William Faulkner wrote in Absalom! Absalom! that “there are some things for which three words are three too many, and three thousand words that many words too less.” Such is the case with my appreciation for my esteemed coauthor T. Kyle King. There are a lot of people in the intercollegiate sports blogosphere, hell, some who have graduated from it and into full-on mainstreamity, who can claim that they got into blogging because of Kyle and his work. Sadly I am not one of them. I had been blogging for several months at MaconDawg’s Blawg before I ever read Kyle’s Xanga site. However, once I discovered his site, it became obvious that it was the one Bulldog weblog (a term which no one other than Kyle King uses in regular conversation, by the way) which I needed to read on a daily basis. This was required for two reasons. First, because 17,000 words appeared there every day like clockwork as if the Stratemeyer Syndicate were locked in a room with nothing but reruns of College Gameday and a stack of fugitive agrarian tomes lovingly nicked from the library at Suwanee. Second, because it was good stuff. Every time.
Eventually, emulation being the sincerest form of flattery, I called Kyle to ask for some tips on how to succeed as a college sports blogger. He obliged me on that, but also made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He had been contacted about moving his study over to a fledgling network of sites called Sports Blog Nation. I think there were something like 5-7 sites on the network at the time, but Kyle believed that he needed to bring on someone to round out coverage of miscellany like recruiting, basketball, and barbeque. He knew people who knew me and had assured him that I was neither criminally insane, nor wanted by the law (at least not for anything serious). He couldn’t promise me that I’d make a lot of money writing for this new venture called “Dawg Sports”. In fact, he could promise me that I wouldn’t make much at all. But he did promise that it would be a lot of fun, and that this Sports Blog Nation thing might actually turn into something.
He was right on both accounts. SB Nation is now composed of over 300 separate sites covering everything from Welsh soccer to the White Sox to weightlifting. And I have in fact had a helluva lot of fun. I’ve met people I have come to call not only colleagues, but friends. I’ve gotten to watch a football game and drink a beer with readers of this site, an experience which still blows me away. I’ve gotten to talk to and know newsmakers in the college sports world. I’ve watched a lot of good football, a good bit of bad basketball, and more lacrosse than I ever would have been aware of were it not for Kyle.
Along the way, I’ve had a front row seat to watch the hardest working man in sportsblogging do that voodoo that he does so well. Kyle may not always be right. Or he may be. I’m sure he’ll let me know which is the case anon. But I’ve never seen him take any position on this site without thorough consideration, nor with any hint of personal rancor. In the grandest democratic tradition, Kyle may believe your opinion is wrong, short-sighted, un-American, anti-disestablishmentarian, or even truly and righteously stupid. But if expressed in terms that are respectful, he’ll defend your right to say it. And when tomorrow you are right as rain about something different, he will acknowledge that. It is this spirit that permeates Dawg Sports. The notion that we can disagree about sports (and other stuff) without being disagreeable is so integral to this site that, as Faulkner may have noted, it at once goes without saying yet cannot be said enough.
I cannot thank Kyle enough for fostering that spirit of respectful disagreement, good-natured contrarianism, and homegrown erudition. It’s a legacy which the rest of us will try to continue, knowing that Kyle is still around to remind us of it. And that if Auburn’s winning, Auburn’s cheating. Because again, certain things go without saying yet cannot be said often enough. Finally, as the newly solo Editor of Dawg Sports, I am pleased to bestow upon Kyle the title of Editor Emeritus. Congratulations, Kyle Weblog. You’ve earned it.
Kyle and I have... well, let's say... an interesting and varied history. Before I discovered Dawg Sports, I already respected Kyle's mind and wit, albeit as a formidable rival. When I stumbled upon the blog a little over 5 years ago, I actually decided to lurk for a while rather than immediately participate, primarily due to my previous relationship with Kyle and wariness at engaging with him. What I found, however, was that the level of discourse and discussion at Dawg Sports was unlike virtually other blog on the internet, and certainly unlike any other Georgia sports blog which I had previously visited. We all care passionately about the Georgia Bulldogs, and Kyle has found a "magic formula" that allows us to do that without having the discussion devolve into name-calling and mindless yelling. It was fun to participate, and it was an honor when he asked me (among others) to join the editorial team.
Now, I'm happy to say, I consider Kyle a friend, and while we're still rivals on the one issue that is internal to UGA, we are united in an even stronger purpose: supporting the University of Georgia in all its athletic and intercollegiate endeavors. We don't always agree; for instance, that Florida is our biggest rival and must be hated above all others; but we both care deeply and come together for a common cause: supporting the Dawgs.
It's been an honor serving with you, Mr. Mayor. I hope we continue to see you around these parts occasionally, and I wish you best of luck in all your future endeavors.
