The Story Behind Youngspeak:
So, how exactly did Youngspeak begin? Well, it’s a relatively short story. (I bet you didn’t see that one coming). During spring break of his senior year in high school, Hayes Rule (Youngspeak’s founder) was thinking about sports – naturally. This scene basically epitomizes the Youngspeak lifestyle; instead of doing what most school-aged human beings do (such as go to the beach or go on vacation), Mr. Rule found himself fully encompassed by something pertaining to sports. In reality, he was probably scrolling through Twitter, spending WAY too much time getting up-to-the-minute info on some completely unimportant sporting news – he’ll tell you it's time well spent, though. Don’t believe him. Then, he had his “Eureka!” moment – he felt the urge to start a sports blog. He had previously written for a small fantasy-football-based blog, but it never quite satisfied him.
Rule had currently been writing for a local newspaper, the Eatonton Messenger, but he felt restricted by that. He could only write in a journalistic manner with the newspaper – objective information, no truly exhilarating opine and debate. So, he said, “What the heck – let’s do this. Let’s make a sports blog.” What would make his blog special, though? The worldwide web consists of a multitude of sports websites, blogs, columns, etc. He needed a niche – something unique – and it hit him like a bulldozer. Rule was young (in age that is!), and the targeted staff was young. He’d build a brand of young writers. Certainly, people would be interested in the opinions of a group of fiery, witty and knowledgeable young adults, right?
Well, I suppose so, since you’re currently here reading this. He had found his niche – now, what about a name? Building off his brand identity and his motto, “Age is but a number,” he racked through his brain for something original. After thinking long and hard about it (approximately two minutes), he created a new word! Youngspeak. Young (the writers) + speak (words) = Youngspeak? Let’s roll with that. Hey, no one ever claimed Rule was creative. Why do you think he stole – uh, borrowed – Bill Simmons’ pseudonym, “The Sports Guy” (with his own rendition, of course, replacing the “s” with a “z”). All of you who thought it was pronounced “Youngs peak” are now re-thinking your life – sorry about that. We specialize in sports and news talk, not name creation.
One can’t just make a sports blog, though. A website doesn’t magically fall out of the sky – that would be dangerous (can you imagine the weight of bandwidth?), and most people would probably call you crazy like Chicken Little in the movie…. well, Chicken Little. Forget creating a website for a minute. What about qualified and competent writers? Those certainly don’t fall out of the sky, either. So while the initial idea was enticing at first, Rule knew there was much to be done before he could really say, “This thing’s for real.”
First step? Find a computer geek – and he says that with a positive undertone. While he’s not completely ignorant in the art of computer science, Rule certainly did not possess the knowledge to build and design his own website. That’s where Mr. Morgan Niehus comes into the equation, and sweaty hands scenario number one occurs. Basically, without Niehus, the operation is a no-go. Hayes didn’t know of any others with the necessary knowledge to build a website. He needed Niehus, and quite honestly, he wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. He was prepared to go the “help me, help you” route, if necessary. Fortunately, he didn’t have to pull out his Tom Cruise impersonation.
April 8, 2015, at 10:45 PM: Step one complete.
He said yes?!?! Woo-hoo! **Takes deep breath** and **wipes eyebrow**. All right, step one complete. That’s a big one, but the work wasn’t quite done yet. At least he knew there was a chance, though, and he ran with it.
Hayes Rule was painfully aware that he alone could not maintain a legitimate sports blog; to be successful, content that covers a wide spectrum of sports needs to pumped out like gas into an eighteen-wheeler. Considering his previous experiences with blogs (specifically his fantasy football blog that was run by someone else), he knew he could not keep up with the content demands -- he would need some sidekicks. But who would be his Robin(s)? Who would help him carry the load? Who could he depend on to provide quality -- and entertaining -- stories? Three names popped into his mind immediately: Isaac Weeks, Christopher Kauffman and Nick Olinger. He knew the three personally -- very well, in fact. Each one fit within his parameters. They could write well, they possessed an uncanny amount of sports knowledge across several sports and they were entertaining individuals. Not to mention the most important aspect -- they were under 25 years old. Rule knew they would be home runs. He wanted them. He wanted them oh so badly. Commencing sweaty hands 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0.
