...and my home's in Alabama. - Chris Graythen
When faced with the daunting task of trying to succinctly wrap up nearly seven years of activity in a single blog post, the temptation exists to go on and on and on in a lengthy "speech" that would be cut away from to a commercial if it were given at the Academy Awards. It'll probably still kind of be like that as brevity has never been my strong suit, but I'll try to keep the rambling to a minimum.
Roll Bama Roll went live in May of 2006 and was largely the result of my being a grad student needing a hobby in a town where I didn't know anyone. Todd and I knew each other online from blogging on various blogspot blogs and when RBR needed another hand, I reached out to him and he thankfully came on board. We plugged along as a duet for a while until we spotted OTS and recruited him hard to be the franchise player (I'd say it was a good move.) Eventually, a host of other writers (all better than me) came on board: Pete Holiday, Kleph, Matt Dover and others. We cranked out a ton of high quality content and RBR grew beyond our wildest dreams. At its peak, I think we were pulling in the neighborhood of 20,000-25,000 hits a day...which is bigger than some small town newspapers.
RBR turned into a publishing deal that became the Yea Alabama annuals. Nike somehow found us legit enough to invite us to New York for the unveiling of our Pro Combat jerseys in 2010. The Shakespeare Festival invited us to review Bear Country as if we were qualified to review theater. I even managed to fool the New York Times into thinking I was a decent enough writer to where they let me grace their pages once in 2008. I never in a million years dreamed any of those things would've happened (much less all of them) when I commenced blogging with SBN in 2006.
As fun as all of that "stuff" was, it was ultimately the people that made me come back day after day. At first it was the online relationships that formed via regular commentors that made the place so endearing, but at some point, a lot of those online relationships turned into real life friendships. There are waaaaay too many to list and I'm terribly sorry for those I inadvertently leave off of this list, but I must acknowledge and thank some of them by name:
Bo Hicks, the Vice Mayor of Tuscaloosa as I like to call him, deserves special recognition. He welcomed RBR into the bosom of Egan's and turned it into our home away from home. It turned into the de facto gathering spot for RBR on gamedays and that's where I met many of you for the first time. Bo loves Tuscaloosa and the Tide more than most folks and I was honored he let us help him on various projects of his throughout the life of the blog. He also arranged a ride back to Tuscaloosa for me when my friend Wes' transmission failed when we were in Starkville for a game (thanks Austin!) I wish Bo all the success in the world with Druid City Brewing and WellThatsCool.com. He's such a stellar person that he truly brings a tear to a glass eye.
The absolutely hilarious AlabamaManDance for always reminding me that Alabama football is supposed to be fun above all else win or lose. Also, a million thank yous for the free parking, the couch to crash on and the beers.
Erik, TWEsq, Cambro, Landon, Rick Muscles, Aaron, Tara, Blake, and the many others that became actual friends in real life. I doubt I would've met most of y'all otherwise. Forever grateful.
The hundreds of regular commentors. There's no way I'll be able to recognize each of you individually, but big thanks to some of the earliest commentors I met like Jeremy B, Spock Jenkins, Queen of the Universe and those that I've met more recently. Seriously, y'all's daily readership and support has been beyond my wildest dreams. And thanks to BixBiederBecke for making me laugh my ass off on a near daily basis.
Lastly, and certainly not least, AccioAlabama, who I met one year at A-Day and who is now my exquisite and amazing girlfriend. I've been incrediblyy happy since we've been together and we've travelled together both far and near to see the Tide play. She's also proof positive that even a music obsessed sports blogger can land an intelligent and beautiful woman. There's truly hope for all of us.
And that brings us to this RBR2.0 business....
While all of the original site authors have hung up their pens, RBR will continue. RBR eventually got so big that it grew beyond anything any of us were doing. The fan posts, the fan shots, the comments were all plentiful. People were meeting, hanging out and forging genuine friendships in real life because of RBR. I was half convinced the site authors could disappear and that very few would even notice we were gone. RBR became big enough to where it was bigger than its creators. It was a community that wasn't about the specific authors but was about a team, a devotion to that team and coming together with other like-minded folks.
With that in mind, RBR will continue with a variety of contributors that were commentors throughout the years. Those that created fanshots and fanposts and lead the community in various ways as participants will carry the torch that we lit so many years ago. Darth Saban, Gothlaw, TWEsq, Bammer and others will be leading the charge of RBR2.0. Todd & I aren't disappearing completely, but we are letting others run the show now. We'll both maintain emeritus status where we can post if and when the mood strikes and be the elder statesmen that'll help class up this joint. A post will come on Wednesday from the new guard letting you know what to expect in the immediate future.
It's been an amazing seven years. Let's keep the crystal in Tuscaloosa. Thanks for reading & ROLL TIDE.