In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. - The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Just under two years ago I went on an adventure. For about 18 months (the covid-19 pandemic ruins your sense of time) I was part of the staff that presents the tales about Tacoma, Defiance, Rainiers, and Reign FC. It was a grand adventure.
Unfortunately, that adventure ended back in June. The economic destruction that the pandemic brought about was particularly harsh to lower/minor league sports. Those teams are dependent on attendance, as restaurants are depending on in-space dining. The only way they will return to the be the unifying community force that they are in hundredss of cities is if you wear masks, stay distant as much as possible, and get vaccinated. If you enjoy the intimacy of stadiums like Cheney and the dreamed Heidelberg project you must do this.
When I first heard the words “indefinite furlough” I cried. Writing, storytelling, and community is the core my being. The pandemic already took away the community around the Sounders. We weren’t gathering at Temple, marching to matches, and assembling by the tens of thousands.
Often through the summer and early autumn, I had no idea what to do.
My thoughts wandered, my hopes of other dreams jobs rose to the highest level and crashed below the earth, shattered. Too frequently, the blank space of a Word doc or a blank page in a CMS stared at me, taunting. There was no outlet. Since founding Sounder at Heart in August of 2008 I always had a place for my voice. I had never gone more than a week between stories, not while in Cabo, Tahiti, Whistler, or anywhere.
So I started showing up in comments at a pace close to the level that I was when I managed this site. I started writing frequently on my personal blog, FullMoonStorytelling, as much as a kind of therapy as a demand within my soul to change blank pages to stories (aside: it seems odd to write this as in 2020 I wrote a plethora of stories, but it was all just so different). I appeared on Sounder at Heart’s podcasts a couple time. Jeremiah and I started talking about a return.
Today, that return starts, because frankly, I have to. I have to have the community here at Sounder at Heart. I have to have an outlet.
There are already some story ideas in the hopper — the 3XIs Organization Depth Chart will return, a story on adding depth to the right back position is nearly done, Tim and I will be writing a review of the Defiance players’ seasons, a charity project mashing up my favorite things. And whatever more inspires me, or that Jeremiah, Mark, Steve, and the rest of the management level of staff need help with (I’m just a writer, not editor or manager).
Of course, my particular variation of nerddom means that you will get way to many 311 references, too many references to sci-fi, to D&D, to fantasy, to beer and coffee and community.
Like I said before I’ll say it once more.
Knew you would make me feel so good.
Wanna do you right.
Can’t get enough.
This is the stuff life’s about and it trips me out.
— Do You Right, 311
Like, Bilbo, I will always fondly remember my adventure. Throughout the upcoming months I hope to resume parts of that journey — as a voice of the South Sound, and chronicler of Defiance/Rainiers.
For now, I’m home, and that means comfort.
Once, and Always, a Sounder at Heart