Unprofessional Foul


January 9, 2012

How UF Saved My Soul


Four years is a lifetime in the blogosphere.

Four years is a blink of the eye in a friendship.

When James T sent out the batsignal for people interested in writing about football, he found a core group of us on Deadspin who were excited about the prospect of forming a place of our own to talk about the sport we love.

After quite a bit of behind-the-scenes mollycoddling, we finally got our shit together and were off and running, debuting with what is still one of my favorite UF posts ever.

Over time we developed a voice, both individually and as a blog, and then set about figuring out how to get people to listen to what we had to say. We succeeded, more or less, despite some starts and stops long the way.

Anyone want to know about some footballing Traores?

How about some obscure football legends?

We have had quite a few highs and lows, again, both as individuals and as a blog, but we have all come out better for it on the other side. Through it all – the anxiety over the expectations of our commenters/readers, the masturbatory posts that few probably read, the brilliance of some our long-form efforts and one-off bits – we bonded rather strongly despite the fact that many of us had not met in person.

A large part of that bond has been the support we have provided for each other during our personal struggles. It might surprise you to know, but we’re real people with occasional real-life problems. Aside from anything going on with the blog (which from time to time lead to some fascinating arguments amongst us), we were always there for each other when needed. Sometimes it was a simple email or text of encouragement, or, if we were lucky, it was a conversation over (more than) a few beers.

By some turn of fate, after we had been up and running for a year I was the one going through some difficulties. Going through a divorce and feeling isolated at work, I turned my full attention to blogging in order to fill the void. During the 2009 calendar year, I’m fairly certain that I wrote 2,159 blog posts (this may be an exaggeration). At the end of that year, I lost my job (some nonsense about too much blogging and not enough working; I wasn’t really paying attention) and decided to go back to doing what I really loved, which is teaching.

For a variety of reasons, I was only able to find a part-time (non-tenure-track) position at a (somewhat) local university, but I loved being back in the classroom. Beginning in January 2010, I was happier than I had been in a long time, doing exactly what I wanted for a living, but also having plenty of time to blog about my other love, football. Then, in the summer of 2010 I found out that I wasn’t being offered any summer teaching, meaning that I was back on unemployment (UF on the dole!).

Rather than go back in the doldrums, I rededicated myself to being a blogging superhero during the 2010 World Cup. Of the 64 matches (including the 3rd-place tilt), we here at UF managed to liveblog 62 of them – James T was scheduled to liveblog the Group F match between Slovakia and Paraguay but had to unexpectedly throw up an open thread instead, and TSE dropped the ball on his Group G match between North Korea and the Ivory Coast – and we hit our stride. We saw boffo traffic and spent quite a few emails being self-congratulatory. Since I had so much free time, I managed to liveblog 25 of those 62 matches (doubling the efforts of my nearest UF colleague, TSE; excuse me, I just pulled a muscle patting myself on the back), including half of the Group E, G and H matches, half of the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals, and both Semifinal matches.

It truly is not an exaggeration to say that all of the liveblogging, and UF more generally, kept my spirits up. As someone who suffers from depression, the past 3 years have seen plenty of dark times creep into my life. Losing a wife and a job really sucks, but I made it through thanks to the UF community, colleagues and commenters alike. More than just something to do, more than forcing me to “go through the motions” to provide content, the true sense of friendship allowed me to keep my head high. The fact that these have extended to “real life” (you wouldn’t believe how healthy it is for your soul to play some beach footy at a wedding reception) is something that I treasure, and that will last forever.

So, somewhere along the way UF stopped being about blogging and started being more about the daily email thread and the bonds that we have formed. We’ve slowed down quite a bit here, as real life has continued to intrude for many of us. Although I’m still not on a tenure-track (although I have some applications out, so keep me in your thoughts), I have managed to boost my teaching to full-time. Unfortunately, in this climate that means that I am teaching 6 or 7 courses every semester, spread across 3 different universities. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of driving, which means that my efforts here have fallen by the wayside.

I knew it was time to step away when I was looking forward to the current 3-week break for Ligue 1, knowing that I wouldn’t have to preview/review matches for a little while. UF was always about fun, even when it was also about something more, and I felt like I wasn’t having as much fun anymore. We never wanted UF to be more than it was, but we all had minimum expectations for ourselves and the blog. I felt like I wasn’t meeting those expectations any more, which meant it was time to turn the page.

