It’s been two years – two years and six days to be exact – since I first turned the light on at ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive headquarters and, well, we’re still alive.
What started out as a passion project has turned into something that continues to amaze and humble me day-in and day-out. Never did I think that an idea that popped into my head and a name I wrote on a piece of paper back in 2009 would not only materialize but become an endeavor that is continuously taxing and rewarding at the same time.
Many of you started following us through Twitter as @OnlyGators began months before OnlyGators.com ever existed. As our following slowly grew, I hoped only that the website would satisfy the 2,000-or-so people who chose to read my tweets and trust me for information about the Florida Gators.
Just a few months after the website began, Twitter readers were only a portion of our daily audience. I was surprised how quickly the site took off but considering it started days after Tim Tebow suffered his concussion and just months before Urban Meyer resigned for the first time, perhaps it should not have been much of a shock.
If you’ll allow me to humble-brag for a minute, I feel it is worth noting that OnlyGators.com has amassed more than 4.2 million visits since Oct. 1, 2009. This is our 2,500th post and sometime today the site will register its 15,000th reader comment. Our Twitter account has amassed more than 35,200 tweets and ballooned to over 13,500 followers. (Every number mentioned has more than doubled since 10/1/10).
[EXPAND Click here to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Whether you’ve been with us from the very beginning or just started logging on here recently, I sincerely appreciate your support and dedication as well as all of the time you have spent on this website when you otherwise could have been working on getting a promotion or spending time with your loved ones.
Please indulge me once more as I wanted to take a moment to thank some people and organizations for supporting us over the last two years. Thanks to Brett, Dustin, Rebecca and Jesse from Acceleration.net for keeping us up and running.
Much love to Erin Andrews for her constant support and generosity, and thanks to many, many other Gators – such as Jack Youngblood, Kevin Carter, Alex Brown, Danny Wuerffel, Mike Peterson, Cornelius Ingram, Joe Cohen, David Nelson, Dorian Munroe, Al Horford, Chandler Parsons and Taurean Green (just to name a few) – for opening up your lives to us at one time or another for our in-depth interviews.
Thanks to Mark Wheeler of Rivals/InsideTheGators.com for bringing me on board and helping me reach an even larger audience, and much appreciation to both Abe Gordon from SiriusXM and Marc Ryan from 100.3 FM The Ticket for putting me on the air on a regular basis. Thanks to dozens of major media outlets including CBS Sports, ESPN, FanHouse, NBC Sports, Sports Illustrated, The Huffington Post and USA Today (just to name a few) for either sourcing or linking to posts from the site.
And thank you to all of my friends, family and colleagues I did not name (you know who you are) for your advice and support.
This may be a bit too much of a reflective post considering we are not going anywhere any time soon, but I’ve always believed in remembering how you started and appreciating what you’ve accomplished along the way.
As Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference.”
While there is no blueprint for what I am trying to accomplish here, there are some exciting possibilities on the horizon for OGGOA over the next few months including one project in particular that I sincerely hope will come to fruition sooner than later.
Here’s to another year!