Oof, this is tough to write. Not because it isn’t time for me to go, but because of how much fun the journey has been. After 4 years of co-founding and co-running #SportsVizSunday, it’s time for me to go. Just as every good athlete wants to go out on their own terms before it becomes overdue and painful to watch, that’s exactly what I’m doing.
4 years ago a Twitter DM from a couple of blokes named James Smith and Simon Beaumont made an impact on my life and professional career that I’ll never be able to thank them enough for. If they don’t include me in that initiative, I don’t know if Luke Stanke ever sees my Tableau Public portfolio, which means I don’t end up at Tessellation.
Running this community initiative has allowed me to meet some amazing people and has provided me with so many amazing opportunities. If you are considering getting more involved in a community initiative or have the opportunity to lead one – I highly suggest it! I’ve learned so much from James, Simon, Kate, and Chris and we’ve also had a ton of great laughs and fun times as well.
Our very first time speaking as a group at Tableau Conference 2018 in New Orleans, we joked about what to do if our audience was 2-3 people. It turns out that people had to stand outside of the presentation area because we had run out of room. At Tableau Conference Europe 2019 in Berlin, we really hit our stride. We packed a huge room and had a really fun interactive session. And afterward, the dinners and drinks with all the friends we had made over the past couple of years is a memory I’ll always cherish.
Tableau Conference 2019 in Las Vegas seems like forever ago in the Before Times, but it was the last time that all of the #SportsVizSunday folks were in the same room together. I’ll never forget coming out on stage with James to Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project (aka the Chicago Bulls intro song). A huge highlight from that trip was being able to get together with all of the amazing people that had contributed to our community for so long. I always say this when presenting to TUGs or talking about #SportsVizSunday, you all are the community, we just help facilitate it.
If I sound sad writing this, it’s because I am (just a little though). I think with any journey, you change and evolve as you go. When #SportsVizSunday started, I was in it 100% to have fun and help grow the community. Somewhere along the way, I think I lost that a little bit and saw the allure of titles, awards, and recognition. Eventually, I learned that if you’re doing something for the approval of other people, then you will never have fun doing what you’re doing. So by the end, I think I came full circle, and this past year with Kate, Simon, and Chris has been one of the most fun years I could have imagined.
But just because I am slightly sad at the thought of stepping down does not mean I am not hopeful for the future of #SportsVizSunday. If you were unaware, #SportsVizSunday has added some absolutely insanely talented people to its roster. The future of the initiative is bright. I can’t wait to see what Simon, Kate, CJ, Simon, and Mo have in store for the future! I will be observing and cheering you all from a distance!!! Spencer out. ✌