In 2004, a Chicagoan’s idea for a masters sports magazine caught my attention and fluttered my heart. It had me at its title — GeezerJock. Despite the cheeky name, editor Sean Callahan and partners were serious, and I joined as a contributing track writer.
In 2005, it even named an obscure 54-year-old sprinter named Bill Collins as its inaugural Michelob ULTRA GeezerJock of the Year.
But in 2008, after months of editorial excellence but poor circulation (and changing its name to Masters Athlete), the book I called Sports Illustrated for age-groupers folded amid the Big Recession. (The same publication pandemic that led to my being laid off with dozens of others from my newspaper in 2010.)
The other day, Sean sent me a note. GeezerJock was back! And the force behind it is another crackerjack scribe — Ray Glier of Atlanta, a 64-year-old sportswriter of five decades.
At first I was peeved. How dare Ray steal the too-perfect name!
But Sean calmed me down, writing: “We let the GJ trademark lapse, and Ray is doing this with our grateful permission. Ray’s a great writer. I hope to write for the newsletter and help with the marketing. We should have done GJ online the first time around; we’d probably still be in business.”
Whew! So I wrote Ray and got his story.
Issue #2 of The Geezer Jock newsletter is out. https://t.co/K8Md1ZbYFJ
— RAY GLIER (@RAYGLIER) June 12, 2021
He replied (graciously) to a dozen shameless questions:
Born in D.C., one of 11 children, but I live in Atlanta. I have been a sportswriter for 47 years, the last 29 as a freelancer in Atlanta. I had regular bylines in The Washington Post and MSNBC and USA TODAY from 1992-2002 and then started contract work for The NY Times in 2002 until 2019. I stayed with Gannett/USA TODAY for 27 years.
Newsletters are the best publishing platform right now. I can send a blast out immediately, instead of people trying to find a blog. The newsletter platforms also make it possible to link media.
Sean Callahan is a friend. His Uncle Joe and my parents were pals. I was one of Sean’s regular contributors for GJ from 2006-08. I loved it. Sean and his co-founders love that GeezerJock is coming back.
The newsletter is free. I’m the only person working on it, so there is no monetization, so to speak. It publishes through Revue, which was bought by Twitter. There is no fee from Revue. If I ever decided to charge for subscription, say $30 a year, Revue would get 5 percent. We’ll see how that goes, but right now it is free. There are other ways to monetize.
I own the domain geezerjocknewsletter.com. There are no trademark issues. I own Geezer Jock.
I started Monday with a base of 298 people who are getting the newsletter and many are in media and have started to send it out. Sean Callahan is working the email channels, too. I’m connected to the guy who built Bleacher Report from nothing to 1 million, so I pick up lessons from him.
It’s going to take solid storytelling to grow the brand. If I can write for The NY Times for 18 years, I can do this. In 2018 I won first and second place in sports feature writing in the state of Georgia.
I’ll cover all sports. I just want the best stories, the ones that inspire people. This Saturday it will be Rich Hill of the Rays. I have a lot of MLB scouts as friends and one of them gave me some insight into Rich. I’m also a member of The Baseball Writers Association of America.
I have a basketball goal in my side yard and can still beat my athletic sons in H-O-R-S-E. I love the time-bending tricks of older athletes, how they manage their bodies, and keep getting after it. I can’t think of a better way to close my career than writing about the people I grew up with. The Geezer Jocks
out there are going to inspire me.
I will treat this like a full-time business, which means I’ll have to do “paid” work on the side to pay my bills. I labor over everything I write, so it will be a challenge.
He’s put out two newsletters. The first focused on a Skippy Mattson, a 68-year-old swimmer and elite physical therapist who was PT for Team USA’s swim team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Ray writes: “This inelegant term ‘Geezer Jock’ will feature the joys and triumphs of athletes, and the rest of us, who happen to be older. Tips, quotes, news and storytelling will be stuffed into this newsletter.”
Seventeen years ago, I wrote of Sean’s project: “Truth be told, GeezerJock may be our last hope for a serious magazine of this sort. About 15 years ago, a newsletter called Masters Sports had a brief run. Nobody knew about it. It crashed and burned without a trace. But GeezerJock has made a great start already.”
I also pitched: “These folks have their shit together. Now it’s your turn. Go to GeezerJock.com and sign up for a free subscription. I’ll keep y’all informed on its progress toward launch. This should be big.”
GeezerJock died, but GeezerJockNews is a worthy successor. Hope Ray can made a go if it, and y’all support him.
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