Swan Song: C. A. Clark bids adieu

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

C.A. Clark bids fond farewell as he steps down as manager of Silver Screen and Roll

I never meant to be here. I never meant to do this. It seems important to me as I say goodbye to inform you all of this. I never meant to be here, and I never meant to do this. Because I never knew I could.

Today is my last day as manager of and contributor to Silver Screen and Roll. Thus ends a journey nearly five years in the making, a journey that mystifies me every time I reflect upon it. The sequence of events that led me from being just another Lakers fan in a city filled with them to a guy with his arms raised to the Staples Center rafters in celebration of a Game 7 NBA Finals win against the Boston Celtics, that sequence was so fraught with obstacles, you might never believe it possible for someone to get from there to here.

I stumbled onto Silver Screen and Roll in its infancy, two days after the site launched. Already, you can see how hard the fates worked to bring me here. You see, I'm not really a big internet guy. When SSR first launched, I barely even knew what a blog was. All I knew was that I liked reading Kelly Dwyer's daily recaps of the night's basketball action on Ball Don't Lie (RIP Behind the Box Score). One day he linked to Hardwood Paroxysm, and I found the link amusing. A few weeks later, he did it again, and so I found myself perusing HP for the second time in my life, and that just so happened to be the day that he plugged a brand new Lakers blog run by a friend of his, the imitable blog founder Josh Tucker. And so I found Silver Screen and Roll.

I read Josh's introductory post, and I liked what I read, but I could easily have walked away and never visited the site again. Like I said, I'm not a big internet guy. I don't like talking to other people over a computer, and would much rather do it in person. I haven't looked at my Facebook page in two years, haven't posted to it in five. And every time I read the commenters in articles on Yahoo or ESPN, I found myself ashamed to be a part of the same species. I could easily have decided that this new site would be no different than all the others I had seen in the past and quickly fled. Instead, I decided that if I wanted an internet community I didn't hate, here was my chance to make one. Josh was asking for people to help with the blog, and so I reached out to him to ask if I could take on the most important task of all: making the rules.

He agreed, and here we come to the next obstacle - the rules had to be written. I was not a writer. To that point in my life, I don't think I had ever written a single solitary word for the purpose of public consumption that was not an assignment of some kind. I wrote various papers and essays in school, memos and guides at work, emails and the occasional letter to my friends and family, but that's it. No poetry contests in high school. No essay contests in middle school. No journal, no diary. Writing for fun and enjoyment, writing for the thrill of having other people read and pass judgment on what you wrote, was a concept as foreign to me as passing up a game winning shot is to Kobe Bryant. But the rules had to be written, and I was the fool who had volunteered to write them. And so I did. And so I enjoyed it. And so a new door was opened that I had never even considered before; writing for the pleasure of writing.

It took me 26 years to realize that I loved to write, and so I think it only fair that I had to wait just four weeks for the next life-changing discovery - that you all enjoyed my writing, too. Frustrated and angry after the Lakers' disappointing Game 4 defeat to the Yao Ming-less Houston Rockets in the 2nd round of 2009, I penned a rant that summed up my conflicted feelings about the team. I didn't think much of it at all, so little that I didn't even think to make it a real post - I put it up as a Fanpost. This wasn't analysis or a breakdown of the action. It was just my opinion - who could possibly care about that? A lot of people, as it turns out. By the end of the day, the Fanpost was on the front page, and had a link to it on TrueHoop.

The rest of the story is actually pretty boring. Once I put two and two together - that I enjoyed writing and that there was an audience for my thoughts - it didn't take long before I was asking Josh leading questions about how to make a business out of things. And when he decided he wasn't up to the commitment of running the site, I was happy to take over the mantle. The ride has included some truly memorable experiences (Seriously, Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals ...  I WAS FREAKING THERE) and some truly awesome people, and every once in a while, this site blessed me with the rare opportunity to reach beyond basketball and discuss life's larger themes. But now, the ride is coming to an end, at least for me.

I've learned a ton about myself over the last four years. I've learned what I am, what I'm capable of, but I've also learned what I'm not, and that is why my ride is ending. I'm not a journalist. I'm not a manager. I'm not a basketball junkie. I don't spend my waking hours scouring the internet for basketball news and analysis. Heck, even though I've been doing it for going on four years now, I'm not even really a blogger. You deserve to have the leader of this site be, or aspire, to all of those things. I am a writer, and I don't want to be anything else anymore. Silver Screen and Roll needs more than that.

So I leave you in the capable hands of Mr. Andrew Garrison. I can't speak for his aspirations, but I can speak for his talents, and they are extraordinary. I expect that he will take Silver Screen and Roll to as yet unforeseen heights. That he is around to take the reins is a great comfort to me, and one of the reasons I was willing to step down. With him at the lead, and a stable of some of the finest contributors SB Nation has to offer, SSR will be stronger than ever.

I'd like to express my overwhelming gratitude to everyone who has helped me along the way to this point: To the SSR originals like Josh Tucker and Dexter Fishmore, to the folks who work so hard to get you your Lakers information every morning in The Credits, and to all of our excellent contributors, past and present. Most of all, I'd like to thank you, the members of the blog, for coming to this site and spending your time with us and with each other. Thanks for reading, thanks for your praise and participation, and thanks especially for those of you brave enough to challenge ideas that you did not agree with, for you are the ones who have made me get better at what I do.

I am a writer; I have an art. Five years ago, I was unaware of either of these facts, and if it were not for this place, this wonderful place with its wonderful people, I might never have found out. This may not be the right place for me to pursue my art anymore, but I will feel forever blessed because of the role this site has played in helping me discover who I am and what I want to be. Here's to hoping that other people will get as much out of Silver Screen and Roll as I have.

-C.A. Clark, signing off

[Author's Note: I'll be taking the site's Twitter feed for one final spin tomorrow night as the Lakers host the Indiana Pacers. After that, you'll have to follow my new personal Twitter account @hoopenthusiast. Also, anybody wanting to email me for whatever reason should catch me at cclarkrun@gmail.com]

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