"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
Douglas MacArthur, Leyte, July 1944
Enjoy your varied and sundry Americana today. We will return tomorrow.
I've been conspicuously absent the past few days. I will not be covering the basketball game this afternoon, nor the game on Tuesday, and I'll be working in a limited capacity for the rest of this month.
Allow me to explain.
Over the past few weeks, my health has taken a turn for the worse. The diagnosis of gluten intolerance I received over the summer hasn't been the be-all, end-all answer I'd hoped; there is more going on, and right now I don't know what. I've been dropping weight at a rather alarming rate. I covered the Syracuse game on Tuesday while weighing 115 pounds. (I'm a hair under 5'11", and haven’t weighed this little since middle school.) My brother drove me to and from the game, because I didn't feel comfortable getting behind the wheel of a car—not the first time he’s done that over the last month, unfortunately.
That's the bad news. I'm very limited physically right now, to the point that covering games in person is not a feasible option, even though there's no part of my job I enjoy more than settling into my spot (or leaping out of it) on press row at Crisler.
The good news is I have no shortage of support. My physician came into the office on a scheduled day off to see me on short notice on Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as I left he was on the phone with specialists at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital; I'll be in and out of appointments at St. Joe’s this week to begin anew the process of determining what, exactly, is going on with my body. As far as doctors go, I'm in very good hands.
The same can be said for my support system at home and at work. My parents and my brother are doing everything within their power to ensure that I'm comfortable, supported, and in good spirits; other than going to appointments, I barely have to leave the townhouse I share with my brother unless I'm up to it—they are taking care of me. I have friends near and far checking in on me, providing moral support or much-needed distraction; those often go hand-in-hand.
Brian, as he has been throughout my time at MGoBlog, has been remarkably supportive, especially when considering I've often had to bail out of work on short notice, and it's not like this is a large operation in which one employee's absence can go unnoticed. He's allowing me to scale back how much I'm working this month, which I hope will be all that's necessary before I'm able to return to writing at full strength, even if it takes longer for my body to reach that point. I've been able to do so time and again the last four years. Very little can stop me from doing what I love: writing.
For their part, the people in the sports information department for Michigan Basketball—especially the SID par excellence, Tom Wywrot—have been extremely flexible and understanding during this time, and I cannot thank them enough for it.
Same goes for fellow MGoBlog writers Seth Fisher, Alex Cook, and Bryan Mac, who've covered my ass on more than one occasion* when I’ve been unable to write, as well as our photographers, Bryan Fuller and Eric Upchurch, who've been extremely generous in offering their support. Thank you, as well, to MGoRightHandMan Dave Nasternak, who filmed high school games this fall when I didn't feel up to it, drove me to games when I did, and even stopped by the studio last weekend to give me a loaf of gluten-free bread after a podcast recording. I’m so lucky to be able to work with you all, and I don't get to convey my appreciation enough.
If I haven't responded to your emails, phone calls, messages, or tweets in recent days, I hope this serves as a reasonable explanation. I'll get to them when I can, if they truly require a response—these last few days have been spent in near constant communication with doctors and my family so we can get this figured out as soon as possible.
If I've been an asshole to you recently, as I know I have been with a few of you (including some who were beyond undeserving), I apologize. This has been a very stressful time. That’s not an excuse for taking it out on others.
If I told you I'd make plans with you, grab a drink, be in touch, or the like, I must apologize as well; right now, my life is on hold. Trust me when I say that I'd like to see or hear from you soon, but my big mouth occasionally promises more than I can provide, and that's been the case more than usual lately.
I turn 27 tomorrow. I've been dealing with strange health issues that have affected my everyday life since I was 17, when I'd often shoot awake at night in a cold sweat thinking my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I've been able to get through school and largely work around my health problems for a decade. Now is the time I must put my health first and foremost. Diagnoses of de Quervain’s thyroiditis, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and most recently gluten intolerance haven't fully addressed what's happening; this time around I'm determined to search until the true answer is presented.
I'm confident, with the remarkable support I have, that I'll get to the bottom of this. If there's a place to be sick, it's Ann Arbor, where it's hard to walk around the block without bumping into someone at the top of their chosen field. I still plan to write while the search continues, just not quite as much as I have in the past. I hope you’ll bear with me in the interim. If you’re looking for a way to support me, I hope you'll consider donating to MGoBlog. Brian is paying me full-time for work I don't fully have the capacity to do at the moment, and I don't plan on going anywhere. Supporting the site is the most direct way to support me both now and for the long haul.
Thanks for your understanding.
Now let's get Jim Harbaugh to Ann Arbor.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for email. Here is a cat.
Catch you guys tomorrow.
As you may know, Heiko is leaving MGoBlog to go be a research doctor. This means we are in need of a person to fill his role. That is this:
- Attend football press conferences, both midweek and after games.
- Transcribe them.
- Ask questions as directed from on high.
- Dress nicely and be professional.
It is a part-time gig with an expected commitment of 10-15 hours a week during football season and spring practice. Given the nature of the job, you have to be located in Ann Arbor or environs and able to show up for press conferences that are usually mid-day on weekdays.
UPDATE: I have been dissuaded from using the lack of instructions as an intelligence test. Email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make 'em heavy on stuff you're doing for no reason other than you want to.
Can I write for other places?
Can I write articles for MGoBlog that actually contain, like, my own writing?
Possibly. Heiko wanted to and was good at it, so we expanded his position to encompass that. But he is an excellent, funny writer. You would have to be at least one of the two. It is a head start towards approaching the front page, but this role is distinct from the engaging writing that we like to have on the front page.
Should I acquire a weird, almost father-son relationship with one of the coordinators?
Do not come into this job trying to be Heiko. His relationship with Al Borges was amazing, miraculous, and idiosyncratic. We want you to be inquisitive about football in a way that will probably draw cocked eyebrows the first time you ask about something seemingly better suited for a coaching clinic than a press conference. HOWEVA, my biggest fear about replacing Heiko is getting a guy who thinks that he can take being Heiko to the next level. Do not next level Heiko, please.
Is this is a step towards a full-time job at MGoBlog?
Possibly but not necessarily. Given current growth rates we are a few years away from even considering another full time guy on the editorial side. The position is a good fit for a young guy who's looking for a start.
Hello. Comment voting is back. As as often the case with these things, I just had to do something entirely different to get it to work. Once I modified the approach it was easy, which… computers, man.
The graying out and highlighting are still a work in progress, but we have restored the status quo ante bellum, pre-slashcomments. I'll probably move the voting thing to the right, but I figured I'd let people get a grasp on the new/old status quo before making further changes.
You need 100 points to vote and start threads. As per before. No change there.
Upvoting is free and provides two points to the upvoted user. Someone posted something you like. Hurray!
Downvoting costs a point and subtracts a point from the downvoted user. Finally: something to spend your points on. It costs a point to downvote a guy in an effort to mitigate the echo-chamber effect; downvoting is not supposed to be disagreement. It also hurts the downvoted user less than upvoting helps him an effort to only excise folks who get more than two-thirds of the site on their bad side. If this is you… I cannot help you.
THERE IS NO LIMIT. bwahahahahahaha (there should probably be a limit. working on that.)