Although I have a rough idea, I can’t tell you exactly when Bleacher Report was established, but I can tell you when I established myself as a writer on the site. Sept. 10, 2008, just three days after attending the fall race in Richmond.
Until that point in life, “Sportswriter” had never appeared on my resume. I was a total amateur with a passion for NASCAR who took a leap of faith and put my words out there for all to see.
Surprisingly, I was welcomed with open arms and in turn, my odyssey began. In under a month, I was awarded my first article of the day.
It was sweet serendipity, who knew that I would actually have a knack for this writing thing?
Fast forward some 21 months and I have finally reached a tiny milestone, my 100th article. Yes, I know the counter shows 101, I’ll address that in a moment.
I am by all accounts a lazy writer. If writing was a full time occupation, you can bet that it would be my No. 1 focus; but this is just one of the factors that makes up my existence, and life doesn’t pause for writers like us.
My life is a constant whirlwind. I have a demanding full-time job that requires me to be on my A-game at all times and at the end of the day, can leave me physically and emotionally drained.
My personal life is just as chaotic. During my time at Bleacher Report, I've packed up my belongings and moved three times, gone without Internet access, overcome accidents and illness, dealt with the craziest of roommates and other vile situations, found myself broken-hearted, and somehow through it all found the love of my life.
Bleacher Report introduced me to a life less ordinary by trusting in me to represent their brand as a member of the media by sending me to report from the infield at my home track, Richmond International Raceway, three times. It is an experience that I cherish and take very seriously.
As a fan, I had sat in the stands at Richmond countless times on the outside looking in, wondering just what it would be like to be Marty Smith for a day.
Having been given the chance, I now recognize that there are very few things more awe inspiring than having the opportunity to stand mere feet from a pit stall during a 13-second pit stop or standing on the Chase stage on a hot September night with a borrowed camera in hand, snapping photos of our modern day heroes.
Never in a million years would I have imagined that I’d be stopped by an official and asked if I was “hot?”
Had I been questioned about this a year ago I would have thought it was a bad pick-up line, but in the world of NASCAR, I now know that “hot” means all access and with a turn of my lanyard, I was able to reply, “Well, yes, thank you, I am indeed hot!”
Bleacher Report challenged me to become a better writer and believed in my words enough to syndicate my work and make me a featured columnist.
I’ve learned new ways of expressing myself and a few valuable lessons along the way; one being the art of dancing on the edge of plagiarism.
My original 100th article was deleted recently for that very reason. In an effort to publish a piece of breaking news that was sent directly to me to report on, I took the easy way out and copied and pasted a press release.
Despite the fact that I was given permission to do so by a sports marketing firm and cited my sources, the words were not my own and my article was flagged for being “non-original” content.
I am not above the law; I violated a rule and in turn was justly reprimanded.
Turns out that underneath this superhero cape that I wear proudly, I am truly human after all.
Mistakes made and lesson learned.
I will approach my next 100 with eyes wide open and in the same humorous skin that I am so very comfortable.
Many thanks to Bleacher Report, my readers, editors and fellow writers for accepting me just as I am, for the praise when it is deserved, and for the occasional kick in the pants as needed.
Without you, there would be no me. I am so very grateful for the experience thus far and for the great adventures that are sure to come.
Photo and "reserved" notice courtesy of David Yeazell