Kyle, you often reference Venn Diagrams. Our personal diagrams are fairly easy to figure out where they overlap. But you may not know that science has added to that model – adding a 3rd and 4th dimension, time and space. And for the last 4-5 years, we have added those dimensions in a way that was about all we could do given our distance. In fact, our time and space has been highly maximized in our diagram of overlapping interests and history! I couldn’t begin to thank you enough for everything you have done for me. I am a better writer and speaker today because of you and your weblog. But it’s so much more than that, you opened the door of opportunity allowing me to become a foremost writer on DawgSports as well as a so called “expert opinionator”, and then you took it even further, recommending me to the Dawg Gone Podcast and subsequent radio shows. How cool the time and space has been to have former and sometimes current Georgia athletes, administrators, and students reach out to me and communicate with me. In the last ten years, due to our ongoing Global War on Terrorism efforts, I have been so hugely disconnected from home, from Georgia, from UGA, from popular culture, from at times common America, that it has been a very strange journey to find what I’ve missed out on. Yet, during that time, because of your emails, and then your blog(s) and then your personal reaching out to involve me, I have become more grounded in the things that are closest to my heart and my soul in a way that would have otherwise left me fairly alone and without connections to home, Georgia, UGA, and most importantly, friends and family. Thank you so very much T Kyle King. G*d Bless, and I look forward to a more personal and close relationship in time and space as our Venn Diagrams continue to overlap.
So deeply and truly do I dislike the idea of thinking about the void that will be left by the departure of our Esteemed Mayor that the only thing I can say about this is that I will think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow, when I can stand it. I know he loves us, no one could do all that he has done for us and not love us. He will come back to us someday. I just know he will.
I was actually trying to use the term vel non in casual conversation the other day. I blame you, Kyle. I will miss your daily, and sometimes, multi-daily posts. Immensely. When I first happened upon your blog, I knew I had found a wonderful place for me to read about and share my thoughts about my beloved school with others who cared as much (or more) than I do. This is not to say that there are other wonderful Georgia-centric blogs out there because there are. But what you created really struck a (power) chord in me because it’s the blog I would have started if I knew how to write and/or start a blog. Dawg Sports became my home, my base on the blogosphere. And when I was asked to be a regular contributor (with Ban-Hammer rights and everything), the pride I felt rivaled just about any milestone I’ve ever managed to achieve in my life. Anyway, thanks for all you do and all you have done, Kyle. I hope we can have a cold one soon and talk about the weather, Auburn’s Follies, BBQ, Oxford Commas, and anything else that comes to mind. Notice I left out concision. I meant to do that. See you around, my friend.
Blogs and the communities that support them (if the blog is good enough even to have a community) have their own personalities. A blogger can't control the personality of the community, but he sets the tone. Like many, when I stumbled onto Dawg Sports -- I think it was about six years ago -- I was hooked. If one could catalogue the various bits and pieces of Kyle's style, one might identify the unique subset that prompted each of us to stay once we arrived. For me, that subset includes things like the italicization of foreign words and phrases, the hatred for Auburn, and the reverence for UGA and Bulldogs history -- all of which are not merely entertaining and pleasing to behold, but Essential Moral Virtues. Moreover, Kyle is more generous and indulgent than necessary. He has tolerated my scheduling incompetence and my compulsive non sequuntur (well, he actually encourages the latter, partly (if not mostly) because I'm the kind of guy who thus pluralizes "non sequitur").
I could say Kyle is a good man and be accurate. But more important than that, he earnestly tries to be a good man, and that's the highest response a man can give to the highest calling he hears. And while it may go without saying that he's a Damn Good Dawg, it never should, and there are many of us who will make sure it never will.
Mayor. Blogger. Friend. Vazquez.
T. Kyle King has been called all of these things at one time or another on the pages of Dawg Sports. However, the most accurate way to describe Kyle is as an inspiration... the wind beneath our collective wings, if you will. For without what Kyle began and fostered at Dawg Sports, I know I never would have been inspired to begin writing about college sports (I probably also would've forgone the opportunity to pose as the dying girlfriend of a record-setting college quarterback but thats neither here nor there). When I first started writing fanposts at Dawg Sports, Kyle was always the first to offer encouragement. He would often laugh and comment on my attempts at humor which I am still certain was out of politeness but which I immensely valued all the same. When Kyle offered me the opportunity to become part of the Dawg Sports staff, I was simultaneously floored that Kyle really did like my work and terrified that I would not be able to live up to the impossibly high standard he sets everytime he sits down at his computer. But through my early growing pains, half-baked ideas, and near-incoherent ramblings, Kyle has done nothing but shepherd my growth as a writer and inspire me to always strive to be better each time. In short, without Kyle, I wouldn't be sitting here in my mother's basement trying to get Cheetos stains out of my Spiderman underoos.
I'll personally miss Kyle beyond measure for what he has meant to me, but I will also mourn the simple truth that the blogosphere is losing a giant. Though Dawg Sports will continue to grow and evolve, it can never be the same. Nonetheless, somewhere in Georgia tonight there is a little boy that hates Auburn and dreams of one day writing a ten thousand word manifesto on the evils of Clemson... and that's how I know that T. Kyle King has made the world a better place.
Best Wishes, Kyle. Thank you for everything.