First commitment: Christopher Kauffman. How does one describe Mr. Christopher Kauffman? I suppose you can check out his bio -- he can do it better. You’ll get a feel for him simply off his writing tone. Because of his wittiness and almost weird, superior sports knowledge, he was a logical choice. Now, Rule is crossing those fingers. Sweaty hands commencing, fingers shaking….
Oh, goodness. Waiting for that response felt like ages. Thoughts swirled through his head: “Nope, it’s over!” and “Mission failed. Game over.” But then he saw this:
“Definitely,” he says. YESSSS!!!!!! Bottom of the ninth, trailing 3-2, 2-run shot over the Green Monster! This was more clutch than David Ortiz’s shot in the 2013 ALCS.
OK, maybe not that clutch, but you get the gist. Kauffman was a vital piece to the puzzle. Youngspeak was exhilarated to have him on board.
Second commitment: Isaac Weeks. Mr. Weeks was a toss up; Rule was aware that he was currently considering joining another blog -- this one a political blog -- and Hayes wasn’t sure how fond Isaac would be of joining. It was a bit of a long shot, but he went for it. And it paid off. Launching sweaty hands 3.0… If Youngspeak could reel this fish in, we knew we were going places.
Well, that was easy. We’ll take it, though! Weeks was a gift -- something we didn’t expect. For all you fantasy football junkies, acquiring him was equivalent to your last pick turning into a stud. You pick him for his upside, and he’s a nice surprise if he works out. In most cases, a player like that can win you a league. Isaac is the equivalent; you don’t expect him to join, but you ask anyway. When he agrees, Youngspeak becomes relevant. It transforms from a possibility to a done deal. Grabbing our third writer, Weeks, didn’t mean we were done recruiting. YS still had one more fish to catch: Nick Olinger.
Third commitment: Nick Olinger. I’m not sure there are many 18 year olds in the world who contain more sports knowledge than Nick Olinger; he’s a machine. We may have to get him checked out to ensure he’s a human being. He spits out sports history and trivia like Drake spits out rhymes. Hayes Rule knew Nick would add another dimension to Youngspeak. Could it survive without Olinger, considering Kauffman and Weeks were already aboard? Maybe, but it certainly wouldn’t be as efficient and would lack some added content and appeal. Rule knew adding Olinger would take Youngspeak to another level. Commencing sweaty hands 4.0…that lasted a whole 22 hours. Yes, that doesn’t sound long, but in the teenage text world, that’s the equivalent of a century. Rule was aware Olinger was at a baseball tournament, though, so he didn’t fret too much. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t a tad bit worried, though. His heart skipped a beat when he finally saw a return message. “Yes?” “No?” He couldn’t even look.
Checkmate. Batting 1.000. Yeah, we’re good. Youngspeak now had a fantastic four: Hayes Rule, who could cover the NFL, NBA, PGA Tour, fantasy football, and Miami sports; Christopher Kauffman, who could cover the NBA, MLB, WWE, NCAAF, and all things Atlanta and Kansas; Isaac Weeks, who could cover the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAAF, and all things Georgia Tech; and last but not least, Nick Olinger, who could cover…. well, anything.
Then, something unexpected happened. We actually had someone approach us, asking to join the cause -- the cause to change the world, one sports article at a time. Say what?
His name? Ross Cheshire. Supposedly, Morgan showed him the website as it was being created, and he wanted in -- badly. He gave Rule a wild west stare-down and simply voiced, “I want in. I really want in.”Well, of course Hayes couldn’t decline. Rule understood Cheshire was a sports fanatic -- like the rest of the crew -- and was a solid writer. Yet most importantly, he was under 25 years old. Win-win. Now, Youngspeak had a dynamic group of five writers.
Once Youngspeak put the finishing touches on the writing team, it was time to build the website; we give credit to Morgan Niehus for his fantastic work.
That’s our story; true and wholesome. I told you it would be short, and I probably lied -- but I never defined the word “short,” so you have no case to take us to court. That’s what we do here at Youngspeak: provide you with sports analysis and reactions with some entertainment and the unusual twist. We hope you enjoy your stay and tell every living soul you know!
*Note: Many of our original founders are no longer with us, but they were instrumental to the inception and development of Youngspeak. Big thanks!