Hello readers of RCS! Today is April 15th, which marks exactly one year since I officially launched www.reigncanesports.com. I want to take this time to document our journey so far, and talk about our goals going forward; but most importantly to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who has visited our site.
The way I came up with Reign Cane Sports is a pretty amusing story. One day while listening to my differential equations teacher drone on about Laplace Transforms, I began to doodle in my notebook. I knew I was going to move into an apartment the following year, so I had been thinking of a Tulsa-themed design that I could put on my living room table, figured it would be a cool summer project. When thinking for inspirations for designs, I thought of one that I’ve always admired. I am a huge golf fan, so after seeing the Masters logo hundreds of times the previous week, I tried to see if I could recreate it with the Tulsa flag and the state of Oklahoma.
After drawing the design, I showed my girlfriend (whom was actually trying to pay attention in class). She said she liked it, saying that TU should make something like that a logo for their athletics. I am sure that she was just pandering, but her telling me this is what caused me to think about another application for this logo. Instead of a design for a coffee table, maybe I could use it as a logo for a sports blog…
I knew that Tulsa sports was extremely under covered. The Tulsa World does fine work, but their agenda is more focused on OSU/OU. Inside Tulsa Sports provides good content, but they require a $100/year subscription to read their stuff. There were no fan-perspective news outlets, and there certainly wasn’t a Tulsa sports podcast. I knew that myself along with my friends could fill that void.
I’ve mentioned this many times, but I grew up a huge Oklahoma State fan. One of the big sources of news for OSU sports now is a website called www.pistolsfiring.com. Pistols Firing is a sports blog that was started by an insurance salesman and OSU grad Kyle Porter. Kyle started the blog in 2010 without a degree in journalism, without any sports writing experience, the only thing he had going for him was that he was a huge sports fan. After running the blog full-time from 2012-2014, Kyle was hired by CBS. He just finished covering his second Masters Tournament. Needless to say, Kyle was the main inspiration for me when designing this website. (If you want to read more about him, read his story here).
While I was certainly interested in pursuing the website, I was skeptical about my ability to execute it. That is where Jeremiah Benes comes into the story. Jeremiah, or “Beans” as we call him, is a current senior majoring in computer science at TU. Beans is well regarded for his technical know-how, so I knew that if anyone could help me start a website it would be him. I approached Beans, and he was immediately supportive. Furthermore, I learned that he actually runs a company on the side where he starts websites for people! (A further reminder that students at TU are amazing, man).
I can only say I am the creator of Reign Cane Sports insofar as I was the man with the idea. Jeremiah got me my server, bought my domain, and coded my entire website for me free of cost. For that, I am ever grateful.
Current Reign Cane Sports writers Zac Jones and Brett Stewart were among the first ones I told about my idea. We had a group chat going all year where we would talk Tulsa sports. I told them about my vision; bringing our banter from a group chat to an online platform. Writing articles about Tulsa sports, and just hanging out on weekly podcasts. They did not share my enthusiasm at first. Zac was worried about his academic workload, while Brett was concerned that writing critically about Tulsa football would hurt some of our relationships with current players. Luckily, I was able to convince them, and we are all glad that we decided to do this together. All three of us continue to do well academically, and TU athletes absolutely LOVE that there is a sports blog that writes about them.
When I started this one year ago, I established some short-term goals for the website.
- 20 posts by the first football game
- Know how to make a podcast by the first football game
- Run it faithfully through football season
- Weekly podcasts recapping that week in college football
- Game previews for each game
At this point, I am happy to say that to some extent, we reached all of those goals. I didn’t make any goals for site visitors because I didn’t know what to expect, but now on April 15th, 2017 I am blown away by the support we have received. Here are a couple of things that make me smile.
- Our site has been viewed over 10,000 times.
- On October 3rd, we received 328 viewers alone.
- My article “A Wish List for Tulsa’s New Football Uniforms” has been read 545 times.
- Our Twitter account has 733 followers, and we have multiple tweets that have been retweeted/favorited over a 100 times.
- We’ve had 84 articles published, and 17 podcasts.
While I certainly am proud of where the site has gone, it is the people that have reached out to me that make me the happiest. We receive a good amount of mentions on Twitter during TU games, which provides us with plenty of fan perspectives. Tulsa fans, including my old chemistry teacher, have personally reached out to me. I hear a lot of people say that they appreciate the perspective that I add. At the end of last season, Dane Evans and Trent Martin reached out to me on Twitter, saying that they appreciated me covering the football team this year. Whenever my friends see us at a TU game, we frequently hear people say: “Can’t wait to hear what the podcast will have to say about this!” It is the interactions like those that make doing this so worth while.
Now time for some thank yous.
First, to Jeremiah, Brett, and Zac. Thank you so much for helping me execute this vision. Your diligence and care for this site has made it what it is now.
To my friends at TU, thanks so much for supporting my writing, and not getting annoyed with me sharing every article on Facebook. One of my goals is to get TU students more interested in our sports, and hopefully my writing is helping do that. A special thanks to my girlfriend as well. She barely knows the first thing about sports, but she is always one of the first to read my articles.
To everyone that has ever read one of our articles, thanks so much! Your interest and feedback is the driving force behind me doing this.
Finally, a thanks to my family. They have no ties to Tulsa sports except for me, but my mom will share every article on Facebook while my sister listens to every podcast. Thank you so much for supporting me.
As I stated at the beginning, I just wanted to use this article as a way for me to talk about my journey with Reign Cane Sports. Thank goodness my writing has improved since the first article, and I will strive to get better and better going forward.
I had some trouble this Spring writing articles, but going forward, I have some plans to make this website bigger and better. The podcast can be improved a lot, having more writers would help our volume of coverage, and learning photography will help the visual appeal of the articles. I won’t get into any specifics in fear of letting you down, but just know that our plan is to ramp this thing up in the Fall.
That is it for now. Thank you guys for being a part of this 1 year journey, I appreciate all of you. As always, let me know of any feedback or ideas you have.