Posts Tagged ‘Clay Travis’

A Changing of the Guard…

As I mentioned the other day, any of you that have regularly read Gate 21 have probably notice the deafening sound of the silence here for the past month or so.  That silence was prelude to this post.  There is no better way to say it than to quote the words of the legendary John Ward:

It’s Time…

I started Gate 21 in 2007 not really knowing what I was getting myself into.  I really had no concept of what it was that I wanted to do with the site or, in fact, how I would do it.  I just decided one day that I could write a blog as well as the next guy and within 10 minutes, the original version of Gate 21 was live for all to see over at WordPress.com.  Within 2 months, I had over 10,000 visitors and had taken the site to a privately hosted (i.e. I had to pay for it) server and debuted the cartoonish looking site that hung around until mid-2009 when I overhauled the site once again.  You are looking at that version now.

Since that less-than-auspicious beginning in 2007 I have spent literally thousands of hours writing, designing, re-vamping, updating, and otherwise working on producing and publishing Gate 21.  Along the way I have had had the help of many, many, people.  These would include writers HomeSweetHome and VolAmbassador, who have both made major contributions to the site over the past several years.  Then there were others across the blogosphere who have both assisted and collaborated with me on articles, memes, roundtables, Power Polls, BlogPolls, and running jokes.  These would include folks like Ghost of Neyland, MoonDog, LSUFreek, Will, Hooper, and of course—the best of the best—Joel at Rocky Top Talk.  These are but a few of the many with whom I have interacted and with which I have had the pleasure to become acquainted.

Then there are those of you out there across the blogosphere and the wider arc of the internet that have visited my humble site and read a bit of what I had to say.  There are even those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment here and there.  To each and every one of you I offer my sincerest gratitude for more than 2 years of interaction across the divide that is the internet.  I have not always been right about things, I have not always been seriousI have not always been couth, but I have always tried to be honest about my views and perspectives on the world around me and my love for the Tennessee Volunteers.  All I can say is that these last 2 1/2 years have truly been a pleasure.

All things, however, must come to an end…

Thus, while it pains me on many levels, this will likely be the last post on Gate 21, at least for the foreseeable future.  And, now it is time for the Gate to close.

The thousands of hours that I have spent on this site have been a labor of love, as blogging always is.  While I may have advertisements here on the Gate, the fact of the matter is that I have lost money on this endeavour from the outset.  The cost of hosting the site alone has been substantial.  Yet, this exploration of “Life, the Universe, and the Bounce of the Ball” (Thank you Douglas Adams) has been a welcome and wonderful creative outlet for me, and one which has been far more “therapeutic” than I ever imagined.  And to those of you who have visited and taken the time to comment all I will say is that you never know just how much a single sentence left in the comment box or via Twitter really means to folks like myself who are blogging their lives away.

There’s really nothing that makes a writer feel better than knowing what they wrote was interesting enough that someone felt compelled to respond…

Now, however, the demands of my “real” life are such that I simply cannot maintain the Gate in the way that I have in the past.  It is hard enough to run a site with substantial help and a bevy of free time.  It is next to impossible to do that alone while trying to maintain a job, a family, and some semblance of sanity.  As I have said before, the informational cycle on the blogosphere lasts approximately as long as the attention span of a hyperactive 4-year-old who just ate 5 bags of Skittles and washed them down with three cans of Red Bull, and I simply cannot keep up with that.  My lack of timely comment over the past football season stands as a testament to that reality and one which I simply can no longer ignore.

I know, Frank, shocking isn't it?

These sorts of conclusions are not always fun, but they are necessary.  I think Lieutenant Frank Drebin probably said it best:

A Spoonful of Drano sound bite

Okay, enough of the depressing stuff, now for the good news…

For those of you who have enjoyed my writing—though I am certain there aren’t that many of you—take heart!  I am not abandoning my devotion to Tennessee athletics only to go gentle into that good night.  While I may not be able to justify continuing on here at the Gate, I fully intend to continue writing about the Vols.  Why?  Because, in the words of Clay Travis, I simply cannot imagine not doing it.

VolNation Thus, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce that, effective immediately, I will be joining on as a writer for the VolNation Blog.  Thus, any of you who wish continue to read my mindless prattling, I’ll still be around.  I cannot overstate how lucky I feel at having the chance to jump on board at VolNation, and I hope to see some of you over there in the near future.  While my time at Gate 21 is now at an end, I am extremely excited about what the future holds in store for me at VolNation.

