I did this for as long as I could.
When I started Northern Illinois Sports Beat in June 2004, it was only meant to be a temporary solution to the absence of NCI Preps – which never reopened. Part of the reason why my idea to create new message boards about high school sports in northern Illinois was a temporary one was because of my journalism job at Sauk Valley Newspapers.
Two months after starting NISB, I was out of a job at SVN and fell back on the website I created in order to further pursue my career as a sports journalist.
I was a poster on NCI Preps for 2 years before starting NISB. When I started posting, I was a 15-year-old freshman drumming up support for the Rock Falls Rockets. Because I was a student at Sterling High at the time, this caused a lot of controversy. I was able to “wise up” when I started in high school sports media – something that I am now in my 14th season doing.
Ten of those years were spent writing just for NISB (as well as a few contribution pieces for other websites). The website was at its peak about 4 years ago when I had a small staff of writers.
Then I got older.
I had to let go of my staff, scale back coverage, totally eliminate coverage, and only occasionally work on the website because of growing demands in my personal and professional life.
The final part of all of this scaling back will happen very soon.
Effective Dec. 1, I will be looking for a successor to hand over these message boards to. Once I find that person, I will hand over the keys to the website and step down as the administrator of the message boards.
About a year ago, I found myself back at SVN (now Sauk Valley Media), and this caused me to scale back on the work that I normally did on the message board. At times, it got to a point where I’d go without looking at the boards for long periods of time. Then I tried to keep the Pick’em contests running; only to find that, recently, it’s getting harder for me to do that, also.
Until I find that worthy someone, I’ll continue to be the figurehead of sorts. I just won’t be running any pick’em contests, polls, or such, because I just don’t have the time anymore.
Coming to this decision, I pondered two choices: One, pass the torch; or two, shut it down completely.
Because I started NISB as a reaction to the shutdown of NCI Preps, I look at the latter website as a predecessor of sorts. Between the two websites, there has been a high school sports message board in northern Illinois for 17 years. Both boards have proved that, over the years, there are many passionate and curious fans, coaches, players, etc. in our area that wish to interact with one another using this platform.
Rather than simply shutting the board down, I would still like to see something like this continue to go on. Only, I am unable to make it work out right now. Perhaps someone else has better ideas or better methods of promotion, whatever, that can make this platform survive and continue to be a meeting place of our area high school sports scene.
We’ve proven we have the people. But such a thing like these message boards need more TLC than I can provide right now.
I will continue to pop in every now and again, whenever I can. Many posters from my early NCI Preps days – 15 years ago – have long since moved on, and, heck, I don’t even make it to Turk’s or Edgy’s as much as I used to.
When I started NISB, I was 18 years old. Today, I am a few months away from turning 30. My journalism career is something that I itch to improve on. The social life is getting better. And, not to be so mushy, I still haven’t dated yet, and that is something that may change in the near future.
If I was faced with this situation 5 years ago, I would have sacrificed a lot to keep this alive. Now that I’m older, I’m making those important adult decisions. Still, there is a little voice inside me that says, “Don’t let it go.” But then I realized that this website has lasted 11 years and a couple of months longer than it was originally intended to last.
I’m hoping to find a successor by the end of the year. Those interested in taking over should send me a Private Message on here. Give me some reasons why I should hand this site over to you. What do you have to offer to continue to keep this board going, and what new ideas might you have?
When I stopped writing stories for NISB after the 2013 State Football finals, I didn’t see myself back working for my hometown newspaper’s sports section once again. So now I feel the need to express more gratitude to those who have made it possible for me.
If it hadn’t been for the message board posters, visitors, readers, die hard fans, coaches, players, school administrators, whatever, who have given me the support through my work for NISB, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today in my career. NISB kept my journalism career alive in times when it could have been abandoned.
And it is all thanks to YOU!
It’s been fun.
PS – You can still find me at Sauk Valley Media, as well as my new website (CodyCutter.net)