Welcome to suacbobcats.com (Stand Up and Cheer Bobcats for the unaware) where I hope you’ll find information, good stories and a link to Ohio University. This is the introduction post where I hope to explain who I am, what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.
I’ve been fortunate as a working adult, in that until this year I had never had to deal with getting summarily dismissed from a job — aka laid off. It wasn’t something I did or didn’t do, it wasn’t based on performance, or ability, or availability. It was cost-cutting. In the first month of the seemingly never-ending coronavirus pandemic, my place of employment simply dropped me one day. It wasn’t fair, or just, or even particularly unsavory. You spend 15 years in one spot, doing what you do, enjoying the work if not the financial compensation, and then it’s gone. No severance, no extended benefits.
It’s just over.
I’m not special or unique in that regard, and again I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t fallen ill. I’ve been ‘okay’ in most aspects.
But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy either. For so (too?) long my identity has been tied up in what I did for work, it became part and parcel to who I was. I didn’t mind. I had carved out an existence that for the most part I enjoyed. But when it’s suddenly taken away — in the midst of the entire country losing its mind, resolve and reason no less — it’s disorienting.
The usual months of aimlessness followed. Bouts of insomnia, depression and similar maladies that have afflicted so many over these last seven months became my constant companions. In lieu of interacting with people, I became intimately familiar with my own psyche.
But you adjust. You look for work. You apply for unemployment, and only get cleared when your state rep nudges the office on your behalf. You exercise. You get part-time and free lance work.
You get by. You survive. I’m currently juggling three different ‘jobs’ and this has become my new normal.
So why this venture? Why try to extend when things are already tight and hectic enough? Because I missed it, and that feeling of telling stories continues to pull on me in ways I didn’t envision.
This is, for now, a labor of love. I’ve enjoyed my time covering the Bobcats, sports in Athens County and in southeast Ohio in general. It’s an area that’s underserved by traditional media. There’s a niche that I could help fill. I believe there is a purpose in doing what I do.
I’ve been a newspaper guy for 25 years. I’ve always approached the job with diligence, an eye for trying to tell it straight, and tried to tell stories that people wanted to know about with my own voice.
That’s the mission statement for suacbobcats.com. It’s just me, from soup to nuts, a one-man operation. Initially, I’m going to be writing about the Bobcats pretty much exclusively simply because of the amount of work involved and time limitations. I’ll be writing about Frank Solich and Jeff Boals, the Bobcats’ pursuit of MAC titles, and all the other topics that fall in that orbit.
I’ll post when I can, as often as I can. I hope, in many ways, to mirror much of the coverage I contributed to The Messenger in my posts here. I’ll do my best to be fair, be accurate, and adhere to my own style and voice.
I would love for this endeavor to become my sole, or primary, occupation. But that isn’t entirely up to me. If this project is to last, and become something I can make a living at, it’s going to need you.
You want more Bobcat coverage, features about and from Athens County? I hope to be part of that. But that depends on you.
For now, reading these posts and sharing them, and interacting with the website, and spreading the word is enough.
This is the beginning. It’s not one I thought was coming a year ago, and or even three months ago if I’m being honest, but it’s here. There’s plans in place to build on to the website, to offer a true subscription service if there’s enough interest, and develop more of a social media presence.
I know the Bobcats inside and out. I have good working relationships with most people in the area, and on campus. I believe I can offer something that hard-core, or casual, or former OU fans may have been missing. None of that disappeared when my job title evaporated in April.
This is what i do, and it’s time I got back to doing it. So I hope you’ll give me a shot, come along for the ride, and see if we can’t create something special in the process.
— Jason Arkley, Nov. 4, 2020