“The print newspaper is in trouble,” begins the mission statement of The Faster Times (which I give the italic treatment here because it is at heart an online newspaper). When I saw this proclamation back in early 2009, I just nodded solemnly. I’d just been downsized not from a newspaper but a magazine, but I could see what was happening to my old buddies at the Globe. The editorial staff was about half the size it had been when I’d left less than five years earlier. So, yes, even an old-timer like me could see the times they were a-chan– . . . oh, never mind the ancient cultural reference that no one in the new media generation will get.
(Hey, I’ve even got a website now! And I’m on Facebook and Twitter. And while I swore I would never text, you’ll now find me sitting in a cafe, all thumbs on the iPhone … if I happen to have decided to carry my cell phone with me that day. Some old-dog tricks don’t change.)
Anyway, my Wondertime friend Kathy Whittemore was among the first to join up with The Faster Times, which was created by Sam Apple, a Wondertime contributor. Kathy became the parenting editor, and a bunch of ex-colleagues hopped right on board. I was interested, but wanted a break from the parenting scene. It’s not that I didn’t love parenting, but I felt that writing about it had run its course. So I checked out other sections of the site and ended up e-mailing Mason Lerner, the sports editor — no, wait, it’s sport editor, no “s.” I told him he needed someone to write about mixed martial arts, a sport I’d followed for years, even though most sports fans I know turn up their noses.
I wrote about MMA for The Faster Times for about a year and a half, until Sports Illustrated invited me to be its online MMA columnist. I then switched my Faster Times beat to the news of the day, writing a column called “Sports Pulse,” which was a lot of fun until I didn’t have time to have fun anymore. So no more Faster Times for me, but some of what I wrote there still lives on in cyberspsace: