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Flashback Friday: Us!!!

By Mark Solway | May 27th, 2016

I thought for a Flashback Friday this week, I would take a look back at a little bit of history about the site. There’s method to my madness.

Yesterday I archived over 1300 articles. They were technically the “first” articles ever written by the-hogs.net, and they were housed in a very rudimentary old database. It was there that I started, and it was there that I was inspired to write this blog.

First of all, technology. There were no content management systems in 2002. No such thing as a blog. There weren’t even any good scripts to pillage. I had to build a rudimentary mySQL database. And then learn PHP so that I could use the information on a website. My “hack skills” were born. Deconstructing working scripts that did similar things, and then re-arranging them and learning as I went, to try and accomplish the task. Ultimately, I was able to create a front end and back end to start holding our content in 2003. For the first year-plus – we basically wrote on the fly and over top of what was there the day before.

So it’s funny / aggravating / heartbreaking to be sitting here some 13-14 years later and trying to figure out how to migrate that “crappy old database” over to a new home.

Secondly, I couldn’t help but notice the content. I expected to look back and find garbage – a bunch of hacks that just thought they knew what they were doing, and driven by ego; but that isn’t what I found. I found some really good stuff. Partisan for sure, but quality nevertheless. We had weekly features like The Cheap Seats, Sun Tzu: The Art of Coaching, Scooter’s 6 Pack, and The 5th Quarter – all the way back to 2003 when we started the database.

That crappy old database… man, does it hold something very special… history.

As I scrolled the contents looking for mathematical ways to extract the data effectively, I kept being bombarded with memories. Redskins memories… personal memories… things that happened… people I met… people who have helped me throughout the years… content of ours that has been boastfully claimed by others as “original”… people that have moved on to different things… even people that have passed away.

And so I went on an emotional roller coaster where I didn’t expect to. Too many friends made, to single any out. Too much help given, to thank everyone individually. Too many experiences had, to even try and relay them in a concise manner. Too many doors opened, to amply explain.

After all, 2016 will be our fourteenth season online. When I started the site, they told me that I wouldn’t last 2. Couldn’t last 2. And I think most of the sites that existed back then, are long since forgotten with a few exceptions.

We’ve been through many incarnations. We’ve been through many trials and tribulations. I’ve learned a lot about a lot of different things in my years running this community. And not just about football.

This site has been more than a hobby for a very long time. It is a passion. And while sometimes my responsibilities as a family man and father lend me less time than I would sometimes like, to devote to my passion… it never wanes.

Upon successful completion of migrating all of the old articles over to the blog database where we have been writing our content for a few years, we surpassed the 2500 blog mark. Over 2500 articles written by volunteer Redskin fans here at the site. It’s incredible to think about. I’m proud to have written 2500 times about anything. It takes sticktuitiveness. Fed by that aforementioned passion.

I might actually bleed THN harder than I bleed burgundy and gold. There are friends here. There is family here. There is camaraderie here. There is history here.

And a lot of it is in that crappy old database.

Categories Posted In | Flashback Friday | Washington Commanders |