(Kevin Lamarque | Reuters)
OhVarsity.com launched on September 1, just in time for the season opener against UT-Martin. With the Bearcats’ tournament loss to UCLA, we’ve reached the end of the first athletic season. I’ll have some baseball coverage as well as a few more basketball pieces, but I’m officially in offseason mode.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that things have slowed down around here, so I wanted to take the time to give you guys the first update since Launch Day.
My last in-season pieces were a reflection on the 2016–17 basketball season and a quick look at the continuing evolution of Bearcat basketball. Both of those were extremely popular by my standards. So much of being a aspiring writer in 2017 is simply getting your words in front of people’s eyeballs. To that end, starting a blog outside of a “new media powerhouse” like SB Nation was probably a stupid idea. However, I’m stubborn and there was something appealing about striking out on my own and having the freedom to do everything from write about rap music to rip on Xavier to host a 300-person bracket pool to invent burrito conspiracies to control the feel of the entire site itself.
With so many people competing for your attention, it can be really difficult. Often it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill, especially since I’m choosing to write 99% of this stuff on my own. I’m not happy with where I’m at, but the boulder is definitely closer to the top of the hill than it was when I started this in September.
I think I’m finally beginning to figure things out here, but it wouldn’t be possible without the support I’ve gotten from readers. If you’re retweeting links or recommending my stuff here on Medium, I promise it doesn’t go unnoticed. Simply reading this means a lot to me.
When I first decided to set up shop in August, one of my main goals was to bring something to the table that nobody else offered. I didn’t want to be one of a dozen people writing game recaps or churning out recruiting nuggets. As you may have noticed, I didn’t fully succeed at this. You see, maintaining a blog on your own is really hard, especially when you’re also trying to live a real life where you make money and do actual work. After a while, the only way I was able to keep churning things out on a regular basis was to fall into a generic schedule. It felt kind of lame, and that’s definitely something I’ll be working on for next season. Expect fewer game recaps and AP Poll dissections and more content out of left field.
At the end of 2016, I conducted a big Bearcats Media Survey, which helped me learn where you guys are reading and what you’re looking for. There was a vocal demand for more pieces like “If I Were Athletic Director…” We’re all daydreamers, and I get that. My compatriot, Alex Apyan, has something in progress that will be cropping up here as soon as we find time to put our heads together. Here’s the introduction to his series you’ll be seeing more of soon:
More things coming this offseason include:
- More UC history. I’m a huge nerd for history, especially as it pertains to UC and Bearcats sports. It’s hard to find time for research in the midst of the regular season grind, so I’m excited to spend some time on that throughout the spring and summer. Get ready for a lot more stuff like this. And get ready to learn the full life story of some random football player from 1932.
- OhVarsity 2.0. There’s a full redesign in the works. I’m loving Medium as a platform, so don’t expect the site to move, but I’m already fairly deep into a full graphic re-design. Expect that sooner than later.
- Player-focused content. Another thing I learned in the media survey was that fans want to hear from former student athletes. Me and Alex are going to try to make that happen. If you played a sport at UC and are active enough on Twitter that I can get a hold of you, you’ll be hearing from me. If you’re a former Bearcat athlete and are willing to talk, feel free to reach out.
- Expansion. This is a more nebulous idea, but I’d like to take things to the next level by September. There are new things I want to try and new people I want to work with. I’ll keep it vague, because I don’t want to promise any more than that.
Onward and upward. Thanks for reading. More stuff coming.