I’m sure you all would have loved my feature “Stupid Shit My Google Alert Produced”, and you’ll miss my rage-filled rant at PSG’s inevitable collapse (Arsenal having long since played that role to perfection), but this is for the best.

I truly love this site, my fellow contributors and all of our commenters (well, except for Wandering Bear, because…fuck that guy). I will miss this place immensely, but the time has passed.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

- Cedrick (AKA The NY Kid)

About the Author

The NY Kid


  1. MP

    Great stuff NYK. Got all my Ligue 1 news from you, so thanks. Although I really don’t know if I can handle all of the unmasking (Cedrick and Nora would not have been my first two guesses for NYK and Wag).

  2. WhoNeedsForwards

    Oh, man, I was kidding earlier, I actually do like all the Nice-Brest jokes…just as long as they’re not beating ASSE.

    This news pretty much just reduces Ligue Un to total irrelevance.

  3. Why the fuck is it so dusty in here?

  4. Georger

    I’m not mentioned in nearly enough of these retrospectives, I think we can all agree on that.

  5. Jesus, that teaching load sounds fucking awful. Can’t you still write for UF while showing movies in class?
    /may not be the best teacher

  6. WhoNeedsForwards

    Well, a bunch of contributors are quitting apparently. It’s all a ploy to turn this into a Spurs blog by getting all the Arsenal supporters to quit. /conspiracy theory

  7. Outside Mid

    @ Georger: If it makes you feel better I thought of you when reading the FJM piece from PR. You’re quite good as that too.

  8. WhiteSpeedReceiver

    You still suck, NYK. *sniff* You’ll always suck. *sniff*

  9. Outside Mid

    Also, NY Kid–I share a lot more in common with you than I originally thought. And like WNF, my original exposure to weekly league coverage of the French league was from you and I’m gonna miss it.

  10. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Y’all are going to make me cry at some point today. And I too would never have guessed Cedrick and Nora. Also, I’ve always been secretly super jealous of the UF e-mail thread.

  11. WhoNeedsForwards

    Here here LE. Something we can agree on; jealousy. Er, wait.

  12. I wasn’t allowed onto the e-mail thread until they decided to keep me around. The first week? 1,100 e-mails. I have more than 40,000 e-mails in my gmail archive from these people. And I love almost every one of them.

  13. Cedrick outed himself at some point a year or so ago. I can’t find the post but he linked to a story he did about chick soccer using his real name. Nora threw me for a loop, though. That was one of the names we considered for my daughter. Now I’m glad we didn’t go with it (I keed, I keed!)

  14. Mountain Wag

    @LE – we don’t let Spuds on the thread, sorry. Outside Mid is the token German Fan. The Likely Lad just hacked the account and added himself somehow.

  15. Mountain Wag

    Also, NYK, this was marvelous. Thank you!

  16. Soon there will be more Everton supporters commenting than Arsenal fan contributors

  17. Wedel

    Yep, remember when Cedrick outed himself previously.

    Kid, I’m going to miss you and your hatred of goalie pants.

    As a related sidebar and to echo others, WTF is going on here? I leave for a busy month of work and come back to a redecorated UF and the writers manning the lifeboats. I’m glad I didn’t come back tomorrow, I’d be completely lost.

  18. WhoNeedsForwards

    At least our giant 2 people are consistent-ish.

  19. @Wedel, I think 2 things are happening, 1 is awesome, and if the other is what I think is happening then I’m sad/scared

    @WNF We are here till the end, or well till relegation at least

  20. Wedel

    @Brian: That’s the vibe I’m getting here too. Not good…

  21. MP

    According to my sources, JT’s 7pm post will have the details.

  22. WhoNeedsForwards

    Oh, I’ll still be here after relegation. But THERE WILL BE NO RELEGATION. Staying up with the goalkeeper being your 3rd leading scorer. This will happen.

  23. @MP: And by your source, you mean the top of the Bootroom post?

  24. @MP yea is it bad that it is something I’m anticipating

  25. WhoNeedsForwards

    I’m kind of curious what the things Brian thinks are. I’m all for conspiracy theories.

