I've known for a while now that this post was probably coming, even if I didn't know exactly when. That doesn't make it any easier to write.
But enough burying the lead: As soon as a replacement can be found, I'm officially stepping down as co-manager of Team Speed Kills. And while I'll let David speak for himself, I will go ahead and say that the site will soon be under completely new management.
Up front: None of this is bitter or angry. SB Nation has always given Team Speed Kills the support it needs to be the best site we could make it, and I'll always appreciate the company for plucking me out of obscurity almost nine years ago and giving me a platform where more than a few dozen people would read my stuff. But that's just the thing: Nine years ago. And I had already been blogging for almost a year when that happened. I've been doing this on some level or another for a decade.
And when you do something that's not a full-time job for a decade, and it takes the kind of effort and work that this takes (particularly if you're going to do it right), there's a point where it stops being fun and starts becoming more of a chore. Maybe a fun chore, maybe an enjoyable chore -- but in the end, still a chore. I never wanted sports in general or college football in particular to be a chore. But if it hasn't reached that point, it's getting too close to that point for my comfort. I'm reminded of something I wrote when Kyle King left as manager of Dawg Sports:
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. ... Every person has to decide for themselves when they are getting a bit too serious in their consideration of chainsaw-juggling ...
I realize that I'm there. Don't get me wrong -- it's tearing me up a little bit to write this post, even though I've been considering this move for months. Part of me even now wants to say that I've made a horrible mistake, email the higher-ups at SB Nation and let them know I've changed my mind and take another run.
But I don't ever want to be at the point where I leave the managing role no longer wanting anything to do with it. I keep coming back to something that a fellow former blogger told me when I asked him about how he knew it was time to leave. He said, more or less, that he had thought he could do the job for one more season, but he was no longer sure he could do the job for one more season.
I haven't been the best co-manager for at least a year now. You can probably tell by my less-frequent postings, but there are also a lot of other things that I have pretty much ignored, particularly over the last few months. And there are explanations -- not excuses, but explanations. There were a total of four legislative sessions in Florida last year -- one regular session and three special sessions. (For those who don't know, I'm a reporter who covers state government in "real life.") In the last four months of 2015, I traveled at least once a month. This year, the Legislature started a tradition of beginning regular sessions in January instead of March, so that's where I've been for the last three months.
But there's no reason to believe that things are going to get better. I'm a political reporter in the largest swing state in what is already shaping up to be the most unusual election in our lifetimes. I hope to take a personal trip and cover one of the conventions. I will certainly have to cover elections at the state level in Florida. And I'm writing this right now from my parents' house in Atlanta on a trip for Easter.
The commitments never stop and life never stops; that's one of the things you discover on the journey we call adulthood. There was a point in my life when I could keep all that afloat and still devote the time and effort needed to help run this site. I can't do that anymore. And that can make it a drag. Or at least something that you enjoy getting away from. You take a trip and basically skip out on covering any games that week and don't feel bad about, don't feel like you should be seated in front of a television screen with TweetDeck open on a laptop in front of you. That's different, and not always in a good way.
It's not fair to the contributors who look to me and David for leadership. It's not fair to David, who ends up doing a lot more of the work than he ever bargained to do. And it's not fair to you, the readers of the site, who have the right to expect more out of me. When I take all of that into consideration and weigh it against the draw of trying to hold on for one more season -- that's when I know this is the right decision.
I need to step aside before I have to step aside. I want to leave this role with just a little bit more to give. It's far better than leaving after you've worn out your welcome. (Though I am sure there are some people who would argue that I've already worn out my welcome, so there's that.)
I'll have a lot more to say in the coming days -- retrospectives and think pieces I never got to and things like that. And it's not necessarily goodbye; if the new leadership wants me to hang around as a contributor, I'll be happy to do so. But it will be their call, because it's not my site anymore. In a way, it never really was. Team Speed Kills was not so much about the act of writing as the act of reading and interacting; words only have impact if they're heard. And you were the ones that heard us and debated with us and made our arguments stronger. (Though, really, Ole Miss was ranked exactly where it should have been in the SEC Power Poll.)
But I owe it to you to let everyone know now that the official pieces have fallen into place. The opening for the position has been posted on the official site -- if you want to apply for the position yourself, you can go here -- and the news has already started to circulate through social media. I also owed it to you to let you know why I reached the decision I did -- what went into it.
And I owe you all a thank you. This is not the first time I've considered stepping down, and more often than not one of the things that kept me doing this was y'all. This has never been one of the biggest sites on the network in terms of traffic, but I'll take our audience and commenters over any other group out there. Writing about sports has been fun; writing for all of you to read has been a blast.