If you’ve been to a local girls soccer game, you may have seen me standing there on the sidelines, usually between the two benches. I’ve seen a couple of pictures of me. I always seem to look awkward and out of place, like a man who got lost on the way to the corner market.
It’s a credit to the people involved in the sport that no matter where I’ve gone, I’ve always been welcomed on the sidelines. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy covering girls soccer.
Similarly, those of you who read this blog have welcomed me into your home computers, smart phones and laptops for the past decade. You’ve read a lot about soccer. You’ve also put up with ramblings about my job, my cars, my Yankees, my nagging health problems, my love of Stewart’s milkshakes, my loathing for games that start early and my generally futile efforts to get from an afternoon game to a night game without incident.
Also, links to Twilight Zone episodes and classical music that were followed by few and, I’m sure, were seen as a somewhat eccentric feature for a sports blog. I will bother you with only one more of those.
The blog has been a lot of things to me — often useful, sometimes cathartic, occasionally a pain in the butt. As a sportswriter, it’s the kind of in-depth journalism we love to do. As a sports editor, it’s been increasingly hard to justify the amount of time I’m putting into a single sport with a limited audience.
As best as I can tell it’s read by a smattering of coaches, officials, parents and players. But its appeal is limited to those inside the sport and it’s failed to net more than a handful of long-lasting followers. If you say otherwise, the numbers betray you. Because of that, the blog will come to an end with this post.
There’s a reason you get the weather three times during every local TV newscast. It affects 100 percent of the audience. So they give you lots of weather. It’s why TV news succeeds.
I’m reaching only a thin slice of the pie with this blog, and it’s simply not a wise use of time. I need to find another way to spend my blogging time that will appeal to everyone else out there, perhaps through a more general sports editor’s blog.
We won’t stop covering girls soccer. You’ll still see me on the sidelines at soccer games from time to time. I’ll continue to add to the stash of soccer stat books that now take up an entire drawer of my desk. I’ll just be covering the sport in a way that doesn’t involve feeding thoughts into the computer night after night, often in the early hours of the morning.
It's been hard to let go of this blog. It's been a part of my life for so long. I'm sure that sometime next fall there will be a night when I’m about to pick up and go home and I'll get the feeling that I’ve abandoned some responsibility; a sense that I’ve given up on something that belonged to me. But just as the graduating seniors must move on to the next stage of life, it’s time for me to take the next step forward as a journalist.
I do not regret the effort. I’ve learned a lot through writing this blog — about soccer, as well as life. I’ve met lots of interesting people, watched players grow up and move out into the world, stood on the periphery of the glorious victories and the heartbreaking defeats.
I hope I was able to add something to the experiences of soccer followers over the years, if only in a small way.
To those of you who were dedicated followers of this blog, thank you for your loyalty. I hope you'll understand my reasons. I hope there will be no hard feelings about the blog’s demise. Let it end with us remembering the good times we shared. Let it drift away, like a player walking away the field for a final time. Let it fade into history, on a note of harmony.