TAS is 3 years old
It’s been long enough that I barely remember why I started the blog (I wanted to write about hockey and not have message board misogynists laugh at me or call my views on hockey “cute”), or how the readership went from just me to all of you (the Barilkosphere-that’s still a thing, right?-had a lot to do with it), or how it turned into a ‘life stuff’ blog as well (I write my feelings so I won’t eat my feelings) or what I’m still doing here (I ask myself this a lot these days).
The hockey internet is completely different place from when I first started posting recycled Mike Milbury jokes. There’s a lot more good shit out there, for starters. So much more knowledge, insight, and analysis, from so many more angles. We’re pretty spoiled for hockey talk, now, and sometimes you can get lost in it all. Our standards for hockey writing are exponentially higher than they were just a couple of years ago.
It’s enough to make me consider shutting The Active Stick down at least once a day. Ask the long-suffering Cam Charron, I whine to him about it all the time. If you measure success in terms of page views and other numbers, this blog is an abject failure. The really popular posts will get a couple thousand reads, but most of the posts barely break 150, 200, if I’m lucky. I’ve been on Twitter for three years and have yet to reach 2K followers, while most hockey bloggers managed that and double in a matter of months. Most of the time I feel like I’m posting or tweeting out into the ether, largely ignored. Cam always tells me to just keep writing, and to write more, and that numbers don’t matter (coming from a stats guy, that’s kind of hilariously awesome).
But you know me.
In any case, the wonderful Greg Wyshynski posted a link to this essay by golf writer Ryan Ballengee on on the Twitters recently. Wysh called it an “interesting Jerry McGuire moment for sports blogging.” For me it was a good lesson. From that post:
I want to tell stories. I want to talk about things that matter. I want to love my subject matter and convey that passion to the reader. I want to share the things no one else could learn with a refined Google search or a rudimentary Twitter session.
I guess if you look at it that way, I want that too. I want to write about things that matter, or things I care about, or things other people care about, and I want to write like I mean it. It is incredibly, incredibly hard for a girl like me to let go of the idea of success being measured in terms of reads and followers and responses and instead think of success in terms of whether I wrote something that mattered to me and whether I wrote it the best way I could. So maybe I won’t shut down the blog and try a little harder to stick to posts I can be proud of.
I looked up the TAS stats for the past year. Hilariously, the posts that got the most hits this year were the ones I felt the most strongly about. Which either proves the point I’m making or proves that I’m wrong about everything. Here are the top 5 (in descending order of hits):
- My rant on the ‘Sedin sisters’ joke. This was the most-read, most-shared, most-whatevered post I have ever posted, not just this year. It got a lot of support, but a lot of people said a lot of horrible things to and about me everywhere in the blogosphere for it. I’m most proud of the fact that instead of getting upset, I understood why they said those things and then decided those people weren’t worth my pity.
- Ten people to follow instead of that fake insider dude. If you’re new to Twitter and like hockey, this is a list of people you should consider following.
- The 2012 Playoff Bandwagon Guide.
- My rant/essay on depression. This was a very awkwardly written post about something I wasn’t ready to talk about at the time that I posted it. It wasn’t my best writing and it was written in anger. I’m still not ready to talk about it. But I’m glad it’s there because now many of you know one more person that’s been through what you’ve been through.
- My longass post about stats geeks and non-stats folks getting along. I actually like this one the best from this year. Sadly people listened for about five minutes and now we’re all back where we started.
However, if you’re going to read one thing and one thing only from The Active Stick, I would say, read this post. It’s not from this year. It was written shortly after a former co-worker of mine passed away. It might not be my best work, in fact, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. But today, for reasons most of you can guess, it’s the one that means the most to me. So if you have the time, give it a read.
Huge thanks to the degenerates at Pension Plan Puppets, Puck Daddy, Sean Fitzgerald, Sarah Connors, Andrew Berkshire, Kyle Roussel, Stephen Whyno, Down Goes Brown and especially Cam Charron for support, encouragement, advice, links, retweets etc. Thank you to everyone who’s shared something I’ve written, and most of all, thank you all for reading.
I think I’ll stick around, if that’s okay with you guys.