I hope you all had as wonderful of a holiday weekend as I did. Spending lots of do-nothing time with friends and family is a great way to relax, recharge, and reinvigorate yourself. I also went to my official 10-year high school reunion--nothing screams “high school” like having two reunions—and I’m still kind of grooving off of the whole reconnection vibe.
In that spirit, I'm going to virtually reconnect with a lot of the folks who've been there for me throughout the eleven months I've been writing. In absolutely no particular order . . .
- Steve from Detroit Lions Weblog was an early inspiration. When I was considering starting TLIW, I knew absolutely nothing about the Lions blogosphere. I spent a couple of weeks looking around to see what blogs were out there already, what was being written, and what was being read. I was taken by Steve's ability to simply write about the Lions, holding nothing back in either emotion or vocabulary. Reading him express himself completely, and then let those words stand alone, convinced me that what I wanted to do could be done.
- Reverend Spielman over at the Church of Schwartz has put together what just might be the best regular feature of the Lions blogosphere: the Lions Congregation. This roundtable of Lions bloggers, discussing three new Reverend-composed questions, has sussed out the gamut of reasonable opinions on almost every Lions topic. Frankly, it’s a must-read for anyone who likes intelligent Lions analysis. Beyond the Congregation, the Rev and his partner, Deacon Blades Boyd, do some very sharp analysis of their own. They also hail from the Great White North, and therefore connect a lot of international readers with the greater Lions community.
- Phil Zaroo over at Mlive has been an incredible boon to me, and the rest of the Lions blogosphere. Phil reads just about every Lions blog there is, and regularly links the best of all of them (and me) in his Highlight Reel blog, which has provided me with the lion’s share (ha ha) of my exposure and traffic. However, Phil's much more than a linking machine. He writes with his own voice, both frequently and well.
- Kevin Seifert at ESPN.com is technically an “NFC North” blogger. However, he not only has the regional knowledge of being a Vikings beat for years, has the sources and resources of the Worldwide Leader at his fingertips, he takes the time to do a genuinely awesome job with his Lions analysis. He also did me the amazing favor of writing about, and linking to, a TLIW post.
- David M of NFL Draft Blogger has all the college pigskin knowledge I lack, and he puts that to good work doing all the draft prep that I, at best, put off until February. He’s also a Lions fan, and both reads and comments here from time to time. Frequently, we pick each other’s brain over IM, and the result is better stuff for all you folks.
- Sean Yuille at the Pride of Detroit does an amazing job breaking down all the latest news, reports, and rumors about the Lions. He actually got a hold of the complete style sheet for the new Lions fonts, logo, and uniform weeks before anyone else had it. In my early days, I tried to keep pace with him on that stuff--it only took a couple of weeks before I realized I was just parroting him and knocked it off. More than that, though, I admire the way Sean has built a massive community; plenty of people write their own mini-blogs and one-shot posts under the umbrella of PoD.
- I would be beyond remiss if I didn't also mention DrewsLions, a regular poster at PoD, and an excellent commenter here. Drew writes from the heart, much as I do, and we’ve frequently admired each other’s work. This next bit has nothing to do with his writing or the Lions, but Drew has recently been through a profound personal struggle; I can only hope that if I were in the same situation, I’d have half of the resilience and strength of spirit he’s shown.
- No rundown of awesome dudes in the Lions blogosphere could be without Greg Eno, and his partner in knee-jerking, Big Al of the Wayne Fontes Experience. Their weekly Blog Talk Radio show/podcast, “The Knee Jerks”, is a whole lot of good talk, good interviews, and just plain good stuff on all the Detroit pro teams. Both Greg and Big Al are well-spoken on air, comfortable with each other, and clearly have a good time while they’re doing it. Greg’s a professional writer who’s started and maintained several outstanding blogs—notably, Out of Bounds, and enotes (non-sports). Big Al is a very smart, very funny guy who is unafraid to drop Star Trek, Life is Hell, Invader Zim, or The Three Stooges screenshots into his work—sometimes, all in the same post! His weekly Facepalm Awards are not to be missed; here’s a prime example. Big Al’s gotten a lot bigger lately with his incredibly invasive, but incredibly successful back surgery--here’s to that!
- Big Al's stuff has been so smart, so funny, so consistently, that he's been asked to contributed to Mlive.com's It’s Just Sports. Patrick Hayes and company over there consistently deliver the daily news about Michigan (and national) sports with a sly grin and a barbed stinger. They also did me the honor of a feature article and interview a little while ago, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.
- Speaking of smart and funny, Neil over at Armchair Linebacker is in a class all by himself. Any regular TLIW readers have both seen me highlight his work, and seen him comment here, many times. What Neil does is something I’m consistently astounded by: with wit, style, and sparkling prose he captures the profound depression and unstoppable optimism that comes with being a Lions fan. We’ve often noted that our work seems like two sides of the same coin: I soar through my blue-sky optimism on patched and tattered wings, while he trudges through the marshes of the river Styx, protecting his blue-flamed candle from the muck and the mire.
- Lastly, and very far from leastly, is DF79's Roar of the Lions. He started the way I did: with nothing but will a Blogspot account. However, he recently joined forces with Fanball to present the same great material in some very shiny new digs. He’s knowledgeable and analytical—yet, he writes with personality and passion, much as I do. As a fellow young father of multiple kids, he and I both experienced the great joys of mixing family and fandom. DF79 and I share a love of coffee, and we’ve even been lucky enough to share Lions talk over lattes at our mutual favorite establishment. He and his have also experienced a recent loss; I hope this time of reconnection helps his family recover.
I really could keep going for days; there are many folks (be they Lions-, sports-, or non-sports) that have inspired me from afar, checked out my writing, linked to my writing, collaborated with me, or otherwise deserve mention; there’s too many to list them all. I just wanted to take this time to make sure that everyone reading knows how much this site’s been lifted up by all my fellow Lions bloggers—most of whom have been plowing this frozen ground for far longer than I have. Infinite thanks to them, and to you.
Be well, everyone, and may peace be with you and yours throughout this holiday season.