I came to Fake Teams over five years ago for a number of reasons. I was just starting out as a writer, and was really just looking for another place to write besides my own blog at the time. Ray's advice for anyone looking to get into this remains the same now as it was when I started five years ago: write, write, and write some more. So when Ray asked me if I wanted to start writing for the site, I jumped at it with the hope that it would lead to more and more writing. It has definitely led there as I approach 900 posts written for the site, but other things have come with it that weren't expected.
One of those things I didn't expect was community. The internet can be a dark, lonely place if you let it be that way, but we've also reached the point where you can find a community that has similar interests to you, and wants to talk about those topics even if they don't live anywhere near you. Fake Teams has been that for me, a place to talk about fantasy baseball with people that are interested in it, as opposed to subjecting my wife to those same discussions, who isn't particularly interested (but at least is a baseball fan!).
While I have actually never met any of the writers here in person, I still feel like I know a number of them fairly well from the correspondence and communications I've had with them. One of them I met in the last year was Brad Coustan. Brad was looking to write about fantasy football, a topic which I readily admit is not one of my strengths, and Ray included him with our coverage for the 2014 fantasy football season. He came in and also organized a writer's fantasy football league, which went about as well as I thought it might for me (Translate: I stunk up the joint.) What stood out to me at the time was the fact that Brad had a lot going on in his life, but still wanted to make the time and effort to run this league and also write about fantasy football simply because he was passionate about it. As I learned more about him (which, to be honest, was not as much as I probably could have), I was just amazed. Brad had a full-time job with a big job title, and was doing this writing while also going through treatment for multiple myeloma. He wrote about his battle with the cancer at his site, and was surprisingly upbeat about it. We had almost nothing in common, except for the fact that we both wanted to write about fantasy sports as if it were more than just a silly little game. Our desire to do this had brought us both to Fake Teams, and while we were not friends, we were definitely not strangers.
So when I started checking my Twitter application yesterday morning, I came across this one, and my heart just sunk.
This was not the news anyone was looking for. We were supposed to be reading about the draft, and looking forward to seeing what the future would bring for these teams. Our fantasy football coverage will be kicking into gear in the coming weeks, and I anticipated reading more from Brad this year. To be honest, I had not checked on his site in a couple of weeks, because these things happen when you get busy, and so the news was a little more surprising to me than it probably should have been had I been keeping up on how things were going for him.
There will be a lot of things to read today about the draft results, and things will move forward as they always do when someone passes on. The fact that this community brought this person I had never heard of, and unfortunately will never meet, across my radar is amazing to me. Even in a very small way, my life is just a little bit better because of the example that Brad aimed to live by. His cancer was not going to keep him from finding the good in things, and the good things that happen each and every day, and it's a lesson that will stick with me. I am saddened by his passing, and can only offer my condolences to his family on behalf of myself and our community in their time of need.
People come and go here at Fake Teams, and we hope that you stick around and participate in the discussions, because we're all better served with good, ongoing discussion. You never know what you might find, or what you might learn about from your fellow community members and staff. I know I wasn't expecting that when I came here, but it sticks with me now just how important it can be.
You should also check out one of his posts from last season, "For Love of the Game", as it is one of his best to be sure. Brad, you're going to be missed here.
If you'd like to donate to help Brad's family, you can do so here. In addition, you can also donate to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation here as well. Cancer sucks, and hopefully they (along with the many other cancer-related foundations out there) will continue to do good work towards making it less frequent and aim towards eliminating it.