The Return of TheFanMan


My name is Jesse Golomb, and I’ve been here for a little while.

Not so long, mind you – I wouldn’t ever call myself an expert in this field. I wouldn’t even go as far as to call myself a veteran of it. But I’ve been doing this running a website thing for almost two years now, and I feel like, along the way, I’ve gotten a decently good grasp on how to hit the ‘publish’ button and send someone else’s carefully cultivated words out into cyberspace.

I joke, but as with any good jest, there’s some truth involved.

When I started TheFanManifesto – the self-proclaimed “website for the educated sports fan…” a claim which, I would be the first to admit, is more than a tad pompous – last May, my goal was to find a forum in which all my pent-up energy could be released. I’ve been a diehard sports fan and an aspiring writer since the age of five. Certainly, after a decade and a half listening to the mainstream sports media spew a whole lot of wrong and a lot less right, the time had come to release all that repressed frustration right onto the virtual page, a few times a week, for all of the world – or at least the few friends and family members who gave a shit – to see.

Of course, along the way, the hope was that I’d also write, a lot. And – I wouldn’t be a writer if this wasn’t the case – that a hefty dose of positive feedback and instant gratification would satiate my ever-hungry ego.

And at first, I did write. (A lot – Last summer, I published 3-5 800-2000 word columns a week.) And from the outset, the reaction was flattering: traffic continuously increased. Emails flooded in from people wanting to know more. Friends asked if they could contribute, and others talked about it as I passed them on the way to class or at a party on the weekend. I started a site tie-in twitter feed that quickly exploded to around 1,000 followers (a figure that has, more than anything, gone a long way towards assuaging the doubts of any who wonder: “why the hell do you spend so much time on this thing? Is anyone even paying attention?).

So, yeah things were going peachy. Probably too peachy, actually, and definitely too peachy too quickly, because as with any business experiencing quick success (even if this one wasn’t making much monetary headway), the urge came to expand.

So expand I did: with college looming, and the threat of my free-time dissolving into hours of paper-writing and natty-light-pounding, I did what any good writer/bullshitter (because god knows, those two attributes go hand-in-hand) would do: I convinced other people to do the work for me.

Since I began college last August, more than 60 writers/bloggers/authors have done work under TheFanManifesto masthead. Not a single one of them was named Jesse Golomb, and I have only ever met one of them in person. I haven’t seen that person since I was sixteen.

But with expansion has come contraction. There is no question that my workload from last summer was unsustainable. 6,000 words would have never found a place in a week packed with classes, parties, papers, classes, tests and – most of all – happiness. Finding a team of writers to publish daily content would not only take some weight off my shoulders but also serve to push up my viewership and further TheFanManifesto brand as well as my personal one.

(Say what you want, but "Editor-in-Chief” looks and sounds a lot better than “blogger.” I run my website for the love of the game, to fulfill a stated creed of “anti-sensational sports opinion for all” – but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do it with at least one plotting eye cast towards the future.)

But, of course, there was penance to be paid for my hubris. On TheFanManifesto plantation, I was The Master. As dozens worked for free under my command, the temptation came to slack off.

And now, as my writing output has slowed to the point of stopping, and as what I’ve built has started to erode not as slowly, the time has come for me to once again grab the reins. I may not have time for 6,000 words a week. But I should have time for a thousand. And if there’s any hope for the site for the educated sports fan to become exactly that, then it’s time to pay for my sins.

Starting this separate personal blog, for this class, will help me to do just that. Other than finding time, one of the biggest challenges in providing content was finding inspiration. As a high schooler, there were really only three things on my mind: a) how puberty and teenage awkwardness was – ahem – manifesting itself; b) all the girls this manifestation was causing me to strike out with; and c), sports.

As I’ve gone few years older and few years more mature, these concerns have been replaced with more serious, adult stuff (At least this is what I like to tell myself). In any event, sports now takes up a considerably smaller part of my mental pie chart.

But now, with a little rigidity, a little inspiration, a little time set aside every week for the purpose of reinvigorating my passion for sports and for writing, the hope is that that slice will once again expand. I’ve loved these two things – sports and writing – for far too long to let them get pushed out by a few extra papers, a few more parties and a few less hours of sleep.

It’s time to emancipate. The burden on my unpaid, sometimes untalented writers has become too great, as has my reliance on a system that perpetuates mediocrity and enables laziness. It’s time to break the chains: the thickest of which now reside on my wrists. The time has come to hit the ‘publish’ button on something I wrote, and then have a whole lot of people compliment me afterwards.

Let freedom ring.

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