had time to appear on more of them, but I’ll content myself listening to you and Thump and your four-legged friends talking football and enjoying every minute of it.

BRT: The undisputed Queen of Power Polls, and someone I’m very happy to have learned from. I’m beginning to think that willing Nebraska to play better football may be the only thing you haven’t figured out how to do yet, and that’s probably coming soon.

The Northwestern Cabal (aka LPW and MNW): It’s a good thing we have the two of you in charge, as trying wrangle the herd of cats that the Slack occasionally becomes can’t be easy. From pretty much the first day I got here, I’ve had at least one of you guys pretty much always available to help with whatever you can however you can, and I’m grateful for every bit of it.

Last, but very certainly not least, Thumpasaurus: the myriad of ways you contribute to this site blows me away. The podcasts, the infographics, the Roundtable of Thump, all of them excellent, and I am in awe every single time. Beyond that, understanding how perilous rooting for a historically terrible team to do well is perhaps the greatest knowledge we share, and makes getting through the rough spots just a little easier. Thank you, many times over.

It’s been a good eight years writing for OTE. While it hasn’t been perfect by any means, nothing in life really is. How you make the best of it and keep moving is what’s important, and I have full confidence that things around here will keep chugging on just fine. Until I see you next, take care, my friends.

This is Candystripes for Breakfast (a name that sounded way cooler when I thought of it eight years ago), signing off.