A slightly less belated blog-day.

This is the 39th post since my last blog-day post, a slight improvement over a mark that I remarked at the time was the most I’d had since 2018, and in fact that mark was close enough to the 2018 mark that this is actually the most posts I’ve had since the start of my posting drought in 2016. So you might think this was a year for optimism about my ability to climb out of that drought, start posting more regularly again, and if not return to the halcyon days of the site, at least return to a place where I could put together some sizable projects that would give this site life outside football season.

It hasn’t felt that way, though, and the reality has been decidedly more mixed. I did get in a number of posts about the evolution of sports on television, and the linear television industry more generally, but they often came out well after the point where they were relevant. I put together a series of posts about a college football super league, but I’ve been sitting on the last part of the series and I’m not completely confident I’ll complete it in time for the national championship game. I said on the last blog-day post that I’d been sitting on a good old-fashioned long-form series for the past month or two, and I only managed to post one part of it all year and made virtually zero progress on the rest of it, and now I’m not confident I’ll ever return to it, especially since I’ve been sitting on two more long posts for months (though one of them is something like 95% complete and should be coming out before the new year). Last year I managed to sprinkle in some non-football posts amongst the Flex Schedule Watch; this year the Watch (and Cantonmetrics) completely took over the blog from October onwards, though a lot of that had to do with a) figuring out how the new rules would affect flex scheduling and b) the need to fill out the opening section of the new Flex Schedule Watch posts.

Basically, while I’ve improved my productivity some, I still haven’t been able to squeeze in enough time, and be awake and alert enough at those times, to write long-form posts at the rate I’d like. When I get going I can write most of a long-form post in a single session, but the prospect of it still seems daunting. I might be able to at least somewhat reduce the time I spend goofing off on my phone, but it’s possible that further increasing my level of productivity will require therapy, or perhaps a change in medication, and I’m not sure how able I’ll be to get either of those.

In the end, that might be the biggest cause for optimism to come out of Year Seventeen of Da Blog. It’s not that I started putting together long-form posts more often than I used to; it’s that I actually have something resembling a concrete path to improving things further. Coupled with my sleep schedule approaching something resembling normalcy and some other ideas I have for branching out into new areas, there’s a very real possibility that Year Eighteen marks the year where this wasted period of my life fully and completely comes to an end.

NFL Week 18 Schedule Post-Mortem

Obviously the attention of the NFL world in the past two weeks has been focused on Damar Hamlin and the aftermath of his collapse in the first quarter of what was supposed to be a huge Monday night game between the Bills and Bengals. Thankfully his condition is not nearly as bad as was feared at the time, and less than a week after his collapse he was discharged from the hospital and returned to Buffalo with his release from a Buffalo hospital coming only nine days after the incident, and the NFL world seems to be moving on and returning to a semblance of normalcy, even if the NFL did end up imposing some odd contingencies to make up for the pivotal game that ended up being abandoned (though not nearly as odd as some of the proposals for delaying the playoffs that were floating around, including from me). Still, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m diminishing the Hamlin situation or anything. To be sure, certain forms of empathy don’t come as naturally to me as to most people, and I might sometimes come off as indifferent in my reaction to certain tragedies, but I think since writing that post I’ve come to a better understanding of why people react in the way that they do in those sorts of circumstances, maybe a better one than society itself has, and understand why those things have the import they do even if I don’t necessarily feel it myself.

Nonetheless, I also don’t feel that just because of the undeniably unfortunate situation the NFL world has gone through in the last week, that means the league should be off the hook for what they did in the 24 hours before Hamlin collapsed. Because as it turned out, the decision to flex Steelers-Ravens into the preceding Sunday night, which I called potentially the worst flex decision since 2015, was only a prelude to what, before the Sunday night game was even announced, would be the absolute worst flex decision of the entire flex scheduling era, and it’s not even close. Were it not for Hamlin’s collapse and the way the league dealt with it, the NFL’s boneheaded decisions about which games to move to Saturday could have had a material impact on what teams make the playoffs in both conferences (and the Sunday night pick could still have had that impact in the NFC), and it was entirely avoidable. 

Read moreNFL Week 18 Schedule Post-Mortem

A somewhat belated blog-day.

Even though I once again allowed the annual blog-day post to slip, and even though I never managed to get out of the rut I’ve been in since 2016 despite a clear goal that should have motivated me for most of that time, this is the most weirdly optimistic I’ve been for a blog-day post in a while. This is the 32nd post since the last blog-day post, not great by the standards of Da Blog’s halcyon days but the most since 2018, thanks to a couple of new projects and getting a goodly number of non-Flex-Schedule-Watch posts in in the past month. That, in turn, is the product of my making a number of realizations about my sleep schedule and other tendencies, and the potential start of a more formal plan to deal with them, that could improve my ability to be productive going forward. I fully expect to start a few more projects in the next year that should bump up my post count further, including two or three in the next two or three months, including a good old-fashioned long-form series.

