All good things must come to an end, but this isn’t really “the end.” Sure, it’s my end to the last three years and change that I’ve spent here at Philly Sports Network. It sure as hell isn’t the end to what I love doing, and that’s writing, covering, and talking about the Philadelphia Flyers. I’m moving on to something new, but I’ll get to that. Right now, I want to reflect on my time at PSN, the best three years at a job that I’ve ever experienced.
The Very Beginning
I was working at a local news station overnight. It was July of 2017, somewhere between two and three in the morning. I was waiting to go out to set up our morning live shots when I came across a tweet from the Philly Sports Network twitter account. No, I can’t find the tweet. Trust me, I tried. The tweet was about finding Flyers writers for their Flyers division, and it piqued my interest. I grew up a Flyers fan, I loved the Flyers, I figured why not, let’s give it a shot.
What I DO have is the email I sent to Liam basically telling him I had no writing experience, but please hire me to represent PSN as a Flyers writer.
Well, now you can see just how far my writing has come. My first article was actually the sample that I sent Liam to try and convince him to hire me. Again, can’t believe THAT was the piece that solidified his stance to bring me on, but nonetheless, here I am. The beginning was pretty cool. I got to write a few articles a week in my spare time and talk about the team I loved the most. Liam was incredible in making me feel right at home with everyone involved. It was easy to see that this place was special, and everyone involved was part of the PSN family.
Buckle up, because the middle is the longest. I started hitting my groove, pumping out articles left and right at a pace that I didn’t know I could achieve. All of a sudden, we started getting picked up by Bleacher Report. Our articles were being referenced by some bigger sites. The Flyers team was taking off, and I was overwhelmed with joy that I was a part of it. We worked hard. We would grind out almost an average of two articles per day some weeks. The hard work was finally paying off.
The PSN Flyers crew ended up with credentials to the Flyers home games. It was surreal just knowing we had that type of access, let alone actually attending a game. It was difficult for me to attend games, living two hours away and working a full-time job as well. However, on April 7, 2018, I attended my first Flyers game as a credentialed media member. I got to watch the Flyers clinch a playoff spot, all the while Giroux recording a hat trick and surpassing 100 points on the year. To say I felt like a kid in a candy store doesn’t even begin to do justice to the feeling of sheer elation that I felt sitting in that press box. It was vindication. I was a man living out his childhood dream of covering the team he grew up watching.
As if I wasn’t already on cloud nine, we ended up being credentialed for the playoff series against the Penguins a few weeks later. I had the privilege of representing PSN at game three. The highlight of my career to date happened after that game. The Flyers gave up three goals on the powerplay, and I mustered up the courage to ask about the high number of stick penalties the Flyers took against a lethal Penguins powerplay. Dave Hakstol’s reaction to my question was the most emotion I had seen out of him as the Flyers bench boss. I was taken aback before he backtracked a bit and elaborated about how the team would address the problem for game four. To this day, I’ll never forget the day that Dave Hakstol got testy with me in a post-game presser.
From then on, it was all downhill. I’m kidding. We ran through our fair share of issues, sure. We had departures, we had egos that didn’t gel with a lot of us. What never wavered was the fact that no matter who was writing, no matter how many writers we had, we always provided quality content that sparked interesting conversations amongst fans.
I met some of the best friends that I have because of this place. I’ll elaborate a bit further down the page, but Pod Street Bullies wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for me meeting my partner in crime, John Gove. John joined PSN and quickly became managing editor of the Flyers division. Around the same time, I was appointed as one of the lead writers for the Flyers. We hit it off due to our shared love of the Flyers, and have been podcasting masterpieces every week ever since.
John departed to chase after his passion for hockey prospects. Shortly after leaving was when Liam appointed me the managing editor. It’s been almost a year since I assumed the role, and it’s been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’ve gotten to lead, more so be a part of, the most incredible team of writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I branched out and started helping the Sixers team, which provides some of the absolute best Sixers coverage out there. I’ve helped out with the Phillies, college teams, even Philadelphia’s NLL team, the Philadelphia Wings.
The official podcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Leafs Forever, reached out to Liam about having a Flyers writer on to talk about Kate Smith and her impact on the team back in the 1970’s. I got to be a part of that episode. I was on the official podcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yes, the guy who wrote the email above “detailing” why Liam should hire him as a Flyers writer, was on an official NHL teams podcast. Imagine that.
I’ve gotten to meet a few of my colleagues as well. I brought people here to write about these teams. I lived and breathed PSN because I was enjoying my time here so much. I met Jamey Baskow, now of Flyers Nitty Gritty, at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms outdoor game against the Hershey Bears. I met Eagles writer and co-host of Flippin’ the Birds Chris Infante while out on a job in New Jersey. The late, great Matt Martin was a friend of mine whom I met through flag football in my hometown. Rest assured, I will be meeting Liam Jenkins one way or another. The friendships I’ve made along the way will be cherished forever.
If you want to call it “The End,” I guess that’s correct. It’s the end of my time here at PSN. This decision tore me apart for awhile. I’ve never had a job where I was proud to admit that I worked there until I started writing at PSN. I’ve always been a proponent of leaving a place in better shape than when you joined. When I joined here, we already had an incredible team assembled to bring you some of the best Flyers coverage out there. Now as I’m about to leave, I know for a fact that PSN provides the best Flyers coverage out there for your consumption.
The past two months of mine have been spent designing. The same guy who barely knew how to type an email asking for a job has now designed his own website. The podcast that John and I created a year and a half ago has taken off in a big way, and we’re now going to start covering the team under a new umbrella. Pod Street Bullies is now a website that will cover the Flyers and all their prospects. It’s a risk. It’s a risk that I’ve thought endlessly about for quite some time now. It’s also a risk that I would kick myself if I didn’t take.
