Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

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.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

16 Comments

  1. June 19, 2015

    It is definitely not good news, to log into BFB immediately on finding net connection and to know Kevin is leaving. I have disagreed more with him than I could agree. But there is no doubt that he, nearly singlehanded, took the responsibility for keeping this space alive. I was a reader since the offside days, but didnt had the courage to comment, not sure about my English skills as this site looked like a place for people with good knowledge of the language, and I remember, the first time I commented here was to disagree with Kevin on something : )

    I just hope, he will not be away for long and this would be only a short exile.
    In the meantime, hoping BFB flag will keep flying high.

    • Dreamteam
      June 19, 2015

      Maybe now we can disagree in peace without being lectured/made to feel stupid/ having our POV marginalized by being labeled as an “attack”. Credit to him keeping the space alive but I did not like how he conducted himself at times.

    • untoxgsd
      June 20, 2015

      Wow man, really? Did you really think it was necessary to post your comment twice? T

    • June 20, 2015

      It’s not possible to embed a video of Mel Gibson screaming “Freeeeeeeduuuuuuuuuuuhm!” so he’s doing this instead.

    • untoxgsd
      June 20, 2015

      The attitude of your comment is very uncalled for and I don’t really see its necessity. You made your point in the last post, no need to say it again. Unlike you some of us respect Kxevin’s writing and have read his posts for a long time. The eagerness of reading one of his posts after a game was over was a weekly routine for most of us here. I really thought that this blog was way more than the penaldo,pessi,divemar sports pages out there.

    • untoxgsd
      June 20, 2015

      Not directed to you Peter by the way. And I understand why I might get moderated, but oh well!!

  2. raj
    June 19, 2015

    Ah, such a downer isn’t it. I am so angry right now. I am one of the many who usually found Kevins views not completely agreeable, which is very much the point of this space, but the disappointing tone of some commentators while expressing the dissent made even me uncomfortable. I get why Kevins leaving, I think everyone who reads him gets him. Maybe I am at fault too, by being too lazy to stand up loudly and oppose those who brought this about with all the bitter comments, even as I know Kevin doesn’t need anyone supporting him. Those who attacked him based on HIS articles decide to stay and continue in the same style (by whatever right they may have) while Kevin who has every right to block anyone off from here (or the damn whole place itself) if he wished to, decided to take the high way. The irony!

    Well, I was always awed by the writing skills of Kevin and the thoughts he brought to the table. Thank you for making being a fan of FCB such a joy.

  3. Inamess
    June 19, 2015

    Welcome back Isaiah! It a great time to be a Barca fan and I’m looking forward to a great future at BFB. For me this my favorite Barca site not only because of the excellent writing but also because of the diversity and quality of the comments. I see no reason why that will change at all and can’t get even better.

    In terms of upcoming events there is much to look forward to even if we won’t buy any players over the summer:

    1) An acrimonious and highly entertaining election that might be closer than many expected.

    2) A Copa America that at least at this point looks like it’s Argentina’s to lose though there could be some surprises as well including a comeback for Neymar if Brazil can get its act together.

    3) The future of one Marc Bartra, who must decide what the best choice for his career is at this point.

    Loking forward to see how these things unfold and more.

    • Tommy11
      June 20, 2015

      1) I guess the presidential election is as dicey as it has ever been- Laporta, Bartomeu et al
      2) Neymar’s Copa has come to an abrupt end- 4 match ban- for a rather stupidly expression of petulance. (besides I think the ban is extreme)
      3) News has it that LE has asked Batra to stay because he deems the defender a vital component for next season.

  4. luisthebeast
    June 19, 2015

    Will the LFP investigate the game Osasuna-Real Madrid 2-1 in 2009 after what Vallalolid said about 2m euros that Osasuna paid madrid?Because they investigate our game with La Coruna after a player said Xavi to play:hey dude feel soru for us.Lets see.

  5. luisthebeast
    June 19, 2015

    Osasuna gate is a very serious case and shows the corruption of Spanish football.Carlos Suarez,the president of Vallalolid,it s very unlikely to say those things if he have not serious evidents.He also spoke about Barcelona-Osasuna 0-1 in 2009 but he did not say that we took money.

  6. IamXavi6
    June 19, 2015

    Kevin…all the very best in your future plans.

  7. Jamal103
    June 19, 2015

    I think the 4 game ban for Neymar is incredibly harsh. Thoughts?

    • June 20, 2015

      More rest for our boy would be my first thought.

  8. icemel
    July 1, 2015

    Wow! Just getting the Kxevin news.
    Losing Xavi? This is more like losing a 40 year old Messi.
    I’m forever grateful for the many years Kevin amazed us, and I was there for Kevs first goal!(“Thank you Kevin’s Mom”)

    Only the return of Isaiah-dinho can slightly soften this blow.

    …you’ve been laying off the late night chocolate samba shakes I hope Iman. Welcome back.

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    March 4, 2016

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