Remarks And Musings On The Occasion Of Deadspin’s 10th Anniversary
I waited until the end of the day to write this, because it's 10 years later and we've all moved on and round numbers are so arbitrary, you know? And there was a particularly good Judge Judy today involving a pig and a disputed property line. But it is indeed the double-digit anniversary of the first day of Deadspin, the big One-O, and even though it's been celebrated over on that site, and in Will Leitch's own Twitter home, I figured I should write something.
As you may or may not know, I was one of the original writers for Deadspin, which debuted on Sept. 8, 2005. There were only two of us -- Leitch and myself. I wrote posts the night before, sending them by email to Will, who sprinkled them among his own posts when he got up the next morning. He was on east coast time, I lived (and still do) in California.
For the first three years of the site we were the only writers. The higher-ups at Gawker were not only ambivalent about me, they wouldn't even let me use my own byline -- every post I wrote was under Will's name. That was more of a burden to Will than to me. But Gawker was weird that way. They were even nervous about Will using his name -- they really wanted a more established writer. Thank goodness they couldn't find one.
Man did we have fun. In those days Deadspin was like Hogwarts -- the staircases moved randomly, one of us was afraid of spiders and no one could ride the brooms. We didn't break the rules because there were none, other than Nick Denton occasionally sending back crumpled scripts like Alan Brady. (Actually, Denton was our Dumbledore).
I left in 2008 to start my own sports blog at NBC, and just before that Will had retired to become a scruffy nerf herder. Only fond, wistful memories remain, many of them unreliable and smelling of gin.
A small sampling of those:
* You're With Me, Leather. As Kurt Vonnegut might say, somewhere Chris Berman is always picking up a woman in leather pants in a Scottsdale sports bar, there always was Chris Berman picking up a woman in leather pants in a Scottsdale sports bar, and there always will be Chris Berman picking up a woman in leather pants in a Scottsdale sports bar.
* Barbaro. The late, great racehorse had a legion of fans writing him letters, praying for him to get better. Alas, the horse could not read, and the letters would not be read to him.
* Wizard Cat.
* These trout.
A reader in Will's chat today randomly chose this as one of her favorite Deadspin posts. The year was 2007, Dec. 12. An excerpt:
The owners of a trout farm were amazed when a photographer caught their fish making an extraordinary escape on camera. The trout were making giant leaps out of their pond into a metal feed pipe three feet above the water level. They then fought against the current for 30 feet to the end of the eight-inch- wide pipe, which emerged underwater in a tributary of the River Itchen near Alresford, Hants, Germany.
As you can see, it was planned to perfection. But then, tragedy struck.
"They are jumping for freedom in large volumes but sadly I think their fate will be less than happy — there are otter, herons and many other predators feeding from the stream."
We also hear that one trout was captured by the Nazis while trying to board a train to Switzerland. But better to die a free fish than to live one more day in captivity. This is indeed the Greatest Trout Generation.
And as metaphors go, this will suffice. When it all began, Deadspin was an impossible leap into uncharted waters, and there was more than one predator on the other side. But somehow it still survives. Sure, it's not the slim young hatchling created in Will's apartment -- now it's a massive bottom-feeder, grown fat by becoming what it formerly mocked.
But if all blogs stayed the same, what would be the point? Things can only be new and joyful once, and then you have to, sadly, grow up. But we'll always have the memories. As horse poet Dee Mirich, who so eloquently and crazily eulogized Barbaro online, once wrote:
The Heart Of The Rainbow
Barbaro's So, So So Beautiful Angels Here
Musical Notes In The Sky
Churchill Sounds Singing
Barbaro's Halo Is Glowing So, So Beautifully So
All The Colors Of The Rainbow
The Circle Of Love
Affirmed. Happy Birthday, Deadspin. Sure you've put on weight and tend to take yourself way too seriously these days. But that's not so surprising at a 10-year reunion. It's just the way of the world.
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