Seven years ago this morning, the Daily Quickie made its first-ever appearance on the front page of ESPN.com. This was the column. (Wow.)
Very intentionally, it was unlike anything else you could find in sports media, online or off. I put the consumer first: What was the unmet need?
Something that, when you got to work (or woke up for class), gave you some perspective on the previous night and the day ahead. National, all-sport focus. Daily frequency, so you could feel confident making it a habit -- in looking for it every morning.
I believe on that first day, I got up at 4 a.m. to start writing for an 8 a.m. deadline. And it stayed that way for a long time, at least the first six months -- probably the first year. And that doesn't even include the hours I'd put in the night before. I was obsessed. (I was also transfixed by my traffic in those first days; there's nothing as gratifying as hitting "refresh" on the traffic monitor and watching the numbers surge by the minute.)
I would like to think that I designed it for inevitable success -- to be fail-proof. But it would be impossible to know until readers gave it a try. The response was overwhemingly positive.
And I had the job I had dreamed about since I was a kid: Not just a sports columnist, but one with a daily column and a national, write-about-anything focus. I loved every single day (and that included my Ripken-esque streak of 420 consecutive weekdays with a column, what has to be a record not just for ESPN.com but in sportswriting.)
Writing the Quickie opened up all sorts of doors: People recognized the column (if not always my byline). It got me my erstwhile career on "Around the Horn." I got to host a daily chat on ESPN.com (Morning Quickie alums: Holla!) I had the weird talking "Danimation" precursor to ESPN.com's podcasts. It introduced me to all sorts of great folks, both inside and outside of ESPN.com -- many of whom I'm still friends with today. And it introduced me to millions of readers -- tens of thousands of whom were generous enough to email me and many of whom are hopefully reading this now. Thanks for sticking around.
January 6 will always be a special day for me.