Tuesday, March 26, 2013

R.I.P. T.A.H. 2005 - 2013: ACC Sports Blog To Close Shop On Day Of Important Surgery

(Steve Kohls / Brainerd Daily Dispatch via AP)
Dear loyal readers, not-so-loyal readers, people who hate to read and the general public at large including the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (which never invited us to play in their stupid sandbox):

The goal was to reach 1 million visits and then close shop. That said, for reasons unknown to anybody at T.A.H. Worldwide Media Headquarters, readership has crashed and burned of late.  This week in 2012, T.A.H. was visited over 5,000 times. Three weeks ago, a total of 951.  On one day in March of 2012, over 1,000 people visited the site, on Valentine’s Day 2013, just 87. 

Weekly visits have gone from almost 6,000 during early March of last year to an average of around 1,300…the crashing trend started at the beginning of this year. Yes, I have Google Analytics, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it’s telling me and even if I can decipher the code, it doesn’t tell me WHY

While everybody enjoys a hobby and a good laugh, there is no reason to produce something that nobody reads. There is enough crap in cyberspace as it is…(Sorry to call those of you that are loyal readers “nobody,” but you get the point.) 

I believe the decline is caused by a number of factors. 

First of all, it’s possible - unlikely mind you - but possible, that people have stopped reading ‘cause the content isn’t as good as it once was.  Just throwin’ that out there. 

Also, expansion, and some other things have really derailed passionate interest in the ACC in particular and college sports in general. The games are still pure, but the money-first back drop is clearly turning fans off.  We can escape our cynicism during the actual contests, but it quickly returns when the final whistle blows.

People are still rabid fans of THEIR TEAM, but the ACC has lost a lot of luster in recent years. Also, the majority of fans take their team’s plight VERY seriously. The comments I received over the years demonstrated that many readers (and certainly almost all that left comments) didn’t get the joke(s). 

I mean one time, we might have poked a little fun at some seven-year-olds that got their collective football butts kicked all over the miniaturized football field (91-0) by a team that my son played for and, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, some parents, coaches and the commissioner of the kid football league took offense even though we said the score was 13-0, as in 13 touchdowns to zero touchdowns which we thought was pretty good “editing.”  

Alas, skin is thin. That little skirmish damn near cost me my Fauquier Youth Football League press pass! Which, for the record, ain’t that easy to come by (to begin with). Hey now, that’s a double prepositional ending sentence exacta.   Two words people: quality journalism. But, I digress… 

So the audience seem to lack interest in general coverage of the ACC (not to mention my friends and family) and the focus is on the GoHeels.comTheSabre.com and HokieSports.coms of the world where it’s “all my team, all the time.”  Seriously, people actually pay money for “insider” web sites like Rivals.com which burns billions of megabytes each year talking about which 15-year-old may play inside linebacker for (fill in your school's name here) four years from now.  Who can run with that?    

Add to that, it tough to cover the same stuff over and over and come up with good material. Seriously, how many colonial navy and Led Zeppelin jokes can you make up about John Paul Jones Arena? We wore those out six years ago…And always calling Duke the University of New Jersey at Durham was funny for a year or two, but it can’t hold up forever. 

You need cannon fodder to write comedy, and other than new crime and the ongoing foibles of the NCAA, we’ve pretty well exhausted every humor source in the ACC. Shoot, I even got tired of misspelling Krzyghbd5ski. (Naaaaah. Not really.  I still like to misspell Krzschbsg9ski.  I like to misspell Krzyhnmp2ski ‘cause it’s funny. Actually, misspelling Krxbnt6ski still makes me and Rob Corrie laugh, so that’s good enough!) Well, that and I never really learned how to spell it correctly.  And, in spite of it all, I really do LIKE Coach K and think he's GREAT.*

Let’s face it, teams, coaches and players aren’t as funny as they used to be. Where’s Julius “Snapple” Hodge and Charles “Amphibious” Shackelford when you need them? Remember Jon “Crazy Face” Schyer…now that was dude was funny.

But generally speaking it’s hard to be funny everyday first thing in the morning unless there are really good pharmaceuticals in your coffee. There isn’t. I could go all Hunter Thompson, but we all know that isn’t going to end well. I you don’t believe me, just ask Hunter Thompson.

As it stands, T.A.H., like any worthwhile endeavor, requires 1) a lot of work (research, writing, editing and “borrowing” photos) and 2) a fair amount of “give a s***.” The work takes time and time is in short supply.  

“Give a s***” comes and goes and it simply doesn’t lend itself to Syracuse or Pitt. (Now, Notre Dame has potential. Can you imagine the fun we would have had with the Teo catfishing circle jerk if the Golden Domers were really IN the ACC?)  In the immortal words of Dick Enberg:  “Oh My.”

Unfortunately, it’s all starting to feel like work, and that much uncompensated effort can’t last but so long. Creativity takes time. Seriously, it takes a fair amount of time to write a good turtle joke… 

WHAT? Maryland is going to the BIG TEN? Well, CRAP SANDWICH, there’s one more reason to stop the presses! 

In addition, cyber-publishing has changed. Photos are harder and harder to come by as media consolidates.  It’s just a matter of time before T.A.H. gets sued for using other’s photos. Mind you, I always credit those photos, but two entities (the Washington Post, and Virginia Tech) have told me to stop reprinting their stuff.  Rat bastards.

Eight long internet years later with jpegs, giffs, photos, links, videos and a zillion bytes of both technology and text, T.A.H. is a pretty good looking product and I remain proud of that. (It looks great on Flipboard on your iPad!). If it had a real editor to fix the typos, it would be really good, but it doesn’t so it isn’t. Such is life.

Of course, you must be thinking, “Why now?” 

Why, during the Big Dance are we shuttering the doors?  Because in the grand scheme of things a basketball tournament doesn’t matter as much as some malfunctioning body parts...

All of that said, somehow we have all arrived at the end of the T.A.H. universe. Like Jim Carey in The Truman Show, I was looking for the end, and by God I think I’ve stumbled upon the perfect concluding event.

I’ve decided to take T.A.H. out in a “BLASER OF GLORY” along with T.A.H. founding reader and loyal fan Tom Blaser’s hip.  When the old hip gets yanked out of T-Blaze’s body on MONDAY, 3/25/13, T.A.H. will cease publishing new material!  

(Editor's note on 3/26/13: Old hip is out, new hip is in, the only remaining question is what will happen to Blaze's "sissy fade.")

As Douglas Adams so eloquently said in A Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” 

It was fun while it lasted, thanks for reading! -- GP, editor/publisher T.A.H.

P.S. Dear Mr. Snyder: I meant everything I said in all those Dear Mr. Snyder posts. Please don’t let Mike Shenanigan-han kill RG3 and try not to let RG3 kill RG3. C’mon, step up, take control of some of the important stuff. Look how well it’s worked out for Jerry Jones!

Just kidding.

Sort of...

PPS: Thanks to the Associated Press, ESPN (especially the ACC football blog), the Raleigh News & Observer (with props to their many excellent photographers), Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports and so many other media outlets that made T.A.H. readable.

*Item in italics may not be true.  


1 comment:

  1. Hate to see that you're going to give it up, but as they say, all good things must come to an end


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