In the meantime, the Gate will not be disappearing (though, after the next few days, I really won’t be monitoring comments any longer).  It will still be here and you will still be able to send me hate mail via the contact form here on the site, at the email address listed in the sidebar and on the Ushers page, or via Twitter.  For those of you who have subscribed to the RSS feed here at the Gate, you can now follow me via the feed at the VolNation Blog.  The Gate will now take its place among the so-called “dotsam and netsam” that floats across the web.  Everything will stay right where it is—most notably, my tribute to Sam and Andy’s.

As for me, I am on to a new home on the web and new challenges.

So, for the last time, I bid you farewell from Gate 21.  To each of you out there with whom I’ve come in contact as a result of my time publishing Gate 21 over the past 2 1/2 years, I say thank you for reading, best wishes, and Godspeed.  Now, more than ever, I suppose my signature “tagline seems appropriate.  Thus, I will end this final post as I have ended those that came before it.

Until we meet again … Go Vols!

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

2009 Big Orange Roundtable: Week 8 — The Kickoff Edition

Gate 21 is proud to host this week’s Roundtable!

It’s Time…

This week’s Big Orange Roundtable is hosted by … ummm … oh, yeah, it’s our week.  We here at the Gate are proud to host the 2009 kickoff edition of the Big Orange Roundtable as we all get ready to tee it up and kick it down for the 112th season of Tennessee Volunteers Football.

With that lovely prospect in mind, let’s get down to business:

Week 8

1) (From HSH)  We’ve talked through the past month or so about just about everything we could talk about regarding this Tennessee team: the quarterbacks, offensive line, freshman, Eric Berry, finding healthy wide receivers, freshman again, etc. So the simple question is this: what do you expect or what specifically are you looking for from the Vols against Western Kentucky this Saturday?

bullet HSH: First things first, Western Kentucky is not going to be anything close to resembling a quality football team.  They were recently a power in 1-AA, but this is their first full year in 1-A, and have the potential to be one of the worst teams to come to Neyland Stadium in a while (yes, I’m including Wyoming).  They went just 2-10 last year (the wins were Eastern Kentucky and Murray State) and return just 12 starters from that team.

So if Tennessee hangs 60 points on the Hilltoppers, oh, well it was just Western Kentucky, right?  Not exactly.  I want to see Tennessee score lots of points Saturday afternoon.  I expect Lane Kiffin will want to pound the rock with the running backs.  I want to see a confident Jonathan Crompton that doesn’t make any mistakes and crisply runs the offense.

Defensively, I want to see which freshmen make an early impact in their first games, and how they handle playing for real.  On both sides, I want to see swagger—OK, it’s WKU, but we could be playing my high school’s team and I would still want to see our players have a wealth of confidence in themselves and their coaches that creates said swagger.


bullet Lawvol: I expect and hope to see a few things.  First, I am not exactly expecting grandeur for this first game of the 2009 season, but what I am expecting to see is poise and purpose.  I am hoping that this team brings their attitude—one which was sorely missing last season—and refuses to play down to the level of their opponent which they should beat under almost any circumstance.

Let’s be honest, Western Kentucky went 2-10 last season which made even the Vols’ 5-7 campaign seem decent.  Prior to 2008, however, Western Kentucky had a streak of 12 straight winning seasons, and look to be on the upswing.  That said, The Vols have got to play with a little spark and bring their best game to their opponent—regardless of the quality of that opponent.  The Vols have to play their game and not let it be dictated to them by their opponent.

Most of all, I am looking to see a team that is glad to be on the field playing once more.  I hope that we begin to see the development of the new Kiffin system and hopefully get a huge relief when the quarterback play is surprisingly crisp and effective.  This is a confidence game which is only a good thing if you perform in a manner that inspires confidence

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Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top”: Beautiful Agony

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

On Rocky Top After living through the unmitigated disaster that was the 2008 football season for the Tennessee Volunteers, I was not so sure I was prepared to take a stroll with Clay Travis down memory lane via his new book “On Rocky Top.”  The 2008 season was the most gut-wrenching experience of my sports-watching life, one which Travis himself likened to having your arm amputated without laudanum.  It was truly painful and not merely because the Vols lost seven games.  Losing comes with competition, I can handle losing.  Watching an entire program, an entire fanbase, an entire state devolve into a constant state of turmoil, however, was the part that made it an experience that I was more than ready to forget.  Even  after nine months of good vibrations—buoyed up by the hopes and energy of new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin and his band of invincibles—assuming that I was prepared to join Travis’ on his retrospective journey through the 2008 season, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to make that trip into the past.

I suppose, I was just ready to move on.

When first I saw that Clay Travis had written a book on the Vols 2008 football campaign, my reaction was that he picked one hell of a bad year to write about Tennessee.  I knew Clay was a fine writer, having read his work for CBS Sports.com, Fanhouse, and his book Dixieland Delight.  Still, I remember thinking to myself “Man, that really stinks for Clay—all that work to write a book about a 5-7 season.” After all, who wants to read about a team that loses, and loses a lot?

