Dancing With Noah

Just messing around, getting triple doubles

Three Year Anniversary: the State of Dancing with Noah

It was three years ago on this date that Dancing with Noah (DWN) snuck in through the backdoor of the basketball blogging world while everyone else was asleep — or just doing their own thing. Three years ago I wrote this about the Spurs vs. Grizzlies opening round series – sounding a death knoll for the Spurs that was never heard, and probably only somewhat read.

Now in 2014, the Spurs are still winning 60+ games, still struggling in the first round, and I’m still writing about basketball without any end game in mind. The circularity of it is a coincidence and probably not some sort of narrative completion. If there was any narrative arc to this blog it’d be punctuated by typical human highs and human lows, but there aren’t any discernible mile markers that stand out. My life has changed since 2011, the game has slightly changed, but as it pertains to this blog, the posts keep spinning in slow motion like Curly Neal spinning a ball on his finger at the bottom of the ocean.

In case you didn’t know, in addition to DWN, I write regularly at The Diss, occasionally at Hickory-High, and a couple times at Hoop76. Over the past three years, my engagement with the basketball blog world has created both feelings of great accomplishment and powerful self-doubt and frustration. One hopes and assumes they’re not alone in these feelings, but at times, it certainly seems that we are alone – or perhaps that’s just the mind playing its little assumptive tricks. It was around this time last year when I was ready to throw in the blogging towel and leave an untethered DWN out there as one more dusty archive in an infinite internet library of stories. My frustrations at my own motivations (retweets, page views, appearances on the 10-Man Rotation or Court Vision – really) rose to self-defeating levels and I took a blogging sabbatical (yeah right) this past summer before the inevitability of a desire to write and communicate resurfaced.

So I made the decision to return without any real clues about my purpose or goals. The fall and winter, DWN struggled to find a place in my routine or any consistency. Halfway pieces and ideas made their way into the ether … biographical sketches acted as an exploratory outlet while The Diss’s weekly Diss Guy Miss Guy feature offered a structured routine and format I didn’t realize I’d been missing.

Curiously, in the three years I’ve been writing DWN, there had never been any cadence to posting. I posted what I wanted when I wanted. Probably partially out of laziness, partially out of intent, but whatever the purpose, it led to a floating of sorts. Floating ideas, floating motivations, passing work. Writing DGMG for The Diss has only helped DWN in the sense that I’m better able to structure a weekly feature, Sunday to Monday Thoughts on Basketball, while also tapping into a format friendly to my strengths and which I enjoy writing. At this point, I can’t help but shrug my shoulders at the stubborn resistance to routine, but I know enough to know we learn what we learn when we learn it and not before.

As I thought about the direction of this one-man parade, this somewhat solitary endeavor that is DWN, I was compelled to explore the state of this blog – as much for myself as for my occasional and sporadic readers. While more people have read and commented in the past, I’m at a more sustainable place with DWN today, and as a writer, than I was 12-18 months ago. I absolutely still get frustrated as a writer. It’s a demoralizing feeling to push through a piece in which you take pride and then get no response meanwhile a flippant tweet you offhandedly posted gets a round of applause. But where this frustration acted as a law officer applying a paralyzing taser to my ego a year ago, today it’s merely a detour.

For DWN, concepts of goals and purpose are asides that may make it into the footnotes, but only at the subservience to the exploratory nature of basketball history and prose, goofy stats and personal essays. It’s fitting I suppose because while we likely do play to win the game, it’s never been a premise of this blog. The path of the game, of a writer is constantly moving – oftentimes in unknown directions (but meet me there, by all means). So three years in, we’re still here, still writing, still grinding, still (occasionally) hating (Dwight, Hibbert, etc), still learning, and uncovering half-truths, but definitely here.

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