Cheesy fashions? Check. Cheesy haircuts, including the best mullet of all-time? Check. Cheesy cameos? Check. Cheesy music delivered without a hint of self-satisfied irony? Check. What better way to celebrate a blog birthday?
Defiantly Dutch celebrated its second anniversary Wednesday, and the only reason I’m posting this now instead of 36 or 40 hours ago is every time I tried to make light of all that’s gone wrong at Hofstra under my watch, it came off as pessimistic and negative.
Don’t get me wrong: I can do pessimistic and negative with the best of ‘em! But these were two sentiments I didn’t want to evoke in what I intended to be a celebratory and appreciative piece.
I’ve gotta admit, though: So much has gone haywire over the last 730 days—and the last 266 days in particular—that I wonder if, at some point two years ago yesterday, I made the fates angry and unleashed a horrendous hex on Hofstra sports by looking into a mirror and uttering a particularly bad word five times. You know, like “Beetlejuice.” Or “Candyman.” Or “Larranaga.”
Except through it all, this has been an incredibly gratifying experience—one that has been anything BUT negative, despite some of the sour happenings that have taken place.
Starting and maintaining Defiantly Dutch is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done (admittedly, the list of smart things I’ve done is pretty short). As I’ve noted before, it reignited a passion that was nearly extinguished by the conditions at my previous gig.
Building a site, developing and earning an audience from scratch and cultivating it via word of mouth is incredibly satisfying. This part of the blogosphere—where we are not part of a “network” that is “operated” by a Giant Media Behemoth—is a meritocracy, where credibility and respect is not immediately bestowed but instead must be earned. I do not take that responsibility lightly.
There is a refreshing kinship and purity to this, as well. Whether you root for Hofstra, another CAA school or the CAA and mid-major basketball in general, we share the same passion and the same refusal to believe that Our Game, to borrow a term from Kyle Whelliston, is somehow lesser because it is played in smaller arenas and on regional TV and in front of a press corps numbering in the single digits. We know it’s greater, and are equal parts disappointed and thrilled that Everyone Else doesn’t get it.
It has been awesome to become a part of that community and all its tentacles. It’s been great meeting—sometimes in person, sometimes in virtual fashion—Hofstra fans who are even more passionate and even more long-suffering than me.
I’d never even heard of Twitter 730 days ago. Now I’ve got more than 170 followers, none of whom are related to me and only a few of whom are spammers!
I never imagined I’d with over so many platforms with so many virtual friends from around the CAA (yup, even Fairfax!) and the country (who knew I’d know what IUPUI stands for and would shake my wagging stick at the school’s biggest fan?) I never imagined I would have a bunch of Mason fans calling me all sorts of terrible names—no, you know what, I kind of figured that would eventually happen.
It has been particularly wonderful to become friends with Mike Litos and to be part of the CAA Stonecutters, a super-secret group that has all the answers for the conference’s myriad issues but no time to implement them because we’re busy keeping the Martians under wraps. I can’t say this enough: It’s rare, in this cutthroat business, to meet someone whose work you admire and find out that he was worth admiring the whole time. That’s Litos. Even if he does hate Hofstra!
Anyway, thank you—all of you—for making this so fun and rewarding.
As for what awaits in year three: If the first year here was about finding my way and my voice, the second year was about fine-tuning the mix between unabashed homerdom and relatively straight reportage. Now that I feel like I’ve got a clue and an actual vision—oh boy, if you think Lionel and Co. are having fun in the video above, you ain’t seen nothing yet.