Almost Relevant: The first post

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August 29, 2010

9:22 PM

The hardest part about writing a blog is coming up with something to write about. At least is had been in my experience, and trust me, I’m an expert when it comes to blogs about William and Mary sports.

Two years go, as a sophomore, I wrote for a blog called TribeInsider. It was a good blog and I knew the guy who started the site, so I asked early in the fall if I could contribute pieces for his website. He said yes and I began my “career” as a professional blogger.

Three weeks later, the blog was shut down. Something about needing more bandwith, if I remember right. The site never reappeared but my guess is, if you look carefully enough, you can find the remains of my painfully unfunny writing floating around in cyberspace. Not that you should try.

A year ago, I was the sole contributor to a blog about William and Mary sports for a site called The Examiner. That blog lasted for about a month, beating out Tribeinsider by a week or so. Unlike the first blog, which died an unnecessary death, my second blog died of natural causes. After a month I ran out of things to say. I asked myself the question over and over, “What more do people want to know about William and Mary sports?”

I never could come up with an answer. At least I couldn’t, until I went to the William and Mary-Maryland game last December.

For someone who has seen an awful lot of Tribe sporting events, I have been to relatively few men’s basketball games. I usually am working on Saturday and I only have time to catch the final five minutes or to check the scores on my phone. So I hadn’t seen last year’s team play until the game at College Park.

My favorite part of the game occurred during the pre-game introductions. Steven Hess, last year’s senior center, stood on the court as each player was introduced. One-by-one each starter would come out and perform their ritualistic handshake with Hess.

Danny Sumner came out for a low-key high five. Then Marcus Kitts got mock-frisked by Hess out near center court. Finally, Sean McCurdy would fake as if he were going up for a chest bump, before jumping into Steven Hess waiting arms. The intros were funny, offbeat and revealed a little of the personality of each of the guys taking part. Obviously they weren’t important enough to get onto the front page of the paper, but they made me smile nonetheless.

That is what we here at the Flat Hat Sports section want this blog to be about.

We want Almost Relevant to be short and simple. We want it to be playful and we want it to make you think. We want to be a place for you, the reader, to go daily to get a better glimpse into the lives of some of the athletes and the culture of athletics here at William and Mary.

There will be many different voices and many different formats appearing here over the next couple of weeks, but since I’m writing the inaugural post, I guess I’ll start us off.

For three years, I have been trying to make John Daly smile.

Anyone who has seen Daly, the head coach of the College’s women’s soccer team, on the sidelines during the game knows this is not an easy task. During games Daly has a laser focus. He barks out orders to his players, his yells out to the referee, he turns his head and body, almost in a dance-like pirouette when he is particularly disgusted by a call. But he never, ever smiles, not in even in the post-game interviews after an impressive win.

I’ve tried everything. I’ve taken an interest in his former players. I’ve asked him about his favorite Irish bands. For a month I made a point about seeing him every week to talk strategy. And, without fail, I could never make him smile.

Most people I have talked to say Daly is an easy-going, affable guy but that he also takes his work extremely seriously, which I respect. I would also think answering simple questions from a 20-year old kid maybe isn’t the most entertaining experience in the world.

I only mention this because as I write this on a Sunday night, I am looking at the final score from the Tribe-Penn State women’s soccer game from earlier this afternoon. Tribe 2- Penn State 1. The Nittany Lions were ranked 13th in the country heading into today’s game and are coached by Daly’s former player Eric Walsh.

I only know what it says in the box score, and I’m sure Daly will have plenty of critiques for his team by the next time they hit the field for practice. I would also bet though that somewhere on a bus heading down I-95 right now, John Daly is smiling. It would be hard not to after a win like Sunday’s.

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