My final curtain

That's me on the left with the #5 photog vest. - Ben Jones / StateCollege.com

This is my goodbye post. It usually happens that these grow into cascading mini-novels, an attempt to stamp a memorable departure onto a hobby many of us love way more than we should. I'm going to make every attempt to not do that today.

I started blogging in the spring of 2007. After scouting the landscape, I was under the impression that it was entirely too late to make much of an impact or a name for myself in the blogosphere. The flagship college football blogs were already humming--MGoBlog, Eleven Warriors, EDSBS (pre-SBN), and this one you're reading now. My first blog, like so many others, came and went. The Big Eleventh and Run Up The Score, and The Nittany Line were in a tier above mine, while my company consisted of other newbs like Nittany White Out and Happy Hour Valley. It was an exciting time to be a college football blogger. It had a unique Wild West feel to it.

Of course, the euphoria of the 2005 resurgence fueled much of our initial interest in the expanding medium. Not so much anymore. There are maybe a handful of truly independent blogs remaining. The site I once viewed as my crowning achievement--Linebacker-U.com--is now a (relatively) dormant testament to what I now think of as the twilight of the independent college football blogging culture.

If you had told me four years ago that someday I'd run Black Shoe Diaries, I probably would have called you a troll. But for two football seasons now, that's what I've done, and it's been fantastic.

My decision to join Chris and Kevin in kicking off the "new BSD" wasn't based so much on glory, as it was based on pure reality--the reality that I was going to be a father and my time to mess with all the back-end headaches of running an independent blog like LBU was going to vanish almost instantaneously. As for today, I knew this decision had to be made soon. I just didn't know when I'd be ready for it.

Now I know. Actually, I've known for about a month.

Since September, I've been at a new job that I love, and can support my family at the same time. I wake up, hang out for a bit with my wife and son, go to work, and come home to eat dinner and spend more time with my son before he goes to sleep. You know what I'm not thinking about most of my day? Blogging Penn State football. Don't get me wrong. I still like following the team and watching the games. Blogging has been simply squeezed out of the few serious commitments I'm able to make. And for the few precious hours each night before I say goodnight to my son, I don't really have time or want to sit at the laptop tapping away about the Penn State offense vs. the Wisconsin defense.

There is no way I can truly say I'm done forever. You can follow me on Twitter and probably find me in the comments every so often. If I can, I'm going to try to shoot the games again for BSD next fall, or skip a year and do it again eventually. I might stop by for a roundtable or two. I might even force Galen to keep me in on his weekly pick'em. And if the mood really strikes, we could see a few more 10 Minutes or Less videos pop up. What won't happen is me remaining atop of the Black Shoe Diaries masthead.

To all those with so little taste in writing that you started reading my blogs five years ago... To those who love what I write, hate what I write, or something in between... Thank you. It's been one hell of a ride.

Mike Pettigano


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