Normally by the midway point of the summer, I'm starting to feel the flame flicker a bit. The season is coming up, and camp will be starting in a few weeks. This is the time when I start gearing up for the season and really getting fired up. But this year, I'm just not feeling it, and like you've probably heard from Joe Paterno and a lot of athletes in the twilightof their career, when you don't feel that passion while preparing for a new season, it's time to get out. I'd rather turn it over to someone who cares than keep slugging along giving less than 100% effort.Mike, you will be missed. But I share or have experienced many of your feelings over the years.
But don't feel bad for me. I actually feel a sense of liberation. For five years I let this blog consume my life. Don't get me wrong, until recently I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a hell of a ride building this puppy up from nothing to the internet monster it is. I wouldn't trade these past five years for anything. But make no mistake, it's a ton of work. I eventually got to the point I realized the blog was keeping me from the things I really wanted to do in life.
My boys are six and three, soon to be seven and four, and they want more and more of Dad's time.
Ultimately, though, and this is going to sound a little weird, but I feel God putting a burden on my heart to do great things to the glory of His name.
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At one time I wrote for Penn Live and built the 50-Yard Line Blog from scratch. We didn't even have a name when Campbell (Campbell's Homestyle Sports--he has since moved on to other things) emailed me and asked me to write for them. I was paid $50 per month the first year, and six years later was making $200 per month. Six years of almost daily posting.
I felt burn out many times, and I think Mike, that is what you are feeling right now. I am feeling burned out at the beginning of this season--hence the paucity of entries these past few months. (I actually started a non-football blog, Living the Eye Life, as a way to continue blogging despite the burn-out.)
I never walked away from blogging. I was fired from PennLive after my "Buckeye Buddy" Dick complained about the language I used in what I thought was a private and personal email.
I thought seriously about walking away at that point and just being a fan. I did take a little time off, but eventually, the need to vent and to put my thoughts on the screen overwhelmed me again. A couple of sites tried to recruit me to write for them, but they weren't willing to pay me anything. If I'm not going to make any money, then I may as well stay right here. I'm not going to have all my hard worked yanked out from under me at the whim of a deranged Buckeye stalker again.
Hopefully you can still do some guest writing on the site. Or, perhaps come back in a year or two when the passion has been rekindled. It was you--as readers saw through your writing--that built that site into what it is today. It will go on, but it won't be the same.
As for God calling, that is probably a good thing and I admire you for answering your call. I have struggled with those issues myself as a Christian over the years. When I write out that Nittany Lion Club check each season, I pause to wonder why I don't find a better cause to donate it.
But in the end, I rationalize it. Does God want me to watch Penn State football in the stands? Does he want me to buy a new shirt? A new car? An ice cream? Where can you draw the line? If everyone lived as Christ did--totally devoted to the work of the Lord--there would be no food to eat because no one would be farming or fishing. Trash wouldn't get picked up. People would die in hospitals because all the doctors and nurses are out spreading His word. There would be no roads to travel or houses to stop at. Obviously there are other things--worldly things--that need to be done for society to exist. Penn State football isn't one of them, but it is a hobby just as much as stamp collecting, or listening to music. Does God really want you to have that Ipod? That I-phone? Does He have a problem with us playing Angry Birds? Has God not given us talents to produce works of art and music and literature? Are we not to enjoy those things? Has he not given these athletes abilities and the opportunity to get an education--are we not to enjoy that either?
But I fear I have digressed again.
Thank you Mike for all your had work. Good luck in your new endeavors and good luck with your Engineer license. I hope to see you back some day.