So, when I first started commenting over at The Offside, it was kind of weird. Being a veteran of car-related (Subarus in specific) message boards, and being oh, so tired of the nastiness, I wasn’t sure how I felt about ceasing to lurk …. and “speaking” up.
Then as one post led to another, and another, it struck me that the community here wasn’t anything like a message board. Monikers came and went as interest in the club waxed and waned, but one thing remained constant: Respect.
So, when Isaiah approached me about actually contributing as a writer in this space, I was, frankly, terrified. No, I don’t lack for confidence. But everyone who commented seemed to be brimming with knowledge. And while I was certainly a fan of the game, and a devotee of Barca, I couldn’t really say that I was an observer of the game. But basically, I said yes because I’m crazy in that I always look for new ways to screw up.
But with the help of Isaiah and everyone in the space, including the folks who aren’t here any longer, things got better. People called bullshit on some of my ratings and reviews, or pointed out tactical nuances that I’d missed, part of the process that helped me get better. And The Offside grew.
When Isaiah then approached me about continuing what we did in this new space, I was, once again, nervous. Sort of like buying a new house. It’s yours. You aren’t renting any longer. It’s all you, for better and for worse. So I questioned a great many things, including whether I was willing to make the chronological committment necessary to contribute to a space that is of the quality that the people who visit here demand. It’s a respect thing.
And here I am, here we are. People are still calling bullshit on my reviews and ratings, and I’m still working as hard as I can to improve at the task at hand. But through all of that, and the growing pains, and learning to blog about something that you love so much, it’s the respect that has remained constant. It’s something that newcomers seem to sense without ever being told, a self-perpetuating feeling that makes this space, to me, the best Barca blog on the net, and one of the best blog communities I have ever experienced.
So in this holiday time of reflection, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for making this great thing that we have work. We have been so lucky to be fans of this great club. Through (for me) Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and all points in between, to the astonishing accomplishments of the current group of players, our beloved club has been great. And for most of that time, I have felt isolated as a fan of Barca and the beautiful game, until now. This blog is a space where Barca nuts can come and get their fix. It isn’t the only one for most people, and that’s okay, because I do feel that because of the mood that everyone sets, with the intelligence of their comments and the very clear mutual respect that everyone shows for one another, it will remain the one that most feels like home.
Which leaves me with not a whole lot more to say except thanks to you all, for letting me be part of a great thing.
P.S. The picture is of me doing about the only thing that I love more than Barca and all things Barca, bicycle racing. 😀