It's Friday. Game day. Yet it's not, which sucks. With season one of TYT now officially in the books, I thought it would be a decent time to throw out some Springer-esque final thoughts, thank some people, and let you know what you can expect from me in the offseason.
I feel like it's been successful first year, at least from my end. I've enjoyed doing it and jumping back into "the life." I suppose a guy who ditches his family after his grandmother's birthday dinner to watch that unfortunate Central Oklahoma game at 2010 ACHAs was never really out of it, but at the same time it's quite a different story when one, by necessity, has to stay completely plugged into things beyond the level of just being a fan.
If the ACHA announces the teams that made nationals at midnight (which they apparently do now) or if I wake up in the middle of the night to a hit on an article reporting that we've asked permission to talk to Mark Johnson, I have to be ready to pump out a post. I can still make plans for weekends during hockey season, but they come with the knowledge that I'm going to have to grind like crazy on Sunday night to catch up on the games and assemble my thoughts.
My biggest reason for starting this was to fully immerse myself in both the end of a vital chapter in Penn State hockey history and the exciting beginning of another. I thought doing a blog, regardless of whether anyone else ultimately read it, would be the best way to make sure I didn't miss a single detail of either thing. Frankly, it's a lot more work than I expected, but that's not a complaint. I sincerely hope each of you has enjoyed it as much as I have. And if you haven't, let me know about it, either in the comments, on Twitter, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before I go any further, there are a bunch of people I want to thank. First, my wife Jennifer, for putting up with all the time I wasn't spending with her and for being my go-to "read this and tell me if it sucks before I post it" person (except, ironically, with this post - sorry if it sucks). Also, she was the person who insisted on pimping me out via Facebook when I was pretty reluctant about having an audience, so I have her to thank for pretty much all of you reading this, either directly or indirectly.
Steve and Barb Penstone as well as Rodney Martin are people who have been incredibly supportive ever since said pimping took place. I try to point this out from time to time, but I live in Ohio. Quite simply, TYT doesn't exist without access to information like first-rate broadcasts that are free (and archived) or box scores that are available almost as soon as the game ends, not on the following Tuesday, as with the schools who don't have a Rodman at the wheel and rely on Goalline.
Justin Grady, a fellow former HMAer, has been another source of support. He does a fantastic job covering the Icers on Black Shoe Diaries, and whether he realizes it or not, I've ripped him off on a few things, like the occasional update on the Lady Icers, including giving the women's World University Games team more or less equal time. Tony Barton and Greg Garcia have done amazing work with the Collegian's coverage this season, covering essentially two different hockey programs while occasionally making me look good at the same time. Delaware's Kyle Drury was my first-ever interview for TYT - he and his teammates are true beauties, and many have gone out of their way to tell me I'm doing something right. I had no issue whatsoever pulling hard for them at nationals, where Penn State was completely unaffected by their winning or losing. On the other end of things, after Steve Penstone, Ryan Jones from The Penn Stater was the second guy who interviewed me - that's definitely a new experience, but both of them were fantastic, hopefully I wasn't awful.
I've received tons of encouragement from others too numerous to mention, but know that I sincerely appreciate all of it.
Finally, I'd like to thank the team as well - you guys represent my school with class and distinction, and without so much as a scholarship for your efforts (with plenty of money going the other way, actually). I know this season probably wasn't what you signed up for when you came to Penn State, but I can see better days coming - and I'm not referring to the NCAA team when I say that. You guys have a chance at being Murdoch good next year and closing out the ACHA chapter the only right way, and I'm looking forward to the ride.
You might (or not) be wondering how I'm going to handle the offseason. First off, I've determined that I have enough useless junk lying around to continue the Payday Memorabilia series through the summer. I'll also continue Head Coach Candidate right up until we inevitably hire someone I didn't do a post about. And once that happens, I'll replace it with a new series where I dig into the Daily Collegian archives to look at everything from the push for hockey in the first decade of the 20th century to the varsity team of the 1930s and 40s to the Icers. There's some really fascinating stuff in there, and I can't wait to share it.
So at minimum, I expect to post once per week. And of course, when anything happens regarding the Icers or the NCAA program (like the aforementioned coaching hire, recruiting, etc.), I'll post about that as well. I'll also hang out on Twitter plenty if anyone wants to talk PSU, Frozen Four, NHL, whatever. So the plan is to stay pretty engaged. What else am I going to do, watch the Indians?
Obviously next year's going to get a little crazy, as we'll have the Icers' farewell tour as well as an NCAA team that's not just hypothetical both at the same time. Other than just hoping I can keep up without getting fired from my paying job or flunking out of grad school, I haven't given too much thought to whether I'll approach this any differently, or what changes there might be. As mentioned, suggestions welcome.
Just 163 days until the first day of fall semester...