Ten years ago, I was a senior journalism student at the University of Florida, trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. I knew, if all went well, I would be writing something, somewhere, for someone—and hopefully getting paid to do so. But, just in case, I was taking graduate courses in UF’s first sports-journalism graduate program. You know, should I find out I needed to spend a bit more time in Gatorland.
That year, ESPN The Magazine launched, a hipper, younger, more smart-ass take on something SI’d been doing for years: covering sports. I was an immediate fan. I loved the photography, the design and the vibe of the magazine. I knew I was interested in sports, but not sure I was interested in covering them in the way I had been at the Gainesville Sun and as a stringer for the Ocala Star Banner and St. Pete Times. I wanted to write about people, and loved writing features about the athletes who played the sports I covered. This new magazine, I connected with. Its writers weren’t covering games, or re-hashing yesterday’s events. They were telling stories about people who happened to play sports. I was drawn to it.
Five years later, I was employed by The Mag.
Last night, at a NYC club roughly the size of the Super Dome, we celebrated the magazine’s 10th anniversary. I’ve been with the company only half the mag’s lifetime, and quite a lot has changed in those years. Me, included.
It was a fun night. We reconnected with employees who’ve since moved on, listened to Third Eye Blind, a band some genius in party planning thought fulfilled the performance-by-a-band-popular-when the-mag-launched requirement. And we drank our weight in Mouse-funded well drinks. Overall, a fun night.
This issue of The Mag also celebrates our 10th anniversary. It’s a fun stroll down the ticker-tape covered, steroid-fueled streets that are the past 10 years. And a look at sports in the future. You know, when we all just sit around watching our avatars play games for us.