Two of my favorite sites closed down this year: The Dissolve and now Grantland. The Classical started at the same time as Grantland, but didn't live up to its potential either, if making good on potential is judged by financial success only. To survive, The Classical eventually had to become a free for all blog where people volunteer and whose writing (like mine) is probably not of the same, consistent quality or renown as what the site intended upon its initial launch.
You would think the internet would be a place where when talent and intelligence collide the marketplace would roll over for it. Instead, we're seeing that the marketplace is something else entirely. Informed opinions that challenge the status quo of the mediums they participate in and study are viewed as elitist. Meanwhile, platforms that appear more democratic on the surface (but are really just trolling for hits) power on and saturate the marketplace. All the talent that was at Grantland will move on and succeed elsewhere, but this still sucks. It also sucks because while Bill Simmons put the whole thing together, the best stuff at Grantland never had his name on the byline.
Of course, the X-Men would never find themselves without Professor X, and the Ninja Turtles would not be a collective unit without the meditative purpose brought on by Splinter. For others to answer the call, the call must be sounded. And not many could have sounded the call quite like Simmons did. Not many writers ever climb to such positions of power and prestige, which makes what Grantland was, even if it wasn't financially successful, some sort of success. After all, something like what Simmons put together really should not have happened, at least not on the scale that it did, which may also be why it was always doomed to fail from the start.
The cool thing is that individuals imbibed with the human spirit’s knack for creativity and defiance will try something like this again. There will be other Grantlands. Then again, they will be slightly off kilter, something more their own, and not quite of this moment. Grantland and Simmons’ vision for it will surely be missed. A moment of silence. We wait for that next great swell and the crash sure to follow.
Bryan Harvey tweets @LawnChairBoys, mostly about things he knows nothing about.