I remember growing up as a calcio fan -- and note, I use that noun, not soccer -- being one of the only ones around caring about what I cared about, knowing anything about what I knew, feeling the conflicted feelings I would always feel throughout my life.
I remember the times when I grew a little bit older, but still way younger by my own current standards, and getting into other things: life, social status, social studies, social engineering, social networking, social awkwardness -- without things which I've learned to take for granted like Fox Soccer Channel and Gol TV finally being included on every basic cable set up.
And I remember things like the 2006 World Cup, when a diminutive Neapolitan with an abnormally high vertical jump would caulk over whatever cracks were developing over my calcio-obsessed psyche.
I remember the year we spent in purgatory, together -- we as fans who joined the team -- as I would check up on the latest Serie B standings from my laptop during whatever dull class was occupying space in my third and final year of law school, as I yearned for the bar exam to pass with promises of a return to the promised land.
I remember last spring, over a year ago, when Aaron e-mailed me out of the blue.
Wait a second.
The summer prior, was tumultuous one for Juventus. Finishing in 7th place, the worst since Calciopoli and missing out on the Champions League despite all the expectations of good fortune, the team was...I don't know, reeling?...rebuilding?...lost?...in the beginning of a new cycle, probably more appropriately. I remember chatting/speaking with my then fiancee, indoctrinating her into the church of Juventus, and telling her all of my theories about what went wrong, where the team was headed, what they could and should do, etc., etc., blah blah, etc., and...
I remember discovering the best fan site that an American without any hope of anybody around him understanding him could find. I remember taking a shot in the dark and seeing if they could use another person's opinions contributing. Aaron wrote back -- he and Roberto had it covered. I figured as much.
Eventually, a marriage and a new job later, last spring Aaron wrote me back. The Juventus Offside needed another writer, as Roberto had bid farewell. It was announced some weeks earlier that they could use another writer and, rather than send another e-mail, I decided to pass. I already gave it a shot. But, despite that, I was asked to join up. Within a week I was introduced and on my way.
Time moved on. Another 7th place season was recorded in the books. Aaron left. I took over. The Juventus Offside moved over to SB Nation, a fine community.
I guess, what I'm trying to say is...
I am going to write a preview for the Palermo game tomorrow. And that is going to be the last time that I write a piece for this site.
Work has again changed, and for the better. Unfortunately, that means less time for me. Life also moves forward. Unfortunately that means less time for blogging.
I simply cannot run this site anymore. And, as Aaron once wrote: life tends to move in cycles. This one has passed.
Ideally, I will be able to continue my most enjoyable hobby, blogging, about a team and a sport that I love. But it will have to be on terms which do not require me to be *the* head guy. I would need to take a back seat and become a minor cog in the machine. I'm not going to lie, there is a good chance of that working out. But that's really all I know or can say right now.
Most importantly, however, I never realized how great this community was. Even when I reached out to Aaron in the first place about joining as a writer, I was ignorant as to how large the readership was -- despite the crowded message board, which I never read. It was only after I became a writer that I truly understood and appreciated how huge this site really is -- and only a fool wouldn't be grateful for the readers who log on each day, read, and debate, comment, and spend way too much free time on whatever nonsense I have to spew.
So, yea. Thank you.
Like I said...I'll be around. You'll know what winds up happening.
And, once more, I can't say it enough -- thank you all.
(Did you really think that a music person such as myself would leave you without some melancholy, slow-tempo, piano-heavy piece of nostalgia, especially after having just returned from a Springsteen concert in New Jersey?)