Our redesigned beta site is open for ESPN Insiders today, but if you aren’t an insider here’s a little taste. It feels good that to know people can finally see it after months of grueling work. The new look goes live in a month or so.
Penn State basketball players go where nobody knows their names. A great feature on the forgettable Penn State men’s basketball team, which recently has become more of a Big Ten spoiler (though not a powerhouse). Poor Jamelle Cornley, no one even knows he plays basketball on campus! On a side note, I think its interesting that though I don’t like basketball that much I think Dana O’Neil and Henry Abbott are my favorite ESPN.com contributors.
SportsTravel Passport and SportsCenter.com. I’m a company man and these are two great time wasters to come out of ESPN this week. The travel passport is cool, you can submit and rank all the sporting events and stadiums you’ve ever been to. SportsCenter.com has info on all the anchors and many of your favorite commericals. Great stuff.
Warning: This post is slightly sentimental and self-congratulatory. Please forgive.
Bringing a nation’s dream to fruition was one of the many themes on display in tonight’s (this morning’s actually) Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing. Since July 13, 2001, millions of Chinese have waited for this moment when the world’s eyes would be focused on the Olympic Games in their nation. The artistic and technological achievements that went into tonight’s ceremonies are astounding and certainly something for the Chinese people to be proud of. I’m even more excited for these Games now, after that performance.
I thought it was worth noting that tonight also brings to fruition my own Olympic dream. In the fall of 1999, two year’s before the IOC awarded Beijing the 2008 games, I was a 14-year-old novice Web developer. I noticed a request for volunteers on the official Sydney 2000 Olympics site, which included positions on their Web site. So I naively sent them my name and a link to my Web site at the time, Steve Online. Unfortunately, the organizers needed applicants who were at least 18 years old and lived in Austrailia. They did send me a very thoughtful e-mail though, saying they liked my Web site and encouraging me to continue with Web development.
I forgot about the whole episode until I discovered a printout of the e-mail while cleaning my bedroom last summer. Eight years later, I was getting ready to move to Bristol, CT to work on ESPN.com. Now I’m a 23-year-old professional Web developer and I had a principal role in building our Beijing 2008 Olympics section. I did it with the support of a number of other developers and designers as well as ESPN’s army of writers, editors, and photographers. I think the final result is something we can all be very proud of and it appears to be resonating with our fans.
It’s been a grueling month and a half of work for me, including a lot of stressful days and crazy hours. I came home tonight feeling mentally and physically exhausted, as if I was actually competing in the Olympics rather than covering them. And the Game are only began tonight, so there will be more to do in the days ahead. So its nice to remember that as a boy 9 years ago, I dreamt of doing exactly what I’m doing right now. Its little things like that which make me realize how blessed I am. Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way.
I went to an open house today for ESPN’s Graphics Department and they made up a player card for each of us. Pretty amazing stuff – a pretty impressive mix of people with design and technical backgrounds.
Summer session takes on a whole new meaning at Caltech. Division III basketball school California Institute of Technology hasn’t won a conference game since 1985. That’s probably because most of the players are super students doing undergraduate research and are getting 4.0 GPAs in physics majors. Kind of flies in the face of “winning is the only thing” but its a fun story.
Johnny Gilbert’s Perfect Sweet 16. Some 3.5 million people submitted brackets on ESPN.com’s Tourney Challenge game and after this weekend’s upsets only 2 had all the sweet 16 finalists (nobody has a perfect one). One of them was this young boy, Johnny Gilbert, a Ohio State fan who says he got all his picks from reading the morning paper and reading up online. Way to go!
Connor rates his Pro Day performance as a 13 out of 10 (jokingly, apparently) and says in a Battle Royale of Penn State linebackers he would take out Paul Posluszny in the final round. Then again, if you read Hashmarks most recent post, maybe you would be feeling this good too.