This afternoon was one of the saddest moments in sports journalism. In the wake of Bill Simmons dismissal and the flight of other notable writers, ESPN has decided to shut down its’ sports blog Grantland.

Created by Bill Simmons, Grantland quickly rose to become the most popular sports blog in the United States. It was recognized for its analytical, fun style and commitment to provide the world with interesting knowledge that was different than that of what larger publications were expected to report.

As a fan, I will miss the freedom the writers such as Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons felt to publish off-the-beat articles, not feeling compelled to be the first to report on current events in the sports world. I will miss the random tidbits of pop culture and humor that made Grantland so much more than any other sports publication. I will miss Jalen Rose screaming “got to give the people what they want,” because it let me know that for the next hour he and David Jacoby would entertain and educate with wit and passion.

But as a writer, I will miss the opportunity to model my work off of one of the greatest contemporaries in sports journalism; a site that was committed to journalistic excellence in the face of most media outlets competing to report events first and analyze the most subtle, insignificant aspects of star players.

I will miss everything about Grantland.

The void left by its absence will be filled by a generation of writers influenced by the purity of sports journalism Grantland gave the world. This publication I write for, Sconnie Sports Talk, is just one of the thousands of sports blogs created in Grantland’s image. Take the words of our editor-in-chief Zach Rosen, who “modeled this site [Sconnie Sports Talk] off of Simmons’ wildly successful project, trying to emulate the site’s analytical style and personality as a Wisconsin-focused Grantland”. No more do up-and-coming writers dream of being able to write articles recapping games or events, but to create genuine pieces on interesting viewpoints and thought out analysis.

I feel confident when I say that without Grantland, many of my colleagues and I would never have developed a passion for sports journalism. This site showed us what joy pure, unapologetic writing could bring to the author and the reader. It’s legacy will be shown in how it influenced so many future sports writers. Writers who will abide by its values of creativity, knowledge, and passion.

Thank you for everything Grantland, my generation of writers will do our best to continue providing the world with sports journalism as it should be.