With the launch of the new website, I will no longer be able to perform my duties as managing editor at PSN. It wouldn’t be fair to the incredible team of writers we’ve assembled. They deserve the leadership and guidance that I just won’t be able to give them now that I have my own website to look after. Jesus, this is sounding like a breakup…
Let’s get to some fun stuff.
The Flyers Guys
You guys are workhorses. Some of the most driven, hard working individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I couldn’t imagine what my time at PSN would have been like if I didn’t have every single one of you as a colleague. If I can leave you with anything, I want to leave you with this: Do not settle.
You’re all some of the best journalists I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. You hone your craft and put all your heart into the pieces you put out there. Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever become content. The moment you become content with what you’re doing, you’ve failed as a journalist. You can always be better, and you should always strive to be better. Not the best, but better than the best. You can be the best at your craft, but there’s always room to be better.
There’s no collection of words I can put here that will do justice to the impact you’ve had on me. However, because I’m a writer, I’m going to give it a try.
You took a chance on a guy that couldn’t even form a professionally-worded email. You took a chance on someone thats biggest qualification for this job was that he was, “an avid follower of the Flyers.” I can only hope that I made that decision worth it for you.
You gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. Because of you, I was able to cover the team that I grew up watching. I was able to attend multiple games as a member of the press. I was able to live out a dream that many have, but only a handful actually live out. I was one of the handfuls. I was one of the handfuls because of what you’ve built.
Working for you never felt like work. It was always a joy to be able to settle in and crank out an article whenever I was feeling motivated. With you at the helm of PSN, motivation was never scarce. What you’ve done with PSN transcends the site itself. You’ve turned a teenage idea of yours into a site that many turn to in order to stay informed when it comes to Philadelphia sports. You’ve made PSN a second home to me and many others, and I hope you know just how much I enjoyed my time here.
The best part about this all is the fact that not only did I get to live out one of my dreams, I made an incredible friend along the way. Not many people get to say that one of their closest friends is their boss, but I’m one of the lucky ones. Years from now, I’m going to be able to look back at my time at PSN with the fondest of memories. I’m going to be able to say that the years I spent here were some of the best of my life, and I got to do it with a friend.
You’ve made my time here so special, and I’ll never forget a second of it. From the site crashing because an article blew up, to some of the ridiculous happy hour zoom calls, even getting to see you represent the brand you built at an NHL event. You’ve told me how proud you are of me, now it’s my turn to tell you how proud I am of you. You built an empire that I was honored to be a part of. You’ve not only given me the ability to achieve my dream, but you’ve done that for every single one of the writers you’ve put into place.
Do yourself a favor, and remember that every now and then you need to take a step back and look at what you’ve created. I know how taxing running this site can be. The trials and tribulations can be overwhelming at times, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Take joy in every breakthrough, every unique article idea, every person you interact with. It’s alright to take a day just to recharge. You’ve preached it to all of us, now practice it! Don’t be afraid to let go for a day just to sit back and bask in the fact that you’ve created something so special, so incredible, that I took the time to write an article just to say goodbye in a way that only you would appreciate.
To You, the Reader
There’s a love-hate relationship with a lot of you. I love interacting with everyone, don’t get me wrong. I hate the fact that some of you are just relentlessly negative. I totally get it sometimes, I really do, but damn. It’s ok to be positive every now and again, I promise!
With that being said, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you. I want to thank you for allowing me the pleasure of providing you with coverage of the team you love. Thank you for reading my articles, for calling me out when I was wrong, or when you thought I was wrong. This is a constant learning experience, and I learned a lot from the interactions I’ve had over the years.
To some of you, thank you for inviting me into your lives. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to some incredible human beings along the way. I got to know Candice Smith and Kelly Sowatsky after doing two pieces on their search for a kidney. They gave me a glimpse into a part of their lives that was so private for some, and they allowed me to tell their story. It was an honor to do so.
I’ve talked with so many of you, and continue to do so. I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations of my life with many of you. You’ve all broadened my scope on not just hockey, but life itself. Getting to interact with you all was the best part of writing at PSN. Thank you all for making my time here so much more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined.
Elaborating off of a prior part to this piece, the podcast that John and I started back in March of 2019 is expanding. We’re getting into the article game. Go figure, two guys who used to write for PSN got the itch to get back into the game. John has been pitching this idea to me for months, and I was hesitant to say the least. I loved my position here at PSN. Quite frankly, I never wanted to leave.
The promise of being able to build our own brand was just too much to offset. Don’t get me wrong, having a hand in building the PSN Flyers brand has been an absolute treat that I’ll always look back on in the fondest of lights. However, it’s time to put my own stamp on Flyers coverage under my own brand.
To try and sum up all of this rambling, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for reading the pieces I’ve put out these past three years. Thank you for all the interactions, positive and negative. Without the negative ones, I wouldn’t have become the sarcastic prick that I am today. I’ve interacted with so many new people because of PSN and had some wonderful discussions along the way. Flyers hockey has brought us all together, and I’m forever thankful for that.
I’ve always been a proponent of leaving a place in better shape than when you started. When I began writing at PSN, we already had a great team of writers covering the Flyers. I knew right then and there that it was going to be difficult to practice what I preached. Looking at the team we have now and how far we’ve come over these last three years, I’m beyond confident that I’ve done my part, and the Flyers team will continue to thrive. Thank you all for being a part of a childhood dream. Without you, this guy wouldn’t be who he is today.
Mandatory Credit – Bill Streicher/Icon Sportswire