Expertise is a tricky thing. It's relative. To a roomful of octogenarians, Bob Costas's moral posturing about touchdown celebrations probably sounds like the foremost authority in sporting ethical rectitude. But surround Costas with SB Nation's readers (and writers), and we'd invent drinking games that involved tossing him across the room. His credentials are meaningless here.
In every job I've ever had, people have questioned my aptitude to perform the tasks that go with it - and rightfully so. I was a nerdy student with a musical theater background who joined the Marine Corps. I was an adequate tank officer who moved to New York to be a writer. I was a successful sports blogger who took a job writing about television. And now, after creating a smart, interactive community for discussing TV, I've left Warming Glow to join SB Nation, where my primary responsibility will be creating video content for the network, even though I have little experience with video and I'm painfully uncomfortable in front of a camera.
I have almost no pedigree and less expertise. I didn't go to school for this.
I am wildly unqualified for the job; I am perfect for the job.
That's the beauty of SB Nation. When your audience is the entire Internet, you're almost never an expert: there is always someone with greater knowledge, someone who lives and breathes statistical analysis, someone who was at the game and can tell you no, that's not how it went down. And those someones write for SB Nation.
You see, no matter how many former players or coaches become "analysts," the real truth is this: die-hard fans are the real experts. I enjoy watching Charles Barkley stumble through his opinions as much as the next guy, but I don't believe for a second that he knows more about the Kings than Tom Ziller at Sactown Royalty. At some point, first-hand experience in the game is trumped by impassioned, devoted analysis.
And that's what this network is all about. There are 317 blogs of terrifyingly detailed expertise that I can lean on when I need to know the ins and outs of, say, the St. Louis Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks or Los Angeles Galaxy or pretty much any other team in sports. There are MMA blogs and boxing blogs and almost certainly a cricket blog, although I have no idea how to find it. At least six different blogs focus on teams in Arizona. And I haven't even touched on the SB Nation home page: I'm positive that Jon Bois has a digital imprint of every baseball card issued between 1987 and 1998 stored in his brain, and Spencer Hall is a walking encyclopedia of SEC coaches, fringe sports, Asian culture, and back-alley Southern cuisine.
I am neither expert nor analyst, but I have one redeeming trait: I'm curious. I want to know more about the genesis of playing cornhole at Big Ten taligates. I'm fascinated by people who love a team enough to get a tattoo of the franchise's logo. I want to know what Xavier McDaniel is doing these days, and whether he's strangled anyone recently. I enjoy the style and culture of sport as much as the games: the haircuts, the uniforms, the rivalries, and - more than anything - the fans. The experts.
I can't wait to talk to them all.