Dear faithful and loyal readers, listeners, commenters, and heck, even the haters.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy “two weeks of work off” for some people!
What an amazing year this has been for our site and Michigan athletics. It’s been a wild one ‘round these parts. The last year or so has been filled with lots of change, a ton of staff turnover, a lot of stories and even some drama thrown in for good measure. It has been an absolute blast, to say the least, to watch this site morph into something different with a collection of some of the most creative minds that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with here. Back in the winter, we were informed by SB Nation of an increased investment in resources to our humble little operation, which allowed us to grow our staff, start taking things in new directions with podcasting and video, and generally just allow us to do more than we ever have in covering what goes on in Ann Arbor.
The blessing and curse of this site is that talented people tend to move through pretty quickly. And I love that. The Managing Editor I used to work under here, Joshua Henschke, is now killing it over at 247Sports/The Michigan Insider. Brandon Justice started out as a recruiting writer here and turned it into opportunities with The Wolverine, Land of 10 and now he owns and operates his own outlet, The Wolverine Lounge. Evan Petzold started out as a kid in my DMs on Twitter persistent for an opportunity and worked his way into too many gigs for me to even count or list at this point, but is crushing it with the CMU student newspaper, CM Life, and over at WolverinesWire. Drew Hallett, a long-time confidant and friend of the site, is now at The Wolverine doing what he does best and telling stories with the numbers and statistics as he’s one to do.
I don’t doubt for a second we have people working here now who have big things ahead of them too. I can say with full comfort that this year was the most fulfilling year since I’ve been around because of the guys and girls that we have here with us. You’re all bound for wonderful things, and I know at some point something bigger will come along. I welcome that and embrace it.
This is a great team to be a part of and the assembled talent that’s here is as high as it has been in my counts on fingers oh God, five years at this website. There were a lot of big moments this year, whether it be some of the wild coaching changes last winter (shoutout Dan Enos), Michigan Basketball’s run all the way to the NATIONAL TITLE GAME. That was so much fun. Michigan Hockey in the Frozen Four. Michigan Football having a historically memorable season (for good and...not good reasons), as well as the recruits that gave us moments of their time for interviews, the features we’ve done, the podcasts we created, etc. We’ve thrived in these big moments because we’ve got great people. The moments we’ve been a part of, whether it be big wins at Crisler, being on the field at Notre Dame or East Lansing, are memories I will cherish forever. We hosted our first live event and pre-game show from Circ Bar in Downtown Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game, which was an absolutely awesome day until the bottom fell out in that football game.
We’re not basement bloggers (well, not all of us). We’re in the thick of it. That makes me insanely happy.
But what I’m most proud of this year doesn’t have to do with any game or something that took place on the field at all.
The thing I’m most proud of is you. Your heart. Your generosity.
On a few separate occasions this year, we partnered with the folks over at BreakingT for shirts that came out of “viral” moments. Back in the early part of 2018, we sold fake championship banner shirts for Michigan hoops due to Louisville vacating the 2013 National Title. We donated the proceeds from those to The ChadTough Foundation for DIPG and were able to come up with $1,263.32. Our cut of the t-shirt sales is about $3 each, so you do the math there.
The same goes for our “Revenge Tour” shirts, which not only allowed us to raise another $1,100 for Larry Prout and his wonderful family, but allowed us to get to know the terrific people they are and I’m honored to be able to call them friends of the site. We had a hangout back on Nov. 2 at the Detroit Beer Company and the Prouts came, and we all had an amazing night hanging out with them and our readers and staff.
The Michigan market is way oversaturated with every Jimmy and Joe attempting to start a blog on top of the plethora of outlets that already exist. That we’ve been as successful as we have been, as well as people one of the top-five most-read college blogs on the SB Nation family of sites, is an incredible blessing and it is not possible without you. The vast majority of our traffic comes from simply the front page, meaning we’re a part of your daily routine and that people are coming straight here. That’s special to us, and you’re as much a part of this as anyone.
So here’s a resolution for 2019: be vocal about you want to see. The coverage you’d like to read. The voices you want to hear. We’re lucky to be in a spot to where we can tell it like it is and not be held back by some of the constraints other media entities have. Our goal is to be engaging, witty and hell, maybe even a bit funny sometimes, but always to keep you informed. All I can promise you about what we’re going to give is that we’re going to be honest. There are plenty of other websites that will tickle your ‘memberberries and paint everything in a positive or negative (and sometimes disingenuous) light. All we can hope to strive for is sharing our honest opinions. And we have differing opinions among the staff. The best thing here is that there’s a voice for everyone.
We’re going to ride this wave into next season and have some cool things already planned and on the way. Thank you for readership and any time you’ve taken out of your schedule to make us a part of your day. There are several days where our pageview numbers would overflow the Big House (weird flex but okay), so it’s not lost on us the platform that we have.
We hope you check us out the next few days. Hell, we may provide at least a minuscule from your family gathering asking why you aren’t married yet or when your mother is going to get grandbabies. But we also hope you take some time off and enjoy yourselves. We’ll be here when you get back.
It is Game Week after all!
The sincerest of best Holiday and Christmas wishes to you and yours,
Anthony Broome, Managing Editor