You do.

Clay Travis’ new book “On Rocky Top” is one of the best sports books I have read in a long time.

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Headlines, Links & Lies: “Shystering is Hard Work” Edition

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

Lovin’ ‘da Law

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a bit scarce lately.  Such is the nature of a lucrative, overly time consuming, and somewhat sketchy litigation practice.  For the record, if taking 14 depositions in 16 days is on your list of things to do, take it from me: skip it.

There have been a lot of things going on lately, but, in light of my near-perpetual absence over the last fortnight, I’ve had little to no opportunity to say one thing about any of them.  Thus, here are a few items of interest I felt like passing along:

bullet Clay Travis’ “On Rocky Top” is Released:

You’re going to be hearing a lot about this book, including my own review which I hope to post later this week.  In short, Travis’ new offering is outstanding.  I have read a lot of sports books over the years, and this one is one of the best.  What’s more, you do not have to be a fan of the Tennessee Volunteers to enjoy this wonderful look at SEC football and—more importantly—SEC fandom.

You may remember Clay Travis from his days at DeadSpin and as a contributor on CBS Sports.com.  He is also the author of “Dixeland Delight” and “Man! The Book” as well as a contributor to the “Rocky Top 2009” annual published by Maple Street Press (to which I also contributed).

Seriously, if you are a fan of SEC football, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Travis’ new book.  Trust me, you will be glad you did.  “On Rocky Top” is now available at bookstores or through web retailers such as Amazon.com.

I’ll be offering up a little more on this one in the near future…

bullet The 2009 CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll

Yes, yes, friends and neighbors, once again the powers that be have elected to allow yours truly to participate in the CBS Sports College Football BlogPoll.  All I can say is that I am truly honored to get the chance to cast my weekly vote for the Top 25 college football programs and to be counted among some of the best of the best in the blogosphere, and, yes, there are a bunch of great blogs involved, including my brethren at Rocky Top Talk and 3SIB.

The format for the 2009 BlogPoll will be the same as in the past.  Each week, I will post a Draft or Preliminary Ballot after the conclusion of the week’s football frivolity (usually on Sunday night or Monday morning) for those of you out there to attack and destroy with all your gusto and might via your comments.  Please, feel free to try and convince me that I am wrong or flame me for being an idiot.  Interaction with the fan community is a core component of the BlogPoll philosophy.  I promise that I will consider all comments.  Thereafter (around Wednesday-ish) I will—at least in theory—post a revised ballot noting any changes made as a result of your insults input and epithets suggestions or based upon other developments around the world of college football.  From there, the collective will of blogosphere will be posted for all to see at CBS Sports.com, along with an analysis of the week’s balloting by the BlogPoll Illustrious Potentate, Brian Cook of the venerable MGOBlog.

In any event, the BlogPoll is a really wonderful partnership between the traditional media and the world of sports-bloggers (dare I say, “the Fifth Estate”?) and is a lot of fun for voters and readers alike.  Look for the first ballot next week.

bullet SEC Power Poll

In much the same vein, as above, Gate 21 will be kicking off it’s participation in the 2009 SEC Power Poll, which brings SEC sports-bloggers together to rank each of the SEC schools on a weekly basis.  Last year this was a ton of fun.  Just like with the BlogPoll, I promise to consider any and all comments from the peanut gallery regarding my weekly ballots.

Once submitted, each week Power Poll is analyzed and sensationalized by the CockNFire of Garnet and Black Attack and Team Speed Kills.  For me, this is one of the best opportunities in blogging.  As a dyed-in-the-wool SEC fan, there is nothing closer to my heart than all things “ESS-EEE-SEE!”  I have also been known to … err … take a bit of creative license with my analyses of the various team, but I figure, what the hell?

bullet RTT College Football Pick ‘em Pool

Though I had given some thought to creating my own weekly college football pick’em contest, I decided that the best option was simply to ride the coattails of the competent collaborate with others.  Furthermore, I just enjoy it more when there are more folks involved, thus, I will be participating in Rocky Top Talk’s College Pick’em Pool which is hosted at Fun Office Pools.com.  The interface and function is easy to use, and it is just a lot of fun to show the entire world just how brilliant or how stupid you are.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?  All you have to do is sign up and you’re good to go.  Be sure to jump in before the season starts.

Oh, and I assure you that the College Pick’em Pool does not violate the SEC’s new Media Policy (which is as laughable as it is draconian).

Yeah, I know, not much in the way of substance, but this lawyerin’ is getting to be like having a job…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters


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