I know that tomorrow night is not Senior Night, but in a way it is for me. It is the final regular season game I have tickets to, so it will be the last time I will see JaJuan Johnson and E`Twaun Moore play in person. Boilerdowd has purchased the Ohio State and Illinois games off of me, so he will be the one sitting in the corporate seats for those games. I'll still get to see JJ and Smooge in the Big ten Tourney and possibly the NCAAs in person, but tomorrow night signals the end of an era.
You see, this blog grew with the Baby Boilers. The first season I started writing it was solely a football blog I shut down in the winter. It wasn't because I thought basketball was going to be bad. It was more that I was new to blogging and I didn't think there would be much of an audience. The next season, when the Baby Boilers came on board, I decided to pick up basketball coverage as soon as football season was over with the Motor City Bowl.
The rest is history.
It is safe to say that my success with this site is directly tied to JJ , Smooge, and Ostrich with their success on the floor. Almost immediately, my Google rank back over at Off the tracks went high enough that people started randomly contacting me for ads. The readership and demand grew enough that I was able to continue the blog almost year-round. The following season things grew to the point where SBNation contacted me, leading to the creation of this site on February 20, 2009 (Happy almost 2 years, by the way).
It was that 2008-09 season that I started ponying up the dough for season tickets because I knew we had something special. I wanted to make sure I was at the Duke game, and I could see that there were several other games I wanted to attend as well, so we converted our Colts season ticket plan over to Purdue basketball as well (buy season tickets, keep the games we want, sell the rest).
As JJ and Smooge grew on the court, the site here continued to grow. By the time they were juniors this site was considered legitimate enough to be credentialed. Last year's Big Ten Tournament was the pinnacle, as this community celebrated (online at least) having behind the scenes access at the conference's biggest event. I was amazed that so many sportswriters were going about their day like they would rather be anywhere else. I had a permanent grin for four days and had the most fun I have had in a long time.
That has continued to this year, where I personally got to interview JJ and Smooge at Big Ten Media Day. While it was fun to make Thad Matta smile asking about Mark Titus, I felt I was speaking for you fans when I personally told Smooge about being The Red Button.
This is why tomorrow night is going to be bittersweet. It is a huge game and far from the last we will see JJ and Smooge, but since it is the last time I will see them play in Mackey Arena it will be very sentimental. I have often credited the success of this site to you readers, but we're all here because of guys like JJ and Smooge.
I don't really have a point to this post other than to give a personal thank you to these guys for being Boilermakers. I thank them both for being outstanding role models on and off the court as well (That's E`Twaun Moore, Academic All-American) as for taking the time to answer questions the blogger that is essentially a big fan with unprecedented access to cover them.