First, apologies for the lack of content from me lately (I’ll have a Missouri preview up tomorrow), but I’ve been super busy with other stuff. A lot of it was my own schoolwork, but one of the things I was doing was preparing to unveil a new writer to our team, whom y’all met yesterday.
Meet Dominick “Rylan” Romano. He’s a freshman at the University of Florida, which gives us our second current UF presence (along with contributor Tanner Dennie). Part of the idea of this site is to be the most fan friendly and student friendly place to talk about everything Gators, and damn it if it didn’t take me 11 months to find two people to represent the current student population of UF (nope, I don’t attend the school whose athletic programs I devote hours of attention to. Shocking, I know).
But this isn’t about me; it’s about Rylan. He has lived in the state of Florida all his life, which is at least partly responsible for making him about a big a Gator fan as you can find. And while pretty much everybody who owns a blue or white #15 Florida jersey can say that, I can tell you that from experience talking Gator football with him. The guy knows his stuff, too, and that’s every bit as important as being a die hard fan. His deep interests in law and politics landed him a volunteer job at the Lake County Courthouse his senior year of high school, and have also given him a fair but firm take on everything Gators.
It’s the combination of all of that that made jump at the idea of taking him onboard; he’s capable of engaging in thoughtful discussion with any type of Florida fan, in all kinds of weather.
Really, that’s the purpose of the site. Being a Gator fan is one of the trickiest things there is in life. The thesis of the song girls and boys sing while locking arms after the third quarter is that no matter what, the support of their Gators will always be there regardless of what happens. When things are going great, it’s quite easy, and a lot of fun. All you need to do is quote scores, bark like a little doggie at a Georgia fan, or make an exaggerated and much lengthier hand shaking motion to a Florida State fan (I hate the gesture so much I refuse to even name it) and you’re set. But when things aren’t going so well, it gets much, much harder. It’s times like the one Florida football is undergoing right now- a fan base divided over head coach, and quarterback issues- where it’s much tougher to be a fan.
Rylan is here to help with that. He can’t fix the issues that are currently plaguing Gator football (though he’d be a better coach than Muschamp if he made decisions by picking out of a hat), but he can take you through them and explain them to you in much greater detail than “we suck” or “that’s unacceptable at Florida”. Rylan can tell you why it sucks, or why it’s unacceptable. That’s why I took him on. His opinions may differ from mine, but that’s totally fine. Discussion is always welcome here at In All Kinds Of Weather, and his takes may be different than mine, or Joey’s, or NWB’s. And thus, his takes could create some fascinating discussion that without him, this site would lack.
I realize Rylan is also going to bring a number of new readers to the site, mostly his fellow students at UF. To those of you: welcome. Your thoughts and opinions are valued here as long as you’re respectful and articulate them to the best of your ability. We want to engage with our readers as much as possible, so I highly encourage you to comment on anything you see on this site. Questions about things you’d like to see us do? Leave a comment. Something you read spoke deeply to you and you want to let the writer know it? Leave a comment. Disagree vehemently with what a writer says? Leave a comment (but be respectful).
A couple quick rules. We talk with a lot of incoming recruits; thus, a lot of incoming recruits read what we all write, and some of them check the comments box. If one of them sees a comment that reads “Driskel sucks,” it doesn’t speak well about the fan base. Don’t do it. As the site manager I can easily ban a person’s IP address from ever commenting again, but if a recruit sees a low class comment directly taking a shot at a player or coach before I have a chance to erase it, it could really leave a negative impact. You’re only hurting your own school’s recruiting. Again, don’t do it.
Good rule of thumb: attack what somebody did, not somebody. If you want Jeff Driskel to be benched (come on, we all do) then explain why. Describe why he never should have thrown that slant to LaTroy Pittman in the waning seconds of the LSU game. Describe why Treon Harris and a fresh start would benefit the Gators. Some things the Gators do piss me off from time to time, but online ranting isn’t the answer. I’m a college kid, just like most of you new readers that Rylan has brought along. Things happen. Emotions burn. Trust me, I get it. But I keep those emotions off this website, and so I ask you to do the same. It looks bad.
So anyway, welcome Rylan warmly. As the season progresses and things start to play out more, you’ll see much more of him. Follow his new twitter handle @IAKOWRylan. Enjoy what he does for us.
Judging from the comments section of his last article, I can see lots of you already do.