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It’s been a hell of a ride, BON

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 AT&T Red River Showdown - Texas vs Oklahoma Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who the hell let me stick around this place for 8 years?

December 2014, I was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky writing for Kentucky Sports Radio and Rant Sports (I think that was it?), just trying to cut my teeth as a baby-faced writer/reporter/journalist, or whatever the hell I technically was. It doesn’t matter so much.

What mattered was as a lifelong Texas fan studying journalism, the literal dream was to write and cover the Longhorns.

I couldn’t even tell you how the conversation started, but somehow, I ended up sending Wescott some samples and next thing I know, I’m publishing a piece about Myles Turner needing to become a more consistent offensive threat for what was, seemingly a lifetime ago, Rick Barnes’ Longhorns. For those who’ve been around BON a while, I was the new kid when Peter Bean and Jeff Haley were writing some of the best damn Texas hoops content in the market.

And that’s all I was — a basketball writer. Not just at BON, but for the other gigs I was juggling, too. But here, for the first time, I was writing at a site I was truly excited about, writing about the team that had me glued to the TV every Saturday growing up.

A few months went by, I needed a summer internship and Wescott made it happen writing for Lindy’s Texas In The Huddle football preview magazine, the 2015 edition with Johnathan Gray on the cover. I still remember it well because not only was it my first time writing about Texas football, but my first time writing in an actual magazine. I lost my copy somewhere between moves from college apartment to college apartment, and back to San Antonio after school, but seeing my name in a magazine for the first time is still one of the coolest moments I had during my sports writing “career.”

After that, things just seemed to fit at BON.

I wasn’t just a basketball writer anymore. My name started popping up quite a bit more on the site for football, recruiting, and whatever the hell else we might have needed a few words on, and meanwhile, Wescott sunk way more time into my development as a writer than I probably deserved, but it definitely meant a lot — then and now.

I guess the writing had improved enough to graduate from UK’s journalism school, and a couple weeks later, after a couple beers and a conversation, I somehow became an editor here.

Then came a lot more words, more responsibilities, and more fun — that part with little help from Texas football and basketball being hard to watch for much of my time here. But at the time, fresh out of college and full of ambition, this was where I wanted to be. I was given a remarkable amount of freedom to pretty much write about whatever I wanted, grow in areas I wanted, and just be myself and find my voice as a writer.

I never considered myself a reporter, but I got to spend a decent amount of time catching games and helping recruits tell their stories, and ultimately, covering UT basketball in person — something I previously missed out on while in Kentucky. And meanwhile, Wescott kept doing his part to let me chase the dream and make a bit of a living writing about Texas sports.

I explored other opportunities early in my career, but for some reason, I couldn’t quite leave this place. Not completely. Not even when, thanks almost entirely to my role at BON, I got hired as an editor at USAA.

In hindsight, I guess that was the beginning of the end, though, but I definitely dragged this shit out as long as I could. I did what I could in the time that I had for a couple years, then left USAA for a UX role in tech, so writing after a day at work where I’m writing all day was becoming even more difficult. I was still lucky enough to still have the freedom to stick around here and write what I wanted when I could, but priorities change, interests change, and life is busy so you can’t do everything.

So, after 8-plus years, 2,404 stories, and more than my 10,000 hours of time and energy put into this BON, it’s time to call it a “career.”

I’ve watched as we’ve done millions of views in a month and been pretty damn proud of what, in a small way, I was able to help keep building BON into. And it helped build me as a writer, and was an amazing springboard for the career I now have. But more than that, I’ve met more than a few folks through this site than I can call a friend — Wescott, Gerald Goodridge, Daniel Seahorn, Corey Elliot, Cameron Parker, and Joe Hamilton, just to name a few.

Now that this chapter is closed, I’m not quite sure if this is what I expected from my sports writing career when I got into it, but I’m pretty damn happy with the way it turned out. This site and everyone who’s been a part of it helped me live the dream, but I’m on to new dreams now.

For the faithful readers here, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my words even a small bit as much as I’ve loved writing them.

It’s been a hell of a ride, BON! Hook ‘Em!