MATTHEW ROBERSON | SPORTS EDITOR | THE USD VISTA | @mroberson22
Well, it’s been 13 days and I still feel lost. What used to be an almost daily routine has become a thing of the past, coming to an abrupt ending right before Halloween. I’m referring to the death of the sports and pop culture website Grantland, which was recently shut down by the higher-ups at its parent company, ESPN. In my opinion, Grantland was the best collection of talented, opinionated, and witty writers anywhere on the internet.
Its creation by Bill Simmons, the self-professed “Sports Guy,” whose conversational style of writing gave a voice to snarky sports fans everywhere, signaled a shift in the entire culture of sports writing. By merging the worlds of sports and pop culture into one website, Simmons developed a one-stop shop for everything that was ever happening on your television.
Grantland didn’t break any news. Instead, they stayed in their lane. The writers at Grantland did exactly what we do as fans of sports and entertainment. Watch the event, laugh about it, sometimes cry or whine about it, and then share your thoughts about it with everyone. If that seems way too simple to actually work, it’s because it was. But for its glorious four years of existence, Grantland was my little slice of sports nerd heaven.
I remember when I was introduced to Grantland as a junior in high school. My AP History class provided netbooks for all the students to take notes on. Except rather than taking notes, I was that kid in the back scouring the web. One day on the ESPN web homepage they debuted the link to Grantland, and immediately I was hooked.
It wasn’t just the brilliance of their ace NBA and MLB writers, Zach Lowe and Jonah Keri, that kept me coming back. The entire writing staff made Grantland so enjoyable to read.
Even the non-sports material appealed to me. From Rembert Browne’s stories about flying on Air Force 1 with Obama, or traveling to Ferguson after the Mike Brown incident, to Rachel Syme’s sparkling profile on the girls from Broad City, everything on Grantland was just so much damn fun. It seemed like the place where the cool kids worked.
And while the site itself, and my dreams of working there, are now dead, the writing lessons I learned by reading it will stay with me throughout my career.