Friday, July 10, 2015

Thank you

Bob McKenzie is already long at the cottage. The other insiders, too.

Sorry to say but I'm also leaving you for a while.

This was a crazy, difficult year. The Leafs obviously had a crazy, difficult season, what with their hot start, implosion, coach firing, further implosion and the beginning of the deconstruction of the roster. They won 11 of their last 51 games (!) which even the biggest cynics didn't see coming. It was a long, depressing slog for everyone involved: players, staffers, fans and even media.

Just trying to make sense of the mess was, at times, a mess.

In the midst of that, I started doing a little TV for the first time. (A wonderful introduction to insulting tweets about your hair/face/expression/etc. before games!) Trouble was I had health problems. Meanwhile my wife was very pregnant, and there were concerns over the baby, so double up on the hospital visits. Then my son was born near midseason – 10 days late in the middle of a snowstorm – and he was so colicky there wasn't a lot of sleep had at Chez Mirtle.

Still isn't.

Like I said: crazy. It felt like permanent survival mode there for months, getting from day to day, game to practice to firing to game.

Every new parent complains about lack of sleep. We've all heard it. The thing you don't realize is that the worst of it is cumulative. You can go without sleep for two months just fine. You cope. You nap. But once you get past three months and into four, your brain turns against you. There's a revolt. It turns into mush.

Try making sense of an analytics article at that point... 

Anyway, that's not what this is about. This is a quick thank you to those who followed along, whether that was on Twitter or in the paper or whatever this season. I appreciate it. Even with the team in the toilet and the media going bananers and players feeling under attack and my life in chaos, it seemed there was intelligent conversation being had and people were generally appreciative of a level-headed take. 

This is a great job. I enjoy being able to go to an NHL rink all winter and tell stories from the sport I grew up loving on a fundamental level. The only thing that facilitates that is the fact there are folks clicking on links and tweeting and engaging with what I'm doing. 

The way the Leafs are covered doesn't have to be all adversarial. It doesn't have to be all hot takes and click bait. I think there's a desire for more than that, especially in a market this big and this intense. I hope I'm one of the people that is able to deliver more than that, more often than not. 

So thanks for your support. Thanks for believing there is a place for reasonable, critical coverage of a franchise that has desperately needed this type of Shanaplan overhaul for all six seasons I've been on the beat. Thanks for hanging in even through some awful hockey and corny tweets. 

There's more to come.  

Have a good summer everyone... I'm headed off to be a Dad for a while.

Maybe a nap, too.


At 9:54 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Carlin Scuderi said...

My favourite hockey analyst. Thanks for another great season. Enjoy dadship!

At 10:01 a.m., July 10, 2015, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, James. I am 16 years old and am a huge fan of the hockey analysis you provide your followers. Fans such as myself, especially those who cheer for the Leafs, in my opinion, can truly value and connect to the work you do as we all share a similar connection as fans. Congratulations on becoming a father and I wish you all the best.

P.S. I used to follow Steve Simmons (hahaha), what a mistake that was!

At 10:08 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Unknown said...

Have a great summer break! Thanks for the articles and tweets. Kids eventually sleep and time flies too quickly. Just hard to believe it at your stage. Cheers

At 10:16 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Cary Watson said...

Many thanks for an excellent job all year. For complete recuperation get yourself some meat pies from The Pie Commission (an unpaid testimonial), and keep fighting the good analytics fight.

At 10:17 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Peregrine 11 said...

That's awesome, man. Thanks for your analysis and Anchorman tweets. (They're kind of a big deal.)

At 10:32 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Taxihacker said...

Enjoy the rest of the Summer and remember the story about little red riding hood. Build a strong house and it won't matter how many wolves huff and puff and try and blow your house down.:-)

At 11:11 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Unknown said...

Get some rest James! You deserve it. I think the last time I commented on this blog was when TSN purchased away the rights to the HNIC theme song and that feels like a lifetime ago. I can honestly say you've shaped my view on the analytical side of hockey more than anybody else. In the smog that is the Toronto main stream media you're a serious breath of fresh air, this season especially. Recharge your batteries and keep doing what you're doing. Matt L.

At 11:55 a.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Patrick said...

Enjoy the summer - this season i've enjoyed your measured, thoughtful approach - i'm sure it wasn't easy finding new ways to write about the Leafs day in day out with their performance this season, but you kept it interesting and insightful. you should do your own podcast too!

At 12:19 p.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Alex M. said...

Thank you, James!

At 12:42 p.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger BDH said...

From one new(er) dad to another, hand in there and thanks for all the good work.

At 3:13 p.m., July 10, 2015, Blogger Don Johnson said...

Hey, James, I've enjoyed your writing for a number of years. Keep it up and don't let the naysayers get to you.

My kids are all grown up, but I remember the years they were little ones very fondly. They pass too quickly, so savor the moments. Not sure I can say I miss the sleepless nights, but I remember them somewhat nostalgically.

Anyway, all that to say, Enjoy your summer. Hope you get to spend some of it in Beautiful BC!


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