I can’t remember the first time I “spoke” with Kevin via the Internet, though I can remember the first time I met him in person. I was in Chicago visiting a couple of friends, taking a much needed break from New York, and I was sitting in a high school gym watching roller derby for the first (and to date only) time in my life. It was Kevin’s first roller derby match as well and he was giddy with finding this sudden and apparently rather serious subculture within the confines of his own city. Because my friend was reffing the match and I was otherwise alone, I had been instructed to watch a video detailing the rules of roller derby and I think I might have even had it on my phone at the time to give me a refresher when I had no idea what was going on. I probably prattled about the rules, thinking I understood things, since I tend to prattle. Kevin just grinned and nodded, so consumed with watching this whole thing, that pretty quickly his general approach of all in or nothing was infectious enough to shut me up and focus me on the women speeding around a track.
It’s that same intensity and all-consuming fire that Kevin brought to BFB for so many years. And it’s that same fire and intensity that kept him going through the “lean” years when he was virtually the only voice on the blog. I calculated that he wrote infinity kajillion words over the last 2 years and that he did it in the amount of time it’s going to take me to write this single post. He and I disagreed on a lot of Barça things, possibly on more things than we ever agreed on, but he always brought his willingness to write through the growing pains, which fascinated me as a writer and continues to fascinate me as a thinker. I always secretly compared him to Andrew Sullivan, whose voice and style were for years a somewhat under-the-radar pleasure of mine. Like Sully, Kevin has been accused of “blog first, ask questions later,” but, as with Sully, that’s a mistake.
Kevin may be a lot of things but a bad writer he is not. He is always straight to the point; often I disagreed with the gist of an article, but I never disagreed with his willingness to state his opinions in bold letters, which, if you were around this blog more than 2 years ago, you know can be somewhat of a issue for me. Beyond that, he is a fantastic editor. Whenever I send him a post or an article to edit, his thoughts are straightforward; the knife he uses to destroy my pieces is sharp and exacting, but always pleasant, like some sort of anesthetized medical procedure where you thank the doctor before the pain sets in and you curse him until you realize how necessary the surgery was. My favorite part of that analogy is how Kevin is currently cringing and thinking I should get to the damned point. Sorry, bud.
Behind-the-scenes here at the blog we keep in touch with email threads, sometimes blending shop talk about who will post what and when with small scale threads and or large scale link explosions. In one, Kevin was compared to Xavi, going out with a treble because, like Xavi, Kevin is leaving the team. It’s a nice comparison, but I’d like to think instead that Kevin is going out like Guardiola the coach: on his own terms at his own moment. Burnout is real and the constant nattering of small-minded commenters will wear on you after a while, regardless of whether you’re part of a blog team or a world-beating football team. I feel like Tata Martino right now, jumping in on the heels of dynasty, just hoping that things go well enough to not get fired. We’ll see about that, I guess.
And so here we are, saying goodbye. It’s been many, many moons since that day in Chicago, but someday soon, we’ll have to go see the Outfit (Chicago’s derby little secret!) again and maybe we’ll talk about Barça or maybe we’ll just watch in silence as the wheels roll around. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and be where you are.