It was difficult to know if there was more than one or two people who actually read Cock 'n' Fire back in 2007, when I was going through my first offseason as a Gamecocks blogger. The site got about 100 hits a day, I had one or two people who occasionally commented, and that was it. Then I made the mistake of putting together an ill-constructed and ill-edited post attacking Doug Gillett, and found out that someone else read me.
That someone else was T. Kyle King, Mayor of the college football blogosphere and the kind of writer who can turn slicing and dicing a bad argument into a lengthy and artful monologue. Which he did.
(Sidebar: The worst part of that post might not have ended up being what I said about Doug, whom I badly misjudged at the time. It was probably this segment comparing the two teams' running backs:
Kregg Lumpkin and Cory Boyd are about even on every major stastical category, though most of them tilt ever so slightly in Boyd's favor. But C&F thinks the Gameocks have a touch more depth -- he'll take Mike Davis over likely backups at Georgia any day -- and Boyd has the clear advantage when it comes to contributing to the passing game.
This was in 2007. You might remember that as the year that Knowshon Moreno debuted as a redshirt freshman.)
Kyle might very well have been watching me for a reason. Shortly before the entire fiasco, I got an email from one of the SB Nation higher-ups asking me if I wanted to bring the ramshackle Blogger site over to the network. One of the people who had kept an eye on me during consideration was Kyle, as it turned out.
Over the years, the Mayor and I had our share of clashes over all manner of things. We still often disagree, as Gamecock fans and spelling-challenged Dawg fans will often do. One of the biggest mistakes I've made as a blogger is when I made an even more ill-considered attack on Kyle which had more bite than I intended.
And once in a while, we would end up on the same side of things, as happened in the Great Neuheisel War of 2008, a bloody affair that pitted members of SB Nation against each other for literally days. (This was back when the college football blogosphere was relatively young, and we had no idea what to write about in the offseason, so we just used to bang on each other. It was glorious, and I miss it.)
I say all that to say this: I have never met Kyle King in person, and yet I consider him a friend. So when I read last night that Kyle is leaving Dawg Sports as its manager, it was the kind of moment that at least metaphorically (and maybe literally, I can't remember things like that as well as I used to) knocked me back in my chair a bit. Kyle might be a (large) bit older than I am, but he hasn't been blogging all that much longer than I have -- about a year.
And to be completely honest, I understand how he's feeling. (Don't worry or celebrate yet; I'm not leaving.) If you don't get run down by blogging every now and then, and begin to wonder if maybe other hobbies like juggling chainsaws would be better for your mental health, you might not be doing this right. It's entirely possible that there will come a day when I also decide that it's not what I want to do any more, though I hope that day is still a ways off. Every person has to decide for themselves when they are getting a bit too serious in their consideration of chainsaw-juggling; I just wish Kyle's day hadn't come quite yet.
I believe -- or at least sincerely hope -- that we haven't seen the last of the Mayor. Even if it's just in the comments from time to time, and not in the 14,000-word posts telling us exactly why Mark Richt is not on the hot seat. (Though we can all make "Mark Richt has lost control of Kyle King" jokes now, so there's that.)
And I hope that some day I'll get the chance to meet Kyle face-to-face and reminisce over how we debated, and how he almost always won. (Or that I'll at least get the opportunity to gloat over the last three Georgia-South Carolina games.)
But it didn't feel right to just fold this into Sprints or mention it only in passing or not at all. Kyle King has been very important to SB Nation, but he's also been very important to me. Even if he is not completely gone, he will be missed.