Yesterday, Spencer Hall announced he was hanging up his blogging spurs.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve reached the end of EDSBS. It’s a change, and to say you can’t change is a lie in multiple directions. One lie assumes that you won’t have incentive to change, that you can’t. That might be true. It also assumes what is definitely a bigger lie: That life will give anyone a choice in the matter.
This has been a gift, all of it. It will stay that way, right here, preserved in internet amber. It will appear locked, but there will probably be places you can crowbar open if you want to trespass around a bit.
I will be somewhere else. (Not leaving the company! But not here at EDSBS, which is now closed.) I would say come visit us, but that’s not accurate. Come visit me, because “us” stopped the minute I started this site and set my feed on a very long road of becoming an “I”. Whether I wanted it to happen or not, “I” eventually showed up to the party. So come visit me. I won’t be far.
Hall is a massively gifted writer, and while I can’t say he served as the inspiration for me opening this joint (folks like Kyle King and Paul Westerdawg get the blame for that, I’m afraid), the number of people on Twitter who told stories of Hall and Every Day Should Be Saturday — what a great name for a college football blog! — serving in that role was genuinely impressive. That being said, he certainly shaped the field on which I’ve played for a while now.
As good as his authorship has been, in my mind Hall’s greatest contribution is his part in bringing general credibility to college football bloggery. “New media” may sound old hat now, but back when I started GTP in 2006, the impression this little world garnered was a lot of snide nose-raising from people who muttered things about pajama-wearing denizens of their parent’s basement, capped by Stewart Mandel’s infamous dismissal of bloggers needing to shave and shower (which generated this hearty FU from Hall in response).
That particular shoe has long been placed on the other foot, as traditional media spots like Cox Media have embraced fan sites like Dawgnation and many newspapers have seen fit to let their reporters use blogs as a means of supplementing the way they reach out to their readership. College sports themselves have accommodated new media in ways we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. I seriously doubt we’d have seen that develop as it has without Hall’s efforts. He’s been influential in that regard, to say the least.
Still, I can’t help but feel a little wistful about his announcement. There was something special about that early era of blogging when I took the plunge. Back then, the medium was dominated by independent bloggers of whom there were sufficient numbers for mgoblog’s Brian Cook to organize a credible college football poll comprised solely of voting bloggers.
Speaking of Cook, here’s something he tweeted in the wake of Hall’s post.
There aren’t that many of us independents left these days. Hall himself led that trend, as he helped build SB Nation into the blogging force it is now. Odds are if you blog about college football today, you’re doing it within the confines of a national network, and if you’re not in such a place and you’re opining about the sport, you’re likely doing it on Twitter or a podcast.
It’s a different world now from what feels like a digital Jurassic Era, that’s for sure. But we wouldn’t have access to the wealth of information about our shared passion and the often talented and engaging way in which that wealth is shared without the foundation laid in that earlier time.
All of which is to say I’m enormously grateful for all of Spencer’s contributions to the sport and the way we communicate about it. If they ever come up with a College Football Blogging Hall of Fame, he’ll be a surefire unanimous first ballot winner.