I will never forget my first day working for Eleven Warriors.
It was Aug. 18, 2014, and I had just moved back to Columbus after spending nearly two years in Ashland, Ohio, working for a small town daily newspaper. I had to live on my friend’s couch for two weeks before I could the keys to my own apartment. Not exactly the most ideal of living conditions.
Ohio State was in the middle of two-a-day practices and we had a media session after the first workout of the day. We talked to several different players and coaches and then I returned to my friend’s apartment where I planned to spend the evening writing a couple stories about the new team I was covering.
Then shit hit the fan.
I was writing while watching a Browns preseason game — that was my first mistake, really — when all of a sudden I saw a tweet from Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. Braxton Miller had re-injured his shoulder in the evening practice and was expected to miss the entire 2014 season.
My first day on the new job and the biggest story of the year happens. Naturally. Why wouldn’t it? I scrapped everything I worked on all day as we changed our coverage plan on the fly. I received multiple texts from friends — “Way to ruin the season, asshole” was probably my favorite. It was pretty overwhelming for the first day, but we ended up making it through just fine. Eleven Warriors always does.
So, I might as well get to it now. Nearly three years after that famed first day, today is my last with Eleven Warriors.
Now, I tend to think after three years I have a pretty firm grasp on the way some Ohio State fans think at times. “Oh my God, what’s going on with Eleven Warriors?! First Eric left and now Tim is too!” Let me ease your mind a bit. Nothing is wrong. Eleven Warriors is as strong as ever and will continue to do so. Eric made a personal decision to leave sports journalism for another opportunity and I happened to do the same. I’ll elaborate on why more in a bit, but first I have some people I need to thank.
First of all, I’d like to thank Jason Priestas for taking a chance and hiring me back in 2014. I had relatively minimal experience covering a major college football beat like this one but Jason saw something in me. I’ll forever be grateful for that opportunity as it allowed me to do things and cover events I never even thought were possible so quickly. I went from covering high school softball games to a college football national championship in the span of eight months. It was wild.
I’d also like to thank the two beat partners I’ve had over the last three years: Patrick Maks and Eric Seger. Both were — and continue to be — awesome partners and guys I consider friends to this day. They were extremely talented sports writers and worked their asses off to get to where they are today.
Next, I’d like to thank Jeremy Birmingham and Andrew Lind, two other guys I’ve spent a lot of time with over the last three years as they’ve traveled around the country with Patrick, Eric and myself to shoot high-quality photos that helped so much when trying to tell a story. There’s no doubt both will continue to do big things.
I need to shout out D.J. Byrnes, as well. Most of you guys know D.J. as this internet persona who is wild and crazy — and he’s definitely that — but D.J. is also one of the hardest working people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. He busts his ass every single day and he’s a huge reason why Eleven Warriors is so successful.
Everybody else on the staff, too, deserves a thank you from me. Kevin Harrish, Ramzy Nasrallah, Chris Lauderback, Johnny Ginter, Vico, Kyle Jones, Andrew Ellis, Curt Heinrichs, Grant Edgell, Walt Keys and anybody else I’ve worked with the last three years. All of them are tremendous at what they do and will continue to do so without me. Even the new guy, Dan Hope, has been great in his first couple weeks. Thank you all so much.
Lastly, but certainly not least, thanks to the loyal Eleven Warriors readers. Without you, there is no way I would have had this job. I wouldn’t have been able to do the things that I did the last three years without your passion for Ohio State athletics. Thank you.
Now, I’ve probably already taken up too much of your time but I wanted to explain my decision a little bit. The biggest reason I decided to leave the sports writing industry is that the future of sports media somewhat terrifies me. I got into journalism because I love to write and I specifically love to write about sports. But everything is changing and it kind of left me at a crossroads in my professional life. It wasn’t an easy decision and it’s something I thought long and hard about, but ultimately, I made a choice to try and give my future a little more security. I loved my time here at Eleven Warriors and was perfectly happy, but you’re always thinking about what’s next and with everything that’s happened over the last six months in sports media I just didn’t know what was after this. That terrified me.
I took a job with a digital marketing company here in Columbus as a digital content specialist. I’ll be doing copywriting, social media, email marketing and more and I’m excited about the opportunity. It’ll certainly be new as all I’ve done professionally for the last six years is work for newspapers or news outlets in sports, but it’s going to be fun. I hope to continue to write about sports in a freelance role at some point, too.
I won’t be hard to find. I’ll still hang around and read Eleven Warriors. I’ll still be terrible on Twitter. But I won’t be involved in the day-to-day around Ohio State athletics anymore.
I’ve had the time of my life the last three years here but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Don’t be strangers. I certainly won’t be.
You stay classy, Eleven Warriors.