The long year
I think everyone comes to a point in their life when they can cut bait and walk away, or stay and fight.
Over ten years ago, I had the altruistic vision that I wanted to help student athletes have a tool to help promote them to college recruiters.
I started with a dinky camera, and great aspirations of helping everyone, and so I did.
I created RGVSN.com and worked hard that first year.
I never felt I was in competition with anyone, my goal was to cover as many games as one person could. This was my therapy away from the classroom.
Within a year I knew I was on the right path.
The only other guy doing something like me was a scandalous magazine publisher that attempted to get coaches fired, and I knew I didn’t want to be him. I wanted to be his direct opposite.
In a short amount of time, The Monitor kicked me off their forums, because I represented competition to them. They would change their site from a forum, to a news site, that is now RGVsports.com.
I was very lucky that year.
Out of the blue, I get an email from Clay Williams asking if I would be on his show, the Sports Extra. We were together a number of years, adding Greg Selber to the mix added another sports savant to go along with Clay. I was the idiot in the room.
I started broadcasting games with Joe Bowling when he was let go from the Monitor for doing a game on RGVSN.com.
We would be the first company in the state to do a live video stream of a game.
I would later change the websites name to 956sports.com to try and separate the confusion between us and RGVsports.com.
I would pick up a partner Carlos Robledo around 2011 and things looked good. Look so good that when Harlingen played San Antonio Warren in Corpus Christi we had a fifty thousand view game. Joe Bowling had the call that game, it was our biggest game ever.
The next week looked great, Harlingen and I had a tentative agreement to broadcast the game with San Antonio Madison, but it all came to screeching halt when the president of channel 4 bought the rights from us for the game. The partnership with channel 4 had no where to go but down from there.
In a Trump like slander campaign they would go after schools that we had relationships with, and belittle 956sports, trying and diminish all the broadcasts we had successfully done.
Many people asked if I was mad at Clay, and I would say that he didn’t have anything to do with it. This was a money play to take away what we had established.
I totally understood why their president did it, they took everything I told them in a meeting about creating a web presence and created what Valley Central is now, the biggest site in the area.
They would offer Joe Bowling a position to get him away from 956sports, and he jumped at the chance.
It was a secure job for him, although over the years they took away his chances of calling games, and he’s been regulated to only reporting.
Carlos and I trucked on, building a following, creating website for districts, and offering great content for them. The money we made paid for 956sports to keep a staff of one full time writer and stringers.
In fact, the website was able to get EE/Mercedes on Sportscenter. I got Edinburg high and Vela on Top Plays on Sportscenter, to go along with some awards. It was top notch information.
In hindsight, it’s smart to not use unstable writers who had questionable judgment.
Our only full-time writer would cover games for us in the mid-valley.
He had worked for that questionable magazine I detested, and he wrote an article calling out a coach and another coach for sexual indiscretions with no proof, just a rumor and the urging of his publisher.
Good writers are few and far between, but we needed a writer, so we picked him up.
He would originally start as a stringer. He was the GM of a baseball team that couldn’t pay his staff. That team would eventually fold.
He did what he was supposed to do for us, writing articles to fill the content on the school websites.
Everything looked like it was going well, but last summer things changed.
Carlos took a job with Weslaco and had to leave 956sports and the responsibilities to keep it afloat fell to me, along with the bills.
Everything looked like it would be fine, but then Weslaco had to stop working with us to avoid a conflict of interest.
Then I would find out that our writer of two years was working on ways to steal the school contracts from underneath me.
He would go to meetings, act like he was content, but he low balled our contracts by two-thirds.
Edcouch Elsa would leave to go to the writer’s website, and then Donna and Donna North.
I still had Mercedes and I was very happy about that.
Mercedes had a new great stadium with room to broadcast, it was heaven.
The income from that account would pay off the bills and I would find a way to pay for the only employee I had left.
We broadcasted the Carroll vs Mercedes game that week for them, and the following week I received a letter saying that they had decided to cancel their contract with a year left.
Mercedes reneging on the contract was the straw that broke my back, and my wallet
My last employee Kevin and I would work the fall season, just the two of us and sometimes help from stringers, and Greg Selber, but the end of 956sports as we knew it was happening.
Although I don’t like to talk about how I found out Kevin was leaving, he would eventually get a job with a local newspaper.
It was a great pick up for him, it’s hard to find journalism jobs without a degree, so you have to lock those up. Nonetheless, I was alone for the first time in a long time.
Taking a new job, I had less ours to devote to the website and finding stringers was getting harder.
So it seems that with a few months left before the season, the smart thing to do would be to throw in the towel and close up shop.
The only problem is that I’m stubborn. I could easily file for bankruptcy and walk away clean, but I can’t do that.
I owe to much to the coaches that helped establish the website, and the people that helped me along the way.
956sports.com will continue.
We will be releasing more web shows, and our content will be fresher than ever in the fall.
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