Tonight is the first night since early November that there hasn't been a college basketball game. Even the light nights so far have featured teams that we cover here at Mid-Major Madness, making something "must see viewing".
I took the opportunity to go out and drive around Chicago.
Nothing is really open, this being Christmas Eve and many people celebrating at home with their families. But there were lights and a few cars here and there. It was quiet.
There was time to think.
Two years ago, there was no Mid-Major Madness, and in May of 2012, SBNation took a chance on me and Nick Lewis to bring this site back to life.
It hasn't been easy. We battled through the first summer just trying to get 100 people to come look at the site. It was a minor miracle when Jet Chang let almost 1,000 visitors to the site in a day. Someone was interested in what we were doing.
The first season of Mid-Major Madness ended in early April of this year, and it was what I would consider a success for the rag-tag band of writers that we were able to assemble. Wichita State made the Final Four. We covered almost every single NCAA game featuring our teams, and we hit 100,000 pageviews in March.
We were able to prove that people did care about basketball when it was played somewhere other than in the major conferences. Along the way we recruited a solid group of contributors and we have made the site more complete every step of the way.
It was something to be proud of as I drove around tonight; something that made sense to me in the craziness that was my own life in 2013. Through whatever I was dealing with, there was this site, and the people who wrote here with me, laughing and enjoying basketball that not many others were watching. We launched a podcast and somehow we have people who tune in every week and listen to us chatter about basketball, which from what I can tell is a big departure from most of the basketball podcasts out there.
Sometimes it feels almost surreal given that we ply our trade in a vacuum, somewhere between obscurity and insanely popular fandom. But we have our core group and an amazing group of followers and readers that make this worth it.
For the next several days, we will present the Best of 2013 at Mid-Major Madness, highlighting some of the pieces that have made the biggest impact here at the site.
There will still be some basketball this week and we will be sure to be watching. But it is worth looking back at what we accomplished in this small space over the past 365 days.
Enjoy and thank you for being a part of what we have done this year.