I haven't written a fanpost since I retired from the front page a couple years ago. This seemed like a good time to jump in.
Bruins Nation is us, and so its ultimate fate lies with us as well.
Assembly Bill 5, which I think was genuinely born with good intentions but, like most things in government, got corrupted far past its original intent, directly affects the operational framework of SB Nation. I appreciate that the State of California is trying to protect individual workers, but there is a big difference between thousands of Uber drivers with no benefits and a select few volunteer Bruin fans devoting their spare time to blogging. But while the new law has huge ramifications for how SB Nations conducts its business going forward, it doesn't inherently mean the end of Bruins Nation. In fact, the BN community will have the final say about that one.
Since everyone is taking the opportunity to fire off their political stances, I'll admit that I've been a registered Repub since I turned 18, but Goldwater Republicanism disappeared about the time I was hopping on board and the subsequent path of that party has not followed my own path of growth and maturity. The free market and the consumer ought to determine the fortunes of business without an overbearing government getting in the way. At the same time, human rights and individual conscience should determine who marries whom and who makes healthcare decisions and where and how someone works without an overbearing government (and religion) getting in the way. There ought to be a balance, but the two party system breeds extremes. As such, I’ve been a man without a party or candidate for most of my voting life, which at least allows me to genuinely and non-hypocritically hate both parties and the various iterations of government we’ve lived under. It’s nice to always hold a piece of the moral high ground, but it’s rather frustrating to always be on the losing side, too. In both aspects, it’s been a good solid preparation for being a lifelong Bruins fan.
I joined BN not long after its birth from DumpDorrell. I commented for the first time on the night of 13-9. And for many years I was privileged to be a front page writer/moderator/editor here. Through this, I understand intimately the time and devotion and investment - from the front pagers and BN community alike - necessary to keep this place alive.
Nestor and his legendary crew set a tone for how this site was going to stay active and topical and vibrant and brutally direct. We all worked hard, but Nestor especially poured hours and hours every week into this site for years and his work ethic and passion were contagious. We volunteered our time and research and writing to make Bruins Nation the go to site for free content on U.C.L.A. sports. We knew that SB Nation was making bank off of our backs from ad revenue from page views because we were always one of the top 2 or 3 college blogs on their site. It was a pretty good gig for them.
None of us took a penny for our efforts. BN wasn’t about that to us. We wrote because we believed in U.C.L.A. and the Woodenesque ideals those four letters carried. Our motives for writing here were our love for U.C.L.A. sports, our disdain for certain coaches and Athletic Directors blocking (pun intended) progress, and our appreciation for the community that gathered here.
Right around the time I retired from the front page a couple years ago, SB Nation shifted away from the independent op-ed blog format that begat BN to a more news-oriented platform. At the same time, they began paying small sums to some of the editors and writers, but it was never enough to fully employ those people or call them professional journalists. Those original motives were still absolutely necessary to keep this site afloat, and so I have enormous respect and appreciation for Joe and DC and Orlando and Dimitri and Anteaters for their blood, sweat, and tears they poured into BN. They have regular jobs and lives and SB Nation does not remotely compensate them equivalently their time here. That they have done it for so long and so well tells you all you need to know about them. The same applies to N, Bell, tasser, Ryan, freesia, Meriones, Achilles, IE Angel, luv, 88 and all the rest of the front page gang before.
Those three purposes – love for U.C.L.A. sports, opposition to the roadblocks, and appreciation for the community - still exist. And as long as they exist, so will Bruins Nation.
I doubt that it will be here. I cannot imagine that SB Nation can afford to contract with the writers on every site in a manner that would convince them to give up their day jobs and become full time employees. As a result, right now SB Nation is looking to hire a few full-time writers to work for multiple sites, ideally in some sort of regional organization. Imagine SB Nation rolling BN in with Conquest Comicals and Rule of Tree and UC Berkeley’s site. California College Nation! Get your revenue sports-only articles here! Can you imagine Joe writing articles about *$c football? Actually, I would almost pay to read that, but their fans probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much. I certainly wouldn’t want any of their guys trying to even spell Spaulding Report, let alone talk intelligently and/or fairly about the depth on our offensive line. And I’m almost certain SB Nation can’t hire to the bandwidth needed for great articles on our gymnastics teams, volleyball teams, baseball and softball teams, soccer teams, and the other sports we have been so lucky to read about in depth on a regular basis. Those articles are written not out of a professional obligation but from love and passion and personal interest.
Those athletes and those stories deserve an audience with the Bruin family, so one way or another, Bruins Nation will go on. It may be here under the SB Nation umbrella, or we may be forced to wander the internet in search of a new host site. But I ask all of you to follow BN, because Bruins Nation is not an SB Nation site. Bruins Nation is something that cannot be owned or legislated.
Bruins Nation is us. You and me.
BN is a community of fans of our incredible Bruins student athletes and our unmatched athletic legacy and our sacred Bruin ideals. Wherever we are, there will be BN. The url may change, we may all have to contribute a bit more to keep it working, and depending on rights, the words at the top of the page might change (if SB Nation owns "Bruins Nation", we drop the s and become Bruin Nation and now we match the twitter handle). Stay tuned, we'll figure something out. Because as long as we, the BN community, wants it to, Bruins Nation will go on.
Go with it.