Three years ago, I was sitting in my friend John’s car when Kings Of Leon’s “Sex On Fire” came on the radio. As Caleb Followill reached the climatic chorus, John, a lifelong Washington Capitals fan, changed the words, substituting the word “Stecks” for “sex” in honor of David Steckel. We both got a good chuckle out of it.
As the song ended, I told him that we should perform “Stecks On Fire” at the nearest karaoke bar under the name “Kings Of Leonsis.” It was only meant to be another joke, but it would soon become a lot more than that.
Flash forward to one year later. I was working as an intern in the music department at Sirius XM Satellite Radio. One day, I was approached by a fellow intern who shared my love of sports. Jack Anderson, already a huge Washington Redskins fanatic, brought to me an idea about starting a blog covering the Caps.
Already planning a career in entertainment journalism, I was unsure at first. Jack understood and told me that he probably would not do it anyways because he did not have a good enough name for the blog. My horrible pun (which has become a calling card of sorts for me) from one year before reappeared. I offered “Kings Of Leonsis” to Jack just as long as if and when someone thought it was funny, he would tell them about his friend Adam who came up with it. Jack attempted to convince me one more time. This time, I listened.
What started purely as a way to procrastinate during our internship has since brought us both to heights that neither of us could have ever imagined two years ago. Jack left KOL one year ago to pursue other ventures. And as I write this post, I have decided to do the same.
In the past two years, I have done things that I used to think were impossible. I was fortunate enough to earn the trust and respect of my peers and – most importantly – my readers. I was able to cover games on a regular basis and travel with the team to do so. People actually wanted to hear (well, read) what I had to say, which is something I still struggle to comprehend to this day.
Since taking a job with NBC Washington covering all D.C-area sports, I have noticed that I have less time to devote to KOL. With other opportunities hopefully on the way, I feel it is best to retire the “Kings Of Leonsis” name out of respect to the hard work and dedication that Jack, Reed, Katherine and myself have put into it over the past two years. I would rather end things on a high note than let it fade away.
Of course, there are plenty of people who must be thanked for helping KOL grow. First, I would like to thank SB Nation’s Mike Prada and the rest of the SB Nation D.C. staff for welcoming me two years ago, giving me another platform to earn respect and credibility while also living my dream of covering hockey. I will never forget November 28, 2010, when I earned my first credential. I have SB Nation to thank for that.
I would also like to thank Ted Starkey, Brian “Homer McFanboy” Murphy, Dave Nichols and Sky Kerstein for being invaluable mentors. Without their tough love and guidance (which I still rely on to this day), I would be lost.
Another big thanks goes out to Jon Press of Japers’ Rink for linking to our work from Day One. Admittedly, most of our traffic comes for his site, which is simply the best there is. Same goes to the talented Russian Machine Never Breaks crew and the highly-respected On Frozen Blog staff for welcoming us with open arms.
Jack deserves a lot more than a simple “thank you.” Without him, there is no me. Simple as that.
Of course, the Caps’ public relations staff also deserves much gratitude for granting me access to the team I love to write about. But most importantly, the most heartfelt appreciation goes out to every person who ever read one of my posts, responded to one of my tweets and made me feel welcome. Without readers, there is no point to writing. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that you have given me.
This might sound a lot more maudlin than it needs to be, but it is difficult to end something you have spent two years trying to build. I, however, am not going anywhere. You can still find my writing on NBC Washington and I plan to contribute to other prominent Caps-centric blogs from time to time. There are also a ton of new and exciting Caps blogs out there that deserve your attention. Seek them out. They are worth the time.
The King may be dead, but it will forever live in me as the birthplace of what I hope is a fulfilling life as a writer.
But no matter what, my text will always be on fire.