Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thanks for the memories

I recently made the announcement that after 15 years the high school football website I have run would be removed from the Internet. It has been a great run and I have had fun maintaining it over the years. Some of you might be wondering why I have made this decision. I will go into that now, and I'll end with some thank you's.

First, the website is getting costly to run. People may not be aware of this, but I pay every month to keep the site going. Financially I cannot justify the labor anymore. The absence of monies coming in combined with the perceived lack of interest in the site justifies this decision in my view.

Secondly, there is the time commitment factor. With my responsibilities at Merrimack College doing their hockey on radio, as well as my baseball commitments in the summer, I have found it virtually impossible to devote time to the upkeep of the site. In 2008 and 2009, I worked in Kalamazoo, Michigan doing baseball in the summer, and I found myself updating the site from Western Michigan remotely for the first two weeks of the season, which was no small task. I did the same thing in 2010 when I worked in Florence, KY. I don't mean for this to sound like a complaint, but merely just to illustrate the demands of time it takes. And I don't do anything halfway- when I do something I am all in. That is the approach I have tried to take with the website.

Finally, the sweeping changes that high school football in Massachusetts is taking has turned me off, so much so that I am losing interest in the game, sadly. The Hockomock League has not been immune from these changes. Adding teams to the league was fine, that is an easily adaptable thing to maneuver (Taunton coming in last year and Milford this year)... but the schedule changes and new playoff systems are a major turn-off for me. I think this new system destroys the integrity of the game- specifically, playing your Thanksgiving opponent TWICE in a season now... as well as ending the season earlier, a complicated playoff system, and uncertainties regarding the schedule. Call me old school, but I think the Thanksgiving rivalries are going to go by the wayside and that is a tradition that should remain forever. I think it's a sign from above that it's time for me to bow out. It was fun back in the 90's and 00's when I was doing games and the site was a good resource, but it's not fun anymore, it's just work- work I do not get paid to do.

I'd like to take the time to thank a few people who have been great to work with over the years- Barry Porter, who like me shared a passion for high school athletics, so much so that he himself has a site up for a while; Bruce Glazer, who I worked alongside doing Stoughton-Mansfield games on our respective Cable Access stations; Mark Farinella, quite possibly the best high school football scribe in the state; my good friend Mike Logan, who helped me promote the site last year on the radio while doing Taunton games; Eric Shulman, one of my best friends and an invaluable resource over the years; and to everyone who at some point dropped me a note of support if the site helped them in any way. Also thanks to Stoughton Cable Access (Dale Queenan) who gave me the opportunity to do games on TV when I was just starting out. And finally, to my wife Lori, who was understanding and supportive in my decision to stay connected to this project.

With the emergence of Patch news agencies as well as your local papers (i.e. the Attleboro Sun Chronicle) there will be no shortages of ways to get your football fix. The website will be online for a few more weeks in the event that people may wish to print anything off of the site. You can find it at www.hockomockleaguefootball.com.

Farewell everyone, it has been a good run. Enjoy the games.