So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security and conformity, which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. – John Krakauer, Into the Wild
I am retiring. Let’s not bury the lede.
Effective October 1, I will be stepping down as the official site manager for Roll ‘Bama Roll. And I say “official,” because aside from who gets harassed the most via email or has the most administrative work, we are a democratic bunch. We work together for the benefit of the site and for you. It has been a long five years, for both good and ill. During that time, I have gotten to see, and meet, and cover a lot of remarkable things and people. Many of those experiences are episodic flashbulbs that will never fade with the twilight of age and ennui.
I want to think that I leave behind something stronger and more vibrant than what I inherited, even if it was not necessarily without disagreement. I am not casting aspersions on anyone, obviously; growth is the human condition, and we have always tried to grow, to move beyond status quo. I began writing for the site as a contributor in 2012; then later as an editor in 2013. On January 15, 2015, I took over day-to-day site management. In that half-decade, I have written 1228 articles and 144 fanposts — almost one a day, every day. We have had some new faces file in and some old ones depart. As society has moved around us, we retired some features. As readership has grown, we have also tried to add some more. The private feedback I received made me realize that we had to become a more inclusive bunch, which we also tried to do. I fought tooth and nail for this site and the people who staff it: to make good relations with other sites, to gain national credibility, to increase our press access, to get more money for existing writers and to gain additional money to add new personnel. And, perhaps most importantly, to find stability. And the past three years we have finally found that with our core group: Me, Josh, CB, Brent, Parker, Roger, Jordan, and Balloons. That has meant the world in the quality of the content we produce for you and our number of readers — we are bigger now, and I hope better. And, I hope that in the coming years it will be an even bigger, even better place than it is today.
So, what changes?
The good news (unless you hate me) is that you won’t really notice much of a difference. Josh and I will be switching places, and, no, we haven’t told SBN that either. Better to ask forgiveness than beg for permission in this case. This will ensure continuity for the community and for our content
plus, he’s just dumb enough to want to take the job. He will undoubtedly have new ideas, new ways of doing things, new standards, new content, new faces. Life is about change; so give him that room to try and make this community an even better one.
That said, I won’t ghost entirely. I still plan to write for the site. I began this as a hobby, never intending for it to take on its oversized role in my life as a second job. And I still enjoy that writing. But, I have received a literal life-changing opportunity that will require me to close my practice, move out of state — out of the entire region — and learn an entirely new, complex area of law. I didn’t ask for the opportunity; I was poached (and don’t think my ego doesn’t enjoy that to the nth degree). But, such a unicorn falling into my lap will also require the surrender of many freedoms I have enjoyed the past several years. And part of that surrender is the inability to man the helm of RBR, to drop what I’m doing on a random weekday and head to Tuscaloosa, to stay constantly abreast of changing circumstances and breaking news. I will miss it…almost as much as I will enjoy being freed from the constant obligation.
I have been active on the site since October of 2007, when I was fresh out of school. And a lot has changed in those dozen years. But I have been there with you during all of them: Graduation, bar exams, the Great Recession, layovers in Hawaii and Omaha and Memphis, being laid off at a Big Law job, starting my own practice, a divorce, two bouts of cancer, becoming sober, a child that I saw grow from adolescence into a college senior. Real life, a life in equal measure triumphal and defeating.
But it is time — it is well-past time. And this has been a great ride, our occasional fights and tiffs and peevishness aside. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. You made it worthwhile. Thank you, and thank you for reading.
P.S. Even if you loathe me, I do leave something behind that I hope you’ve appreciated: I’ve still never banned a single person on this site for disagreeing with me or even personally attacking me. I wanted a return to the thunderdome, a place where people would not be shouted down, rather we could be a collectively self-monitoring community and behave like grownups…and I think we got there 🙂
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