  26. Georger

    I have no idea what’s going on.

  27. Moonshine Mike

    My only regret with Ced is that he lives in the midwest and we can not cheer him up by showing up.

  28. clemantona

    putain merde. c’est quoi ces conneries?
    si tu part, il y auras un autre francais j’espere?

    A+ NYK.. A+

  29. MightyMightyDR

    Does this mean there won’t be any future Foul Ups? I haven’t thrown up on anyone this year — yet — and usually reserve such acts for Foul Ups.

  30. Outside Mid

    @ Clem: You made me have to pull out the Google Translate eh?

  31. Outside Mid

    @ Elon: Think there was some discussion of future ones the other day, maybe the US matches in Nashville this spring? Not sure though.

  32. MightyMightyDR

    @OM: Oh yeah? Excellent. For me. For the rest of you: wear your slickers.

  33. jjf3

    @OM: good to hear about the Foul Ups. There are times when it feels like Balmer and NYC were just a few months ago, then I realize how much time has actually passed since both of those trips. Hell, I had just started dating my (now) wife before USA-ENG.

    @MMDR: dammit, I was actually thinking about wearing my Shearer match jersey to the next one…

  34. James T

    I love the NY Kid. I told him so.

  35. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @EF/OM: I would love the chance to attend a Foul Up. The last one fell during studying for the bar. I can’t wait to make an ass of myself in real life.

  36. MP

    @LE: I second that.

  37. Mountain Wag

    Then a foul-up we shall have! Make sure you stay tuned in. Updates will be shared as they develop.

  38. MightyMightyDR

    @LE: Studying for the bar? Pshaw! You better have passed.

    Also, if you have passed, can I buy your books because I’m taking Florida in February.

  39. Tno

    Seriously though, if you guys shut down I will cry. This is where I learned to love this sport. Seriously you guys are the reason I love soccer. No I’m not joking. You guys are the reason why I wake up way too early on sundays, and scream at Peter Crouch for no good reason.

  40. Keith

    @DR: Florida has laws?

  41. Keith

    @Tno: You switched to Stoke?

  42. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @EF: Yes, I passed in 2010. I’m a real Georgia lawyer now. Yeehaw. Alas, my books have already been burned in a glorious bonfire of awesome.
    @Keith: Well played.
    @Tno: If it does, (which I hope to god it doesn’t) Cartilage Free Captain has a pretty good community of Spurs fans. You will be welcome there. But it’s not the same without the banter from Mancs and Gooners and Seventhpudlians.

    • Outside Mid

      @ TNO: LE’s right about CFC. I’m not heading there but I’ll be jumping over to SB Nation to work on the Houston Dynamo blog Dynamo Theory. Think Brian’s over there already with Royal Blue Mersey too. SBN might be another place to have a look.

  43. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Damn. Old habits die hard. Still putting periods in between lines. I guess I don’t need to do that anymore.

  44. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @OM: Do you comment over there?

    • Outside Mid

      Nah, been a lurker on the blog while commenting via Twitter. Been doing that more lately & listening to their podcast. Heard your name mentioned on a question they answered in the last one methinks.

  45. WhoNeedsForwards

    I was thinking about it, and it would make sense to shut down. I think I’m the newest commenter here still, and I’ve been here like almost 2 years.

  46. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Gotcha. Come join the fun. The match threads are a good time.

    • Outside Mid

      I’m getting close to it LE, usually been having to catch the matches on replay so that’s why I’ve not been in bootrooms or match threads lately. Some free time coming though.

  47. MightyMightyDR

    @LE: Not laws so much as recommendations.

  48. it’s funny that a spurs blog has the same initials of Chelsea Football Club.

  49. @TNO Yea SB Nation is a pretty fun place its just the writers don’t have a huge amount of freedom in terms of setting up the look of the site and stuff. I’ve been mulling a few ideas for some other opportunities but I’ll have to wait and see what goes down here

  50. Tno

    I’ve been over at TheFightingCock, Pretty good forum, but it’s not UF.

  51. Outside Mid

    @ TFA: Is odd. The Spartak blog is “We Ain’t Got no History.”

  52. Outside Mid

    @ TNO: TFC decent too. Spooky & Co. do know their stuff.

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