Black College Nines founder Jay Sokol received my email more than a year ago after I discovered his fine website through my typical rabbit-hole research and reading. I appreciate how the site sheds light on oft-ignored HBCUs playing a sport (college baseball) that struggles for exposure, and I wanted to contribute to the work.
We chatted for a while about our research/writing interests and the possibilities that existed, which included expanding a section about legendary players from HBCUs. This part fascinated me because I didn't see a way to contribute to the fine coverage BCN provides of current teams.
I have the honor of contacting these HBCU legends and talking at length about their college experiences. For me, it's an absolute joy to hear the stories and learn about the history. And I'm grateful that BCN makes it really easy for people to access all of the articles in the series. My role is to ask good questions and then get out of the way to allow these gentlemen space to tell their stories. I really enjoy the work for my own selfish reasons.
But there's a much deeper joy I feel when we receive readers' comments on the articles. I love when someone says they learned something or the article triggered a flood of memories. My favorite feedback so far came a couple of weeks back from a woman whose father-in-law was the roommate/teammate of James Robinson, a North Carolina A&T legend I visited with last year.
She showed the article to her father-in-law and wrote to thank us for "making an old man happy." Her father-in-law was so excited he called his pal and they reminisced for some time on the phone.
How 'bout that! There's no greater compliment I could receive or satisfaction I could feel from my work than to know something I wrote helped bring old friends together.