Republished from my old 4cupsr.us blog post on January 28, 2012.
"I'd like you to be my manager."
Coach Malcolm Lester was promoting me, but, to my 16-year-old self, it was a demotion. Coach Lester was asking me to become the scorekeeper for his lacrosse team. He recognized what was obvious to everyone, including me. I was good at math and I wasn't very good at lacrosse. The best way – the only way – for me to stay in the sport for any length of time was to hang up my cleats and to pick up a clipboard. I said no, but a year later, in my junior year of high school, I finally agreed.
I worked hard at it and I was pretty good. When one of our star players started showing his stats to college coaches, the head coach at Dartmouth tried to recruit me, the guy who took the stats. I won one of my school's athletic awards - it was the first time a non-player had won in the school's 80+ year history. Five years later, I was MIT's Manager of the Year. I developed perl scripts that moved our stats online. I also twice successfully disqualified a goal for the other team. Those two goals equalled the number that I scored as a player.
Sports matter. Seven years of scoreekeeping reinforced that fact to me. Sports stir passion in players, fans, parents, and communities. Sports inspire people, and they motivate people to spend hours a day – usually unpaid – to coach, to practice, to drive players around, or to stand, in freezing cold weather, with a clipboard to record stats.
This experience helps me understand GameChanger. GameChanger is a beautiful and fast-growing mobile scorekeeping app for amateur baseball and softball. But the company is about a lot more than keeping score. The GameChanger app generates detailed professional quality stats and it produces a live play-by-play of games. Parents, out-of-town relatives and fans subscribe to that play-by-play to follow games that they can't attend. The product's effect is transformative. I've talked to several users of the product already, and the overwhelming consensus is that it has improved how coaches coach. And by connecting far-flung fans to their players and teams, GameChanger is making the world a little smaller.
I'm excited about helping GameChanger improve and expand. I am also excited because I've never been anywhere with higher expectations. GameChanger's baseball and softball apps are exploding in popularity and their fans are eager to see what's next. There's also a personal reason for the high expectations. I've known Ted Sullivan (GameChanger's CEO) and Andrew Huling (a fellow engineer) since 1989 when we were in 7th grade in Washington, DC. I know they expect a lot out of me, and I know that there are folks back home who do as well.
I get to work on something that excites me and with people I believe in. Can't wait to begin.