Shuttin’ ‘er Down

This is likely the final post I will make on this blog.  After a year and a half of spending far too much time writing about and researching a small slice of minor league hoops I am deciding to move on.

On November 15 my friend Duncan and I attended the first ever Rainmen home game.  Duncan went to the MetroCentre the day single tickets went on sale to go get the closest possible seats to the visiting bench and we ended up in Section 23.  We showed up and relentlessly rode the Boston Blizzard for the whole game and enjoyed it enough that the next day we went down to the Rainmen offices and bought season tickets.  Duncan even ended up being interviewed for CBC radio.  We went to that first game with the intention of heckling and being total jerks (I think we succeeded) and I tried to do a bit of internet research on the Blizzard so I could walk in with some ammo, but after an hour of playing the role of Google Detective I hadn’t turned up much.  I figured that if it was this hard to find information online about minor league basketball then I should probably share it and save some other people some time, so this blog was born.

The other reason I started the blog was because I, like many sports fans my age, really consider blogs, message boards and other online content to be integral to the experience of being a fan.  I wanted to be able to talk about the team, disagree with people, read cool links other people found and participate in something resembling a community.  Thanks to everyone who reads this, I think it’s at least somewhat succeeded on that front.  I went from being absolutely stoked if I had 10 hits a day in the first month to receiving 1000+ daily hits during the Eric Crookshank suspension fiasco and the not-quite-run-to-the-playoffs.  A lot of the people who have posted comments on here are far more knowledgeable about basketball than I ever will be and even those who I think were total idiots have definitely contributed to what has always been open and entertaining conversations in the comments section of the blog.

I am giving this up because in five days I will be moving to small town Ontario to pursue my master’s degree in modern US history.  I had considered trying to keep this blog up and updating sporadically but a combination of the demands that graduate school place on one’s time and the fact that the vast majority of my “insights” were gleamed from watching games from up close (I really can’t emphasize enough how much more you see in person than on TV/webcasts) have made me realize that it’s simply not feasible for me to continue updating this blog in a way that even remotely resembles what I have done for the past two seasons.

I do want to make sure I thank three groups of people in particular for putting up with me:

  1. The real journalists that cover the Rainmen, particularly Chad Lucas.  Like most blogs, I relied on taking information from real reporters, posting links and then adding some snide remarks.  Without real sports reporters covering real stories blogs like this simply will never exist.  I never thought of this blog as an alternative or a competitor to the Metro nee Daily News and Chronicle Herald, but rather as an adjunct to them.
  2. Jad, Andre, Andrew and Nancy in the Rainmen Front office.  They put up with me sending them periodic and probing e-mails, never got mad at me for being overly critical or talking about things I don’t understand and have always been incredibly friendly to me.  I know I frustrated them at times but it never showed and without them I wouldn’t have a team to write about.  Like Halifax’s basketball journalists, the Rainmen staff always managed to take me just seriously enough. (i.e. not all that seriously)
  3. The players themselves.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for the players I’ve had the opportunity to watch over the last two years.  They all agreed to come to a small, backwater city on the edge of the continent and play basketball in a half empty (on a good night) gym for very little money.  All of the players I met in person were always friendly, regular guys and I wish them all (including players from other teams) all the best.

I also had the opportunity to meet a ton of people who read and comment on the blog and the folks in sections 22 and 23 at the Metro Centre (including our current premier) made being a Rainmen fan a unique and communal experience that is often difficult to find in Late Capitalism.  The visiting fans from Vermont and all the non-Haligonians who post and read this blog have contributed to the experience in a similar way.  My father will be picking up my Rainmen season tickets so if I am in town I will catch some games.

If you’re looking for other sources of sports reading I have two recomendations.  First, the OurSportsCentral message board is a gathering place of a variety of PBL fans and detractors and I’ll probably still post over there from time to time.  There are a lot of people who have been around minor league hoops for decades who post there, and the discussions are always heated.  More generally I would also suggest that reading Dave Zirin (and listening to his weekly podcast).  He’s a Washington, DC based sports writer who is often witty and always insightful, particularly when it comes to the intersection of sports and politics, a topic I have mentioned from time to time but have rarely been able to fully explore.  If anyone feels the need to create their own Rainmen blog or message board feel free to post the URL and I will link to it from here.

Anyway, it’s been fun.  Thanks for reading and commenting.


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