Monday, October 29, 2012
The third thing is that there is this transportation freedom in South Carolina. There is no helmet law as pertains to motorcycles, mopeds etc. In fact, the first person I saw wear a helmet was a bicyclist. Also, there is no motor vehicle safety inspection in South Carolina (at least for passenger cars/trucks). That explains the old Fleetwood Cadillac with no working brake lights, no turn signal and burning fuel like anything that I was behind as I went to the state DMV to register my car. They say New Hampshire is the "Live Free or Die" state. In that regard, New Hampshire has nothing on South Carolina.
Finally, unlike metro New York, the Division One basketball universities and colleges are spread out much further. The closest D1 schools to me in Columbia are of course the University of South Carolina, Winthrop, College of Charleston, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Furman, Wofford, South Carolina State and the Citadel. Winthrop is probably the closest school to USC, about a hour away in Rock Hill. So my road trips this season will need to be planned with travel considerations in mind.
Recently, two of my mid major friends/writers asked me if I was going to be a part of the new Mid Majority season, which is based on writer teams. I told both of them that I was going to pass on this season because there is just too much going on otherwise in my life to commit to another site, let alone keep up with my own site this season. I will certainly follow their work and I wish them the best (plus I have already bought a season package as my way of supporting the site).
Last season, due to my work with Mid Majority, I expanded my coverage. As much as I could, a lot of my coverage was based on NEC and MAAC schedules, as well as other CAA teams. I watched an amazing CAA Tournament and got to see Drexel and UMass in the NIT. It was the closest thing to being a true college basketball beat reporter I had done in my seven years of writing for my site. Covering fifty nine Division I men's games, fifteen Division I women's games and a couple of St Joseph's Division III games, while having a full time job, was amazing and at times exhausting.
Now, I have a whole new environment to work with down here. USC will be the main focal point, which I am sure disappoints my mid major followers. However, thanks to relative proximity, I have the ability to give some southern mid majors like College of Charleston, Winthrop and even Wofford more coverage than they might currently have on the blogosphere. And having UNC Wilmington only three and a half hours away is going to come in handy come February 2013.
Rob Russell of GheorgeTheBlog wrote a terrific article today about how much the CAAHoops community will miss Mike Litos, who is now going to be the analyst for VCU radio broadcasts. CAAHoops will still be fine, because Litos wisely enlisted the aid of JMU SID Jeff Warner and his Sports Communications Class' students. But it won't be the same not seeing Litos' tidbits on a daily basis after so many years.
But you can't blame Michael for passing up an incredible job opportunity. I sort of did the same thing moving down to South Carolina. Having covered mostly CAA basketball for the past seven seasons, I have so appreciated the friends I have made covering the Colonial League and New York City Metro basketball. There's a lot of us that use the hashtag #CAAHoops. And to not be at just about all Hofstra games after having been a season ticket holder since the early 2000s, well it's definitely very sad to be away from the many friends I have at the Mack Center.
However, I will still follow and write about the CAA from afar and in some cases, from up close. My first CAA game is actually Towson at College of Charleston, which hopefully will be a CAA member soon. Also, since my younger son's November 17 birthday falls on a Saturday, it just so happens to coincide with a Hofstra 2K Classic Tournament home game. So I will be back in my old Hempstead stomping grounds that day.
However, how many games I cover this season overall is not my pressing concern. As I noted, there is so much else going on right now, especially having been at my new job for only two months. As a result of this opportunity at USC, my life has changed radically. Writing about college basketball, as much as I love it, is a hobby. It doesn't put food on the table, nor does it give my family a roof over their heads. I moved down to Columbia for a terrific job opportunity, quality of life, cheaper housing, and less stress. I figure in a year from now, things will be settled and this move will have been worth it. Time will tell.
So right now, as much as I love college basketball, it takes a seat to the real priorities in life. I don't know how many games I will cover this season and frankly, it's not a major concern to me. Once Sandy passes and hopefully is more Al Franken than Frankenstorm, then I will spend more time planning out my college basketball schedule. I know a lot of it will involve the University of South Carolina basketball team, so again, my mid major friends/fans will have to understand. However, until Chelle and the boys are down in Columbia, it's not my major focus.
As much as I love college basketball and as much as I love writing about it, it takes a back seat to the family, the new job and my future. It's the final thing I have learned in my two months in Columbia.
Everything is relative.