Closing Time–Underling Edition

I’ve stepped back off the articles because I figured Jay deserved the spotlight as we tick towards zero-hour on the blog. Clearly, this is a million times more his baby than mine. But as we approach the last days, I figured it’s time to officially sign out myself. Note that I was planning on writing a 5,000 word short story on “What Would Happen If Kain Colter Converts the 4th and 1 Against Ohio State.” It was set in 2028. NU had won 4 national championships. Kain Colter was a senator. Four power conferences had developed, each of which had between 20-24 teams (the breakdown of which took a full hour and a half to get worked out).  It was awesome. Then my computer crashed and I lost it all. Evidently, not even in my virtual world can Northwestern become a national power. There’s something almost poetic about that.

So who am I, I guess is the place to start. As you can tell for my byline, I am Ben Goren, I’m a Northwestern junior in WCAS, a history major, and a third-generation Wildcat. My parents met at Northwestern and have passed their fandom down to me. Our front door is painted purple. It’s a serious problem. The earliest football game that I have any memory of was the Minnesota game in 2000 where Kunle Patrick tipped a Kustok Hail-Mary to Sam Simmons. I was following the basketball team in the days of half-blind point guards (Collier Drayton) and the litany of Croatian big men (Vedran Vukusic, Davor Duvancic, Ivan Tolic, Ivan Peljusic, etc). I’d like to think that I’ve got a pretty good handle on NU history and thus a good sense of perspective because of that.

I came to write for Lake the Posts because of my involvement at WNURSports (on twitter at @WNURSports, online at advertisement over). That’s where I met Jeff Eisenband who in turn hooked me up with Jay who handed over the keys to the Sunday wrap-up article for football. I loved the “5th Down” series. There were a lot of highlights. First was me describing Justin Jackson’s running style as a Jason Wright/Tyrell Sutton mix. I was promptly accused of being completely irrational and foolish because I compared a freshman back to those great NU running backs. I feel a little bit vindicated about that one, not going to lie. Then there was the Iowa game. Not a fun one, but when I wrote my wrap-up about how the season wasn’t over, there were some angry people. It also was the source for my favorite comment on my article this year: “Ben, if you don’t think this season is lost, you need to find another line of work, or this blog needs to find another expert.” The comment got 7 upvotes, but when NU beat Notre Dame and Purdue and was playing for a bowl game the last week of the season, I was smirking a little bit.

The above stories are not to say that my relationship with the LTP community was a negative one, because it wasn’t. My favorite article, or really piece of writing, I’ve ever written was my 4th Down article. It took off-and-on researching over about 3 weeks to catalog every single play Northwestern ran on 4th down under Pat Fitzgerald. The basic takeaway was that Northwestern was a little too conservative (shocker) and that the special teams were a consistent problem (another shocker). It was a lot of staring at excel sheets and a lot of making graphs, but the community reaction was so overwhelmingly positive, it made it all worth it. It was really a treat.

There’s no doubt that I’m going to miss writing for this blog. When things go right, it’s full of excitement. That Notre Dame 5th Down article was fun, even if Notre Dame became a terrible team after that game. When Northwestern lost, and especially when they lost a couple in a row, it became a little more difficult, which makes sense considering outside of the women’s basketball team, there are a whole lot more bad things than good things going on in Northwestern athletics. On the whole though it was a wonderful experience. Personally, just being able to improve as a writer has been wonderful, but being able to delve into a topic I’m super passionate about made it just that much better. I’m really sad to see this website go. It provided a really unique combination of regular blog stuff and just the right amount of actual breakdowns while speaking to alumni in a way that a lot of other places just can’t.

I’ll be moving over to InsideNU, so if you’re so inclined to continue reading my strong hot takes on Northwestern, that’s the place to go. I’ll be taking my Trevor Siemian posters with me. Thanks for reading, y’all. See ya round.

  • Noah

    Thanks for the content.

    See you on the other (in)side!

  • Thanks for the articles this year, Ben. Glad to hear you’re going to continue writing, I look forward to continuing to read your stuff.

  • Good stuff, Ben. Thanks for the articles. Keep writing and don’t worry about the comments. Wildcats love to argue, hate to lose, and have a flare for the dramatic. Go Cats!

  • NUProf

    Your articles have always been spot-on from my point of view. It’s been nice reading such a mature viewpoint from a kid I remember coaching in 4th or 5th grade basketball games (We had an awesome team, even if I didn’t actually coach you, but I think I did.). I might add that your Mom was the only woman I’ve seen play in the Wilmette over-30 basketball league and she was a tenacious defender. A piece on your parent’s co-rec basketball careers might (or might not) be a good read. I’ll look forward to reading you on INsideNU.

  • Polymersci

    Ben, thanks for the “reveal.” Pretty awesome writing, your passion showed. Great stuff. Loved the 4th down article. Looking forward to reading your work at InsideNU.

  • cece

    thanks for your strong ‘Cats support and good writing!