Resolutin': Lessons From 2006, Plans for '07

Leave it to SMQ to remind me of a post I've been meaning to write. Hell, if there's one thing I learned in 2006 it's that if I have a what I think is a good idea, odds are strong SMQ's posting it 10 minutes ago.

Anyway, SMQ has just completed a little end of year introspection, which happens to be an annual practice of one of my all time favorite baseball writers, Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus.

I've learned a lot this year, as we all do every year, and it's a good idea to walk through the way you think about things, evaluate where your blindspots are, and look at the big picture of matters.

You can't win 'em all, and how to talk about that Deep down, I knew Texas wouldn't repeat as national champions, but the high of the 22 game winning streak that we rode into early of this year did, in fact, cloud my judgment. I did my best to make sure I talked about things in "seriously not-biased Texas analyst" voice, but it was pretty much impossible to turn off the optimism.

I've talked about 28 Texas Longhorn football games since this blog was founded. And you know what? I've never predicted a loss. On the one hand, that's ridiculous. On the other, the team has gone 25-3 during that span. Still, if all the games played out how I had them figured in my head, the team would have gone 28-0. There's room for improvement, here. Both for Texas and myself!

The lesson, then, is to continue to be the fan that I am, but do my best to keep evolving as an objective observer. On gameday, there's no question that I'll be decked in burnt orange and completely, totally irrational. The rest of the time, though, there still exists room for improvement.

Cut back on the pedantry You poor, blessed, loyal souls suffer patiently through tens upon tens of thousands of my words. Apparently, enough of them entertain you to keep reading, but there must exist an untold number of words that make your eyes roll.

Yet, I've been no stranger to lecturing folks on poor exhibitions of analytical writing and thinking. I've scolded scores of Texas fans for their "unsophisticated analyses" of Greg Davis, and belittled folks for on the spot lashings out, as though I'm above petty emotional outbursts in matters related to my football team.

The lesson, then, is to try to be more embracing of opinions that differ from my own1, seeking constructive, positive ways to express my disagreement should such an expression be - in my best estimation - warranted and necessary.

I hinted at this when I nominated Dawg Sports' Kyle for a "Best Writing" award in the upcoming CFB Blog Awards, when I wrote:

One last word on Kyle's writing: he's not just thoughtful; he has a warmness with his words that serve to, ultimately, further strengthen his voice. There can be, at times, a bit of a culture of "one-upsmanship" in the blogosphere. Kyle always resists that temptation, writing consistently with a measured respect. Just one more feather in Kyle's very full cap.

One of the many great things about Kyle is you never have to go beyond the front page of his site to find an example of the point you're trying to make. Indeed, Kyle's most recent post is as good an example of measured, constructive, restrained, and gentlemanly discourse about a matter of great disagreement as your likely to find on Dawg Sports, or anywhere else.

Kyle's habit of discussing matters this way is the greatest of his many achievements. Striving to write more like Kyle, then, is perhaps the most worthy goal of mine in 2007.

1Except in matters relating to Vincent Paul Young, Jr., in which case all bets, and proverbial gloves, are off.

Edit More Y'all may not care much, but my habit of posting at a near-violent rate leaves far too many posts sloppily edited (if at all). More importantly, many important ideas are presented underdeveloped.

There are many reasons why I like posting throughout the day, as news and thoughts on the news develop organically. Still, one of my resolutions for 2007 is to make a conscious effort to spend more time with editing and thinking through analyses prior to posting.

Thank the readers more I try to make it clear how much this site is so much more than the initialed posters that stick the stories in the middle of your pages - it's about the readers and their voices, too. The diaries and commenting features on this, and every SBN, site were carefully thought through and implemented to try to maximize both your experience on the site and your stake in its output.

I'm pleased to report that we (SBN) are in the process of redesigning our sites to further maximize your involvement in what goes on here. We intend for individual readers to be able to create their own personal pages that fellow readers and site authors can visit. It won't be anything hokey or a tribute to MySpace - just another, more developed, outlet for your voice.

More generally, the clutter around the borders of the pages badly needs an update and reorganization. Ideally, this site should be a one-stop shop for Texas fans. You should be able to find everything you need about Texas either within the BON pages or in an easily navigable set of links. This, eventually, shall be provided. It's hard to find enough time.

Still, it's on the radar. And all this stuff at BON is coming about because this site has developed into the best community of Texas fans around. The level of discourse and interaction is virtually unparalleled, and we couldn't be more grateful for your loyal participation in the site.

Last, but most important: laugh at Bob Stoops more Both publicly and privately.

It's good for the soul. As BON loyalist DC Trojan so aptly said it, "Remember there is no "Z" in Boise. But there are two "S's" in Jackass and two "S's" in Stoops."

Yup.

Happy New Year, BON.

--PB--

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