Not everything is exactly smooth sailing. I intended to start that long-form series last month but only managed to finish one post and part of another before the Flex Schedule Watch and other current events started monopolizing my time, and there’s a post I meant to make a week or two ago that I’ve still barely started on and that I’m not sure I’m going to finish without absorbing into another post. Nonetheless, even though Year Sixteen of Da Blog failed to meet the standards I set for myself, I’m cautiously optimistic that Year Seventeen will prove to be a genuine turning point towards more productivity on my part.

Then again, after I said last year’s post would be short and then it ended up being the same length as the previous year’s, this year’s post actually is short because I can’t think of anything else to put here, so maybe I’m still struggling with some degree of writer’s block.

@GrantWahl’s Blood is on the World’s Hands

I had set a deadline of November 2022 for me to make enough of my life to move out from my dad’s apartment. Obviously, that didn’t happen. What happened instead was that, last Christmas, we reached an agreement for me to spend over a month with my mom in Seattle from before Thanksgiving until after Christmas, with arrangements for how I was to be supported during that time, which I’m in the midst of now.

Why go to all that trouble? Because I fully intended to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and that would have to mean getting away from my soccer-crazed dad. 

Read more@GrantWahl’s Blood is on the World’s Hands

Something a BIT more substantial than the typical streak-filler post.

I’ve moved the site search to the top bar, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while; it just got too irritating having to go almost, but not quite, all the way to the bottom of the page to search my site on mobile. Beyond that nothing much has changed since last month; I have an idea for an entire series of new posts partly inspired by the arrival of Twitter’s pending new owner that would be relevant for me potentially moving to an alternative platform, but given my recent history who knows if I manage to write one word of it in the next month or even two. I feel like if it weren’t for the NFL Draft I’d have managed to put out one of the posts I’ve been working on in the past week, but if you don’t see it in the next week you’ll know I’ve been kidding myself about that.

This is really not a good sign.

So I think I’ve abandoned the notion of jumping back into sports TV ratings almost as quickly as I took it up – it was just going to involve too much work for too little reward – but that hasn’t really helped me to work on anything else. There were at least three different projects I was hoping would result in posts over the course of the last month and none of them really panned out. Some of that can actually be attributed to me doing some work for my dad, which is nominally the only reason I’ve been able to get away without getting a real job, but some of it can definitely be chalked up to me going back into the same bad habits that have bedeviled me over the past several years, including yet another mobile game to monopolize my time. I’m vaguely optimistic I can get some work in on at least one of those posts over the course of the next week or so, but I feel like I’m probably kidding myself, because I always feel like I’m so close to being productive and then I never am. I’ve gotten a bit more of an insight into why I might act this way, but that doesn’t really help me to deal with it and I don’t know if I’d be able to get the help I need to deal with it at my age. I just hope there’s some way out of the tailspin my life has been in over the past several years, and that I find it right soon.

An actually on-time blog-day.

I’m going to keep it pretty quick for this year’s blog-day post, as with the changes to the NFL schedule it coincides with the most stressful part of the year for the Flex Schedule Watch, when I try to game out the scenarios for the final week two weeks in advance, compounded this year by a) the chaotic playoff situation in both conferences and b) games being postponed by COVID outbreaks to Monday and Tuesday and cutting down on how much time I have to pull it off. I hope to have a post ready before we get too far into the Thursday night game, but I’m not sure I can guarantee it, and I’m flying up to Seattle on Friday so I won’t be able to get much work done then.

That’s on top of all the other ideas for posts I’ve been juggling. I hope to have two non-Flex Schedule Watch posts next week, both on the changing sports television landscape and one of which I’ve been meaning to write for over two months (I may have given up on writing a post about the changes in college sports in the past year), and I might try to get something in on another front in the new year. I also have a couple other ideas for decent-sized projects for me to work on once football season and the Olympics are over.

One way or another, we’re about to hit a critical year in the history of Da Blog. I mentioned before that I intended to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and while my dad has been willing to try and find ways to accommodate, I’d still feel like a failure if I wasn’t in some way self-supporting by then. (It doesn’t help that the pandemic has made a November-December World Cup more defensible than it was before, making it look like FIFA stumbled into a built-in delay to the qualification schedule.) On top of that, last month I ran out of unemployment deferment eligibility on one of my student loans, and while that’s only $40 a month, it’s still something I have to lean on my parents more for and a sign of just how much I’ve wasted the last half-decade-plus. I either take real steps towards becoming self-sufficient in the new year, or I might as well give up on that. Certainly setting yet another record low for posts – this is only the 23rd post since last year’s blog-day post – isn’t an option anymore.

