Two years ago, on June 24th, I sat down to write my first feature for RamsHerd. In the tiny monkey-filled room of my brain, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I'd been a part of the venerable Turf Show Times community for some time, writing occasional long-form rants and screeds and trying my best to make them stand out from the norm. (Out of the hundreds of thousands of articles, comments, and fan posts on TST, there's still only one search result for "Joseph Conrad.") But suddenly, thanks to Bryan Douglass and the folks at Fanball, I had my own website to write at, and a yawning expanse of white pixels to fill.
So I wrote, knowing nothing about arcane terms like "SEO" or "content strategy." I wrote to both celebrate and soothe the pain of being a Rams fan.
Our team was in one of their lowest ebbs ever, coming off ten consecutive gut-wrenching losses and about to undergo a house-cleaning of epic proportions. We had an interim coach, an interim owner, and one marquee player with a big contract and a bad injury history to build around.
In short, it was a bile-fueled writer's paradise. But as it turns out, in that first article I wrote about hope.
This optimism thing was new for me. I'm not the best fan in the world, nor the best writer. My heart tends to get in the way of my brain during the good times; stubborn pride gets in the way of my heart during the bad. And various genetically-inherited chemical processes conspire periodically to send the whole works into the dumpster.
But something unexpected happened, while this Rams team slowly and painstakingly built a positive momentum for itself and dragged itself back to respectability: this blog and its community of readers and Twitterers took on a life of its own, a life that demanded to be cared for.
Even when Fanball shut down its blog network, sixteen months after we'd started this thing, there was no question but to find a way to continue. Ben Koo and the Bloguin team gave us a home (and a spiffy new look), but it's the community of readers that inspires us to keep going, and keep growing.
RamsHerd has five contributors now (the spotlight swivels over to Derek, Tim, Maurice and Brennan, sitting in the virtual executive suite and toasting with virtual single-malt scotch), and we've published nearly 500 articles and nearly 10,000 tweets as we start our third year.
Maybe I'm still suffering from this optimism thing, but I like to think it might be our best yet.