Monday, April 16, 2012

A Nice Season for the Pioneer Pride Blog

It began in 2007.  After witnessing the not-quite-but-almost-magical 2006-2007 season from the Sacred Heart Pioneers, I started writing season previews about Sacred Heart basketball every year.  These short essays would get e-mailed to approximately 10 friends and fellow Sacred Heart alums, for their reading pleasure.  Some of time, I would get made fun of for having a better knowledge of the team than the people who actually worked in the Sacred Heart athletic department.  But other times, I received a number of compliments, with some friends even asking for more posts on Pioneer basketball!

So this past November, with the encouragement of my wife (who has a Masters in journalism), I started a blog on Sacred Heart basketball.  No one else had done it, because frankly no one really cared.  But if I were to write a sports blog, it had to be about something that wasn’t frequently covered.  Sure, I could write about my beloved New York Mets or Giants, but everyone and their mother has a blog on those teams.  Sacred Heart basketball??  It’s all mine.

When my blog launched this past November with my patented Sacred Heart season preview, my brother Dave joked, “Sooooo, you’ll probably have 5 followers.”  Sadly, I kind of agreed with him.  After all, when I launched my Twitter campaign with 2 followers, I wasn’t terribly optimistic that my writing would turn into much.  At that point, merely 15-20 page views per post was the goal.

Slowly but surely, I began building followers.  I noticed when I wrote about the Northeast Conference, I would get significantly more page views.  People from Quinnipiac began following me.  And LIU.  And Robert Morris.  So I wrote more about the conference and found out something fascinating – I really enjoyed following the other teams in the conference too.  What had started off as a Sacred Heart blog, began morphing into a Northeast Conference blog.  It certainly helped expand my audience, to the tune of 3,000 page views in the past 4 months.  Granted, I’m still nowhere close to the superior and more established bloggers such as John Templon or Jaden Daly, yet I’m pleasantly surprised with my progress.

Ok, enough babbling.  Basically, I wrote my 40th post for two reasons.  The first is to thank all of you for reading.  I sincerely appreciate your retweets, kind words, and page views.  Thanks to those of you who helped me increase my audience; you all know who you are.  Thanks to my original readers - Newsie, Dave, BJ, Bricker, Andy, and Pepi for sticking with me from the start.  And a special thanks to my wife Anisa.  Most of you don’t know, but I work full time as an Analytical Chemist at a nutritional supplements company (aka glorified lab rat), therefore all of my blog writing is done during my free time.  Thank you Anisa for your patience, encouragement and for allowing me to dedicate most of my free time this winter to the blog!

My second announcement is that I will be joining John's website, Big Apple Buckets next season!  I was fortunate enough to be asked by John, which is fitting because he (along with @necsports, @sacredheartuniv and others) was probably most responsible for building my reader base.   

Together, we plan to dedicate a page solely to Northeast Conference basketball.  Some of the details still need to be worked out, but we are excited for the coming year!  As for Pioneer Pride, I will continue to post news on Sacred Heart basketball during the season and may write about other topics as well.

What started as a fun little hobby has turned into an exciting endeavor for me.  In the meantime, I'll spend the off-season brushing up on my knowledge of all the Northeast Conference teams and, of course, improving my writing.

I look forward to the upcoming season, but until then, let’s go Mets!

You can follow Pioneer Pride on Twitter at @pioneer_pride