Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A Viking Funeral of Sorts... My Goodbye to Flo.
On Monday I got an email from Chris DeSantis that asked a very strange question: “If we started an independent site, would you be on board?” I have never met Chris in person, but we have built a little bit of a professional friendship. I said, “Sure. What are the details?” He couldn’t really give me any… so I started wondering if maybe he and Garrett McCaffrey had a falling out. I texted Garrett and he responded, “What Chris didn’t tell you was that flocasts let me go yesterday.”
I immediately went into shock. I still am in shock. Ten minutes after I got the text, Garrett’s letter was posted on the site.
I have never met Garrett McCaffrey in person, either. When Swimnetwork fell apart last summer after the Olympic Trials, and all of the old crew left (for reasons I have no idea, as I was the only person involved with the site who did not go to the trials,) I started to spend a little more time at floswimming. Garrett put out a blog asking the flo community to contribute videos. Mrs. Coach had already made the move over so I emailed Garrett and told him I would be willing to do the Viking thing for him if he thought it would help.
Garrett didn’t just email me… he called me. Not once, in all my time at swim network as a paid news blogger and volunteer of my Viking blogs did anyone call me. I got a few emails, but never heard a single person’s voice throughout any of it. As a matter of fact, when I left Swimnetwork, I didn’t even know if I still had a job. I don’t hold a grudge. I wish them all the best. I hope they can get it together because there is serious potential there, but it was not a good experience as a first writing gig.
I have worked on commercial fishing boats, in a fish cannery, loaded trucks for RPS… I have had good bosses and bad. I have been screamed at, ignored, flipped off and hugged. I have to say that working with Garrett has been a new kind of experience. I will never forget my first contact with Garrett: “Let’s talk about the upcoming year and all the ways we can promote the sport.” That sums up Garrett in a nutshell. Whatever is best for the sport. Garrett trusted me enough to allow my blogs to go up on the flash, but he was watchful enough to edit me down if needed. Only once did he tell me a post shouldn’t go up at flo, and he had very good reason. As any good editor would, he asked permission if he wanted to change something out of respect for me as a writer-- a professional courtesy I hadn’t yet earned, as I am not really a professional writer. I am certainly no journalist.
I have never had any contact with the Flo brothers. Not one email. Not one thank you. I never even knew their names until I had read an article in the Mizzou paper about Garrett’s career. This site, in my eyes, has been Garrett’s site. Their non-involvement up until now might be very difficult to overcome. They allowed Garrett to become the sole face of floswimming, and as you can see in the comments on the last three posts, it makes for a very tough road for the next person to take the helm.
I am sure that floswimming will survive this. Their platform is unique, and they have a team behind the scenes that does good work. They will find a new face. My team is heavily invested in their locker room and we will probably continue to use it until we can afford to move on to another site. I am sure I will keep checking in to see their content. It might end up being a good thing for Garrett to move on to something bigger and better. Who knows how this will all turn out?
But for me… my loyalty is to Garrett. Garrett certainly knows the value of the words “Thank you.” They go a long way in building a community of fans and contributors. I don’t hold a grudge against flo, but I will do anything to help Garrett move on to greater things. Garrett is out. Chris is out. Sadly, for the time being, the Viking is now out too. I have extended the invitation to them to use my blogspot until another platform is available to them, if they should choose to pursue it. Of course, that is, if one of the big dog media outlets doesn’t scoop these guys up first.
Thank you, Garrett. Thank you, Chris. Let’s talk about the upcoming year and all the ways we can promote the sport. Let’s make chicken salad out of all this week’s chicken s**t.
Posted by The Screaming Viking! at 5:58 AM