Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Celebrating a Year of Awesomeness

Note: This post is a bit lengthy, link-heavy and a tad nostalgic.

Today, this fine web site turns one year old. That's right, folks, I've been supplying you all with quality work for 365 days now. It's a milestone that I'm quite proud of, considering the humble beginnings of this blog.

It all began with a rather mundane post following the Dolphins loss to the Texans last season. Well, that was the inaugural post for this blog. It really began a week or so before that, when I came up with the idea for this site. I had been an avid reader of several other blogs, and have been studying journalism in college, and knew I wanted to go into sports writing. That's when it clicked and I decided I wanted to start a sports blog.

Now that the idea was there, I had to come up with a name. I tossed around some ideas in my head before finally settling on "Fourth and Fail." Now I'm sure you are all curious as to the origins of the name. It's a reason I've always known about since this blog's inception, but have told few other people about. The reasoning behind the name can be traced back to Florida's game against Ole Miss last season. You know, the lone loss en route to another national title for the Gators. That game, Florida failed on a fourth down conversion late in the game that sealed the victory for the Rebels. I went with it because it was fresh in my mind, and well, it was kind of catchy. Unbeknownst to me, that moment became the turning point in Florida's title run.

Coming into this experience, I didn't know what to expect. I wanted to provide sports commentary, and focus on Florida sports because well, that's my territory and what I'm surrounded by every day. I wasn't necessarily looking for recognition, but would gladly take any that came along during the ride.

Shortly after that first post, I got my first taste of recognition when other sites linked to my post (complete with photoshopping!) with college football coaches as character's on HBO's Entourage.

Since then, I continued with a variety of posts, some introspective, some comedic (or a failed attempt at being comedic), and certainly more than my fair share of lists. I wrote posts that would have gotten me drawn and quartered if I tried to make my case in a public forum, such as my argument for why college football needs the BCS. That same month, I offered up an open letter to Roger Goodell to adopt the college football overtime system following a tie between the Eagles and Bengals, and I even suggested a way to crown a champion in the cluttered ACC.

As time went by, I worked on refining my writing approach and creating my own editorial voice. When Alonzo Mourning retired, a penned a tribute to his illustrious career with the Heat. That same month, I wrote about another South Florida basketball legend: Edwin Rios, except this was the story of his fall from grace.

Again, I kept working to better myself as a writer... and of course, compiled more lists. I celebrated March Madness, shared my (failed) brackets. And of course, I celebrated the biggest holiday in March: Shawn Bradley's birthday.

I witnessed UF freshman Preston Tucker belt 2 grand slams and a three-run jack... in three innings. I took an alphabetic approach to previewing the NBA, MLB and NFL. Then this summer, things got real.

I was fortunate to interview two of my favorite sports writers, Stewart Mandel of SI and Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald, within a two-week span of each other. It was almost a surreal experience, getting to pick the brains of two guys who's work I read on a regular basis.

I saluted Mark Buerhle's perfect game, and attempted to rank each of the MLB's 18 perfect games. While we're on the topic of incredible baseball feats, I reviewed Rickey Henderson's much-anticipated Hall of Fame speech, which was, surprisingly, not Rickey talking about Rickey.

Over the last year, I've made some neat connections with other bloggers, including the guys over at Marlins Die-Hards, The Arena, Souvenir City, and several others. It introduced me to many other like-minded individuals and a myriad of other opinions and voices.

Then, last month, I got into the business of "aggressive expansion" and added two staff writers to the non-existent payroll around these parts. Shortly after that, I began contributing my services over at College Game Balls, where I exclusively write about college football (my favorite sport).

And that brings me to where I am now. It's been a great first year maintaining this site, and I hope to continue it for another year, and even further into the future. It's been a fun first year, and the fact that I've been able to do it my way has been great. I haven't resorted to gratuitous swearing, or the obligatory photos of attractive women that some blogs are noted for (though there's nothing wrong with either of those things). I enjoy reading those posts, but writing them has just not been my style, at least on this site. I like to try to keep it somewhat journalistic, because at the end of the day, I am a journalism major. Still, it's been an enjoyable run to date.

I hope you all have enjoyed at least one post that has been published here over the last 365 days, because if you did, then I have achieved my goal of trying to provide you with my insightful, and at times comedic, view into the world of sports. Thank you again for reading me on a (semi-?)regular basis, and hope I can keep pumping out quality work for you all to enjoy.

That being said, let's blow out the candle, eat some cake, cue up the barbecue, bring out the booze and enjoy the bounce house! That's what kids do on their first birthday, right?


  1. I've enjoyed your insights and humor, but have great disdain for you blatant and unfounded homerism towrds the Gators. However, your homerism towards the Dolphins, Marlins and Heat is quite agreeable and perfectly reasonable.

    Now, where is my pre-game USF vs "Chick-Fil-A symbols" analysis? Isn't one of your staff writers on that beat? C'mon man, make it happen.

  2. yeah lets hurry up and cut the cake because you know the chubby author is gonna get cranky if we dont eat again in the next 10 minutes.

  3. Someone seems to have a new-found sense of self after finally winning a fantasy game.

  4. first of many tomas ...first of many!

  5. Except for week 8, when I let AD go rampant on your team.
    /just sayin

  6. ad will be offset by a monster game from fitz.

    /fer serial

  7. Sr. Verde, thanks for retrospective and the past year of enjoyable writing. As a Gators and Fins fan on the West Coast I appreciate the coverage and insights into my favorite teams. I'm looking forward to the next year of your blog.