Pride Of Detroit turned nine just a few months ago. Nine years may not seem like a long time, but in Internet years that's almost an eternity. Back in 2006, Sean Yuille was just a 15-year-old high schooler writing about his favorite team. When I was 15, I had trouble committing to the two daily household chores for which I was responsible. Sean, meanwhile, was building the foundation for something great. I'm sure he never expected that his website would grow to be the amazing, thriving community it is today, but that never stopped him from working.
To say that Sean helped Pride Of Detroit grow would be like saying that Barry Sanders helped the Lions running game in the 90s. He didn't help; he was solely responsible. Without him, sure there would be a Lions SB Nation blog, but I have a hard time believing the site would be as well-respected and prolific as Pride Of Detroit boasts today.
Even though Sean's name was all over nearly every article at Pride Of Detroit, I didn't really have an accurate depiction of how hard Sean worked until he hired me as a contributor four years ago. After getting a peek behind the Internet tubes that run POD, I saw the countless, thankless hours Sean did to organize, prepare, predict, edit, plan, write, research, moderate, delegate (rarely), write some more, tweet, Facebook and write again. My appreciation for Sean's hard work only grew when he asked me to watch over the site on the day of the 53-man roster cuts. Those five hours were some of the hardest, most intense work I have ever done. How Sean managed to juggle all of those responsibilities for nine straight years is truly astounding.
And his hard work paid off immensely. While Sean is an excellent writer and extreme workaholic, it was his determination to create a smart, fun community of Lions fans that drew me to this site immediately. Sean could have easily hired someone to moderate comments and FanPosts, but he always wanted to oversee it himself, to make sure the vision he had for this site came to fruition. The same goes for the quality of his content. Sean never resorted to "clickbait" and always knew when a topic had been beaten to death. It's that sort of integrity that turned this tight community of bright, respectful people into the best comment section in the Internet world of Lions fandom.
When I first started writing here, a joke quickly developed in the comment section. After someone responded to one of my articles by mistakenly calling me Sean, it soon became tradition to comment on my articles with a "Nice article, Sean." At first, I'll be honest, I was a little peeved. Trying to break out in this sports writing business is hard, and I wanted to make sure people recognized when I wrote something. But soon after, I realized this was about as big of a compliment as I could get from the Lions community. If I was being compared to Sean's work, either in jest or otherwise, that was still an extremely flattering comment. Today, I wear "Nice article, Sean" with a badge of honor.
I was honored when Sean first let my FanPosts reach the light of the front page. I was shocked when, the following year, he wanted to bring me on as a full-time contributor. Now that he has recommended me as his successor, I feel forever indebted to him. I don't take this new responsibility lightly, as I have been a first-person witness to the amount of work and dedication it takes to upkeep this site. I also want you all to know that I share Sean's vision of continually building and maintaining a site built on integrity and respect. I know of the huge task ahead of me, and luckily, Sean left one more imparting gift to me and all of you: an extremely competent and creative supporting staff. One of Sean's underrated skills was his ability to spot talent (myself excluded, of course). The writers and editors we have on staff are some of the most talented I have borne witness to, and I know that they will step up when I eventually get overwhelmed.
Thank you, Sean. Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for giving me my start. And thank you for over nine wonderful years of this amazing community that you created.
Great website, Sean.