If a West Coast Sports Newsletter Stops Without Saying Anything, Does It Make a Sound?
It’s been about a month since we last spoke. Apologies for the delay.
Much at the same time sports paused in protest due to another act of police brutality, I took my own unexpected hiatus.
Imagine you’re in the middle of the ocean with no idea where land is. That’s how I felt when my sister went reported missing from a relative’s in Georgia four weeks ago. I didn’t know where to go or what to do but I needed to do something. I had to do something besides trend water.
Thus, I dialed every non-profit and hit all my social channels with details. Many of my friends offered to fly me out there. Each time I felt like I got somewhere, a new challenge surfaced. This was all in the middle of already having her brother in my care.
Luckily, my sister turned up safe at her home a few days later. She never ran away before and knew it was wrong. However, she escaped from her relative’s house without telling a soul because she felt she had no other choice.
The conditions she and her brother lived in might not have been illegal but they were certainly no the best. They went from thinking they were going to Georgia for a vacation to being told they’d have to move schools and never see their families again. That’s a lot for any teen, especially for teens who have already been through the trauma of being taken from their mother at a young age.
It’s hard to talk about since it’s not all my story to tell. I will say that public records and communication should beat privacy and family business every day.
Where I Have Been
Nonetheless, the last few weeks have been crazy for me. My sister came and stayed with me after she returned to California. This was always the plan that had anything happened to their primary caregiver and adopted parent. Unfortunately, it took my sister running away for the adults to listen.
Then, I quickly became an expert in probate, family and juvenile court. I was already working on this. However, I had one brother still stuck in Georgia. It took my efforts in coordination with DCFS to get him home safely.
All this pre-empted the newsletter. For a couple of weeks, I was so caught up in surviving that I couldn’t even escape to sports. I took a break from the podcast too. Getting them in school, activities and routines took away from the research, writing and editing this newsletter deserves.
Each deadline missed made it harder to speak. On one hand, I didn’t know what to say. Should I take a hiatus? When will I return? On the other hand, I built some momentum moving to two times a week, breaking over 150 subscribers and introducing some graphics. Missing one issue made it easier to miss the next one too.
Sports did not stop on the West Coast while I was out. The Clippers choked and the Lakers delivered a Western Conference Finals. Portland’s Oakland ties and Houston’s L.A. ties were no match for the Lake Show. The Sparks and Aces made the playoffs. Slam Diego owned the trade deadline.
SoFI and Allegiant stadiums opened with no fans. Our Golden Knights got bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Your A’s and Dodgers continue to lead their packs.
All this you probably found on your favorite sports website? But did you find it all together in ways that connected it to the West Coast Sports lifestyle?
Either way, I’m only finding the time to write this letter now because I took a leave from my full-time work. Part of me wants to use this time to go hard on the newsletter. However, we are all still adjusting to our new life. I still need time to heal from this whole ordeal.
Not to mention, my work on this newsletter wasn’t exactly sustainable. Throw in three kids and it’s near impossible to stay up into the early AM hours to produce a newsletter.
Where The Project Is
If you’ve been following this project from the start you know this newsletter is far from the finished project or brand. This was only supposed to be a prototype but the feedback I got was so strong I kept pushing.
Still, the numbers didn’t grow as fast as needed to make this profitable. Engagement plateaued a bit as I tried to figure out the new format. It was hard to turn around interviews and meet character limits.
None of this is your problem. You’re just the audience. However, I wanted you to know what was going on. My brand will always put transparency first.
Moreover, this is far from calling it quits. The goal of this project was to gather feedback. I did that both in qualitative and quantitative ways. It was to learn how to build, promote and write a newsletter. I did that too.
I reengaged with old contacts. I found interest in my letter and communities of new newsletter friends. I learned to use Facebook ads efficiently and discovered other platforms like Quora and Indie Hackers.
There’s still a long way to go. List size and engagement needs to get better. I need to build up my interview archives. I need to build a website for this newsletter and probably find a way to get more data in my email lists. Don’t forget I’m figuring out the best days and time to send this letter or letters. Our name and branding still need some workshopping. Social media needs some TLC too.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to work on all these things. I’ll be attending ONA in the next few weeks to learn about all this too. I am going to do a better job sharing my story and my why too. I am two blogs deep on my experience as a 28-year-old raising three teens too.
My other side projects will get worked on too. They will be finished, optimized and tailored off to fit my new lifestyle. Kids, this newsletter and my work are my main priorities.
Stay tuned for some updates on this specific project by tapping in with your email address for free. Many of you have already done that so you’ll be the first to know when the project is back up and running again.
Otherwise, you can support this project by hitting reply and telling me what it means. You can also buy me a coffee/beer if you feel inclined to. However, feedback and shares are the best payment.
Thank you for reading, coming along for the ride and believing in my dream. This is far from over or calling it quits. The best is still coming for me and the West Coast Sports community.
Pete D. Camarillo aka a dude sad by the Clippers’ L but happy for his 2-0 Raiders.