What a ride. When I started as a commenter over at The Offside Barcelona, who ever thought a space with a few voices would become something as interesting as it did. Back then, when I was just another voice in the crowd and Isaiah asked me to consider becoming a moderator, I was, frankly, terrified. I was then (and still am) learning about the team, the players, the history and how to watch and explain matches. Thoughts became reviews became something else, etc, etc.
When The Offside/Barcelona expanded into Barcelona Football Blog, leaving the comforting arms of The Offside corporate family, it was a risk. As the space grew and grew, into what I still believe to be the best English-language Barça site out there because of what it does, it also seemed something of a family because the comments space was a significant part of the feeling and mood of the space. We developed one hell of a powerhouse team for a while. Mods came and went, commenters came and went but through it all, the sense of pulling toward a common goal and a common love always remained intact.
I’ve tried to walk away from this space more than a few times for many reasons, and could always find a reason to stay. Time crunches were worked around by not spending more than an hour on any post, etc. Someone or something, usually me, has always worked to keep me here, often a sense of obligation in not wanting to see something that was so much fun wither on the vine. It’s huge fun thinking about the club in ways that are outside of the norm, being able to roll in after an event and contribute something that I hoped would spark discussion. I learned a lot, and hopefully shared something of what I had with people.
Things are very different these days, and not just the state of discourse. The site’s spiritual father has returned, which is huge. Isaiah is a writer whose quality attracted me to The Offside/Barcelona back in the day, and still makes me green with envy. He loves this club just as much as any of us, even if, as with all of us, real life conspired to intrude on his active demonstration of that love. His return makes me a lot more comfortable and confident in being able to move on with a clear mind.
Being better at “Hellos” than “farewells” (and who isn’t?), it’s easy and pleasing to say that the blog will be in excellent hands with Isaiah and Levon, and probably a few other mods who will be stepping up to the plate. Don’t be shy about shooting Isaiah a note. There have been some top-quality comments flowing here. In the past, commenters such as Kari, Euler, nzm and blitzen moved up from the comments space, and I am sure that will happen again. It’s the way that it always does, as in many ways a comments space is like Barça B, right? There will also be the likes of SoccerMom, whose stuff deserves a lot more love than it gets. She’s also in my “green with envy” group.
But my time here has run its course. I will certainly find other outlets for writing about Barça and the beautiful game, as that’s just too much fun to stop. But as with any family, there are changes: divorces, kids growing up, and the like. It’s part of the deal. The fun that was had here was huge, and there have been some memorable commenters along that road, from Euler to Ramzi, ciaran and Jim, Jnice, Jawsytown who always held my ideas’ feet to the fire, Peter, barca96, CuleToon with the insider’s view and so many, many others who shared knowledge and insight that I, and hopefully others, learned from. Frankly, the smartest thing we did was opening comments to one and all registered users. So much good has come from that, things that have made this space and its writers better.
Most important is that the space isn’t going to die, most assuredly. I’m over the moon to be able to hand it over to its father. And as much as I dislike official goodbyes, just wanted to put something up for folks who might wonder, “Whatever happened to that jackass?”
Thanks again, and for anyone interested, I am @kevvwill on Twitter. Visca!