The good news is that while Year Fifteen was yet another wasted year in the history of Da Blog, I feel oddly more optimistic than I felt last year. I’ve still been spending embarrassingly long spans of time working on posts, but I feel like I’ve still been more productive, or at least have been getting into more of the right headspace to work on them. If I can get into enough of a groove and overcome all the distractions and screwed-up sleep schedules in my life, Year Sixteen may yet prove to be a turning point out of my recent rut. That’s obviously a big if, but it at least feels like more of a possibility than it felt like last year, and it’s certainly worth trying because I don’t know if I want to know what the alternative looks like.

(Okay, so I said I was going to keep it quick but this addendum is going to make it longer than last year’s blog-day post. What can I say, there’s a limit to how short these posts can be, and I did spend only a little over half an hour writing this.)

UGGHH.

I hate having to do a gap-filler post for September. I need to do a season-opening post for the Flex Schedule Watch (people are already starting to leave comments on my last post from last year), and probably would have if not for a perfect storm of circumstances. In the early part of the month I was still thinking I was going to do a post about recent developments in college sports, and then a couple weeks ago I suffered a serious injury I’ve spent most of the intervening time recovering from and in no shape to do any sort of serious thinking.

I might still have gotten something in this week, but I have a lot of work to put into it, more so than normal. I want to say something about the impact of the NFL’s new TV deals on flex scheduling (about which we know frustratingly little), and I have to update the Flex Scheduling Primer for not only that and last year’s developments, but some of the more immediate flex scheduling impacts from the 17-game schedule and ESPN getting a pair of Week 18 games. That’s made it seem like a more daunting task for me to get into than it normally is, and it’s had to compete for my time and attention with various other things, including the fast-approaching NHL season and concurrent debut of new TV partners for that league, which has been an especially big time sink given my newfound emphasis on graphics packages, and mock-ups of same, on Twitter.

None of that is to excuse my lack of posting this month and I absolutely should have gotten that Flex Schedule Watch kick-off post in, and I definitely will get it in in the next week, if only because the protection cut-off point is fast approaching. After that we’ll progress week to week as normal, and I have some ideas for what to do after that (including the return of something long dormant), but whether or not next year is any more productive than the past few years have been is anyone’s guess. (But I sure as heck don’t want to still be living with my dad a year from now, if only because I don’t want to be party to acknowledging the most blatantly corrupt and all-around terrible World Cup host selection ever.)

Second (or gajillionth) verse, same as the first…

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve found in recent years that I don’t have the brainpower to write formal blog posts that I used to, often needing to load up on protein bars and chug caffeinated drinks to get anything done and even then being ambivalent towards the result. Places like Twitter and Reddit can be more conducive to firing something off on the spur of the moment, so I remain plenty active on those places, but writing an actual blog post can feel like a daunting task. It’s compounded by the fact that I rarely have time to focus on Da Blog, which is an odd thing to say when I rarely if ever do any actual “work” on anything, but I’ve found Twitter, Reddit, and various mobile games tend to take up all of my time, to say nothing of the sort of long-term projects I’ve hinted at in the past. Some of those mobile games aren’t even that fun – I seem to have a habit of getting really tired when I’m playing one particular game, which is a problem because the time that I’m playing it and the period immediately after would probably be the best time for me to get some writing done, but my sleep schedule hasn’t really allowed me to switch to the main alternative time I could go with – but I feel obligated to reach at least a certain point of accomplishment in it.

Speaking of my sleep schedule, I spent most of the time after the Olympics trying to fix it after staying up until the early morning watching some of the later events, but even before I came close to succeeding I started to see signs of how difficult it was to find time and energy to get writing in. I really did want to get a post written about recent news in college sports, but I could only even get started in the last 24 hours, despite running through much of what I wanted to say in my head before that. Sitting down and keeping everything straight, and getting it all organized in a cohesive order while trying to remember everything I want to say, feels like something I need some sort of ritual to get into the right mindset for, and much of what’s been suggested to me doesn’t seem to work.

I will still try to get that post in in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll definitely have a post getting ready for the new NFL season and the implications of the league’s new TV deals for flex scheduling, ideally before the season actually starts. I have one or two other ideas for posts I may try to work on as well, but who knows how or when.