My friend Bill sent me a page from the program for a great HS basketball tournament I used to help work on. I was the media director, did the program and helped with other stuff but I tapered down my work with them over the past year because I can’t manage Christmas at home the way I want to and work on the tournament. The prep work was hard but three straight days of 10am to 10pm work at the tournament was too stressful with all my other responsibilities.
But I miss the guys who run the event. I miss watching that much hoops. I miss seeing kids who would eventually go on to play college and professional basketball. I miss being media director and running press row at a college facility – and helping reporters, radio and TV guys.
As many of you know, Jeff spent the past few years working on his Certified Public Accountant license. Classes and a long series of exams meant a ton of work. He passed all five exams on the first try and we are so proud of him!
We’ve been waiting for his actual CPA license to arrive and it finally did.
First, we have signed a contract to move our webkinz blog to a network where we’ll be paid for our work. We are fairly excited about this and I’m thrilled to be able to let someone else handle the technical/server issues, as well as stop losing money on our blog, lol! Jeff says I have the golden online touch but mostly I just do what seems fun to me – and this time it was a great chance to do it with Hayley!
We are even paying Hayley to help on the blog now. It was too cute, we made her
interview for the job like a real job interview – Jeff wanted to get her teacher to write a recommendation. (I told her teacher and she laughed at it too and said she would have). Of course, she’ll make less than her allowance per post and will have to post over 70 words to actually make anymore so cross your fingers to see that actually happen!
Hayley is just thrilled that someone is going to pay her for “working”. It is a great early lesson in how this new economy works and how you can create something of value.
Second, on Wednesday before the UNC – NC State game we were listening to 850 the Buzz, the local sports talk radio station, on the way to soccer practice. Well some State fan insulted Tyler Hansbrough and Hayley got so angry. She demanded my cell phone and their number. I told her I didn’t now the number, hoping that would end it. Well next time the station ran the numbers, she wrote them down and demanded the phone yet again. I said I’ll give it to you if you know what you are going to say – and she was very clear about it.
So I called the station and talked to them. They said they’d consider putting her on the air but wanted to talk to her first. After a few minutes, they told her to hold on because they would put her on the radio right after the break. I had to remind her to be polite and not to curse (she is allowed to say ‘go to hell duke and state’ at home), as well as I didn’t want her to say ‘sucks’ but stinks was ok. I had this fear of her just going off!
She was a bit flustered at first but she got rolling like a pro and talked about how great Tyler is, how UNC is going to beat State and that they would win by 20. They LOVED her. They asked who do you watch sports and listen to the station with, your mom or your dad – she says, ‘my mom’. I loved that! They said it was the first time a nine year old girl called in to talk on the air.
I know the host of the program in passing and dropped him an email the day after. He said it was a great call and they enjoyed her doing it. Some posters on IC heard it too and loved it.
I’m just so proud of her – she has no fear of being out front of the pack.
Our webkinz blog is doing really well – it is the #1 webkinz blog according to Google and one of the top 100 english speaking blogs on WordPress. Which is all wonderful but the nicest things ever – two kids made tribute slide shows, one for the site and the other for Hayley. How adorable, smart and nice are they? Check them out!
Our webkinz blog www.atomicolicious.com has taken off. It started climbing over the past few weeks, hitting about 600-800 page views a day. Then the past week has been a new high almost every day. Friday – 1,300 page views… Saturday – 1,800 page views and then Sunday a whopping 4,733 page views and one post with 350 comments alone. Today was 3,600 page views and a post now has 490 comments.
Hayley is so excited by it all. Evidently parents are cool with their kids on the blog b/c it is overseen by a mother and the kids like to trade object through the blog, not to mention get hints, etc. I’ve had so many nice posts from parents. One told me that their kid had read more of our blog than the combination of all the books he cracked this summer – and the parent thought it was awesome because the kid was happy to read it.
Hayley loves posting on it. She is now comfortable with taking a screenshot, cropping and saving it in photoshop, then ftping it to our server and posting it in the blog with some text. I helped her but she typed her first line of straight html on Friday. She can now copy an img src line and edit it to call a different image. How cool is that?? She just thinks this is all fun, not writing, editing, coding and such.
Our latest addition to the blog is …. we did a video news broadcast for the blog. Hayley worked so hard, writing and setting it all up. She planned it all out and was so excited. She even helped me edit things, picking colors, writing stuff up and setting the order, etc.
My dear friend Bryan is a sports editor at the newspaper in Kinston. He writes a blog on the paper and a recent one entitled the The (slow & mostly painful) death of ihigh.com was about me and the company I used to work for before quitting to work for myself and parent Hayley.
I adore Bryan and regular readers might know him from several years of beach trip photos/stories and basketball tournament photos. I’ve known him since the days when I ran nchometeam.com.
There were some really nice comments on his blog too about the site, which really made me happy as well. My work there was something I was deeply passionate about for many years but leaving it was for the best in so many ways.
The (slow & mostly painful) death of ihigh.com
By Bryan C. Hanks
A few years ago, a good friend of mine — Michelle Donahue Hillison from Raleigh – started the northcarolina.ihigh.com site in our state. For several years, it was THE site to go to when you wanted to know what was going on statewide in prep sports. Every school was represented on the site with scores, schedules, news, etc., by local sports writers and writers from within each individual school.
Most of that — heck, all of that — was due to the hard work Michelle put into the site. I know for a fact that she worked sometimes 18-20 hours a day to make ihigh.com the premier prep sports site in N.C.
For a time, the ihigh folks supported her, too. She was able to hire writers from all over the state (myself, Chris Hobbs from Hickory, Langston Wertz from Charlotte, Charles Alston from Rocky Mount, among many others) to write for her.
When the Internet explosion started to die down a couple of years ago, the money dried up, too. She was unable to keep the writers and the site started to die.
But she kept working hard and procured agreements from newspapers all over the state to use their stories on the site. That worked for a while.
She finally decided she was ready to go in a different direction and now runs her own sports consulting business in the Triangle that is – by the way – going strong. But ihigh has continued to plug along, sometimes painfully.
Well, sound the death bells for ihigh.com. Today, the site has moved along to more of a teeny-bopper “entertainment-type” site that pretty much forgets sports altogether.
You know what? Good riddance. Arnold Solomon’s ncpreps.com took over the mantle as best prep site in N.C. after Michelle left ihigh and it is the place you have to go if you want to know what other fans and coaches are thinking throughout North Carolina.
The powers-that-be at ihigh.com should be ashamed of the way they ruined a great Web site.