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The Defector staff asked their family members what they thought of the site this year. Here are their responses.

Luis’s Dad:

Let me start by saying that, of course, the main reason I subscribed right from the start was to support my son in this adventure. It is probably true for most of us, Defector’s parents. But Defector gave me a lot more. It gave me a connection to my son that I craved. I have lived in Medellín, Colombia since 2012, so I don’t get to see him that much. In June 2021 I got to visit him for the first time in two years. But reading his blogs helped me being close to him. We both love sports, and that is something we have shared since he was a little boy. Of course, we don’t agree on many things, even in sports. I love my New York teams (Yankees, Knicks, Giants) against his Marlins, Heat and Patriots. I guess nobody is perfect. Even in our love for soccer, we don’t agree much. We only agree in rooting for our home country’s lost cause (Venezuela) or our second home’s never realized promise (USA). But I still got the upper hand this year with my Atletico vs. his Barcelona and my Manchester City vs. his “Pool Boys.”

As you surely figured it out by now, I mostly read Luis’s blogs at Defector. And my major concern was seeing that Defector remained in 2021 and my son had a job that he loved with friends he cared about.

However, I have realized that Defector gives me many other things that I enjoyed. A clever view about sports I don’t get anywhere else, whether it is baseball (my first love) or the NBA or NFL. Also, insightful, and even funny stories outside sports, with opinions that many times I don’t agree with, but written in a way that challenge my thinking or make me smile from time to time.

So, I thank Defector for being there, for my son, but also for me. It has been a great place to go this year and I will be going back to it next year. Happy 2022 to you all!

Lauren’s Mom:

Hi, Lauren.

Cheers to another excellent year of Defector! You and your colleagues have truly built something special and I look forward to checking out the site each day.

With such a talented group of writers, there are always funny, interesting and, sometimes, heartbreaking posts to read. I also really like your creativity with The Cipher newsletter. It’s fun getting an email from my daughter every day.

Love,

Mom

Maitreyi’s Dad:

Defector is my $119 alternative to Find my iPhone. It’s how I discover what’s new in Maitreyi’s life from week to week, without feeling like I’m stalking her, or asking her questions that — God forbid — she would be obligated to answer aloud in some type of two-way conversation. Look at that! She’s a Canucks fan now. Who knew? … Or … Hey, she’s doing the newsletter from a train. She must be going somewhere.

Maitreyi doesn’t call or text much, unless her dryer is on the fritz or Michigan wins something. But at least she writes, once or twice a week, on the website. And we’re thankful for every word. That Defector lets her write exactly the way she thinks and feels means we get to read not only her prose, but also her mind a little bit, for $119 a year. A decent deal.

The Maitreyi story that moved me most was “‘The Hockey Sweater’ Is All You Need To Know About Leafs-Habs.” I read it like 47 times. There’s an allusion in there to a very bad haircut I gave her when she was 3 or 4 years old and terrified of salon scissors. I’m not proud of that haircut, and she was kind enough not to ID me in the piece. But reading that line — “Everything verges on catastrophe … all powerful enough to ruin your life” — brought a surge of feelings about our young, keen, quiet Maitreyi and what was going on beneath that impossible-to-style hair of hers.

But enough about Maitreyi already. My favorite piece of the year, the one that made me imagine Defector as the living conscience of the sports and media industries, was “Courtney’s Story.” There are prizes for the kind of work Diana Moskovitz does, and she deserves all of them.

Most of all, I am thankful that there exists such a thing as Defector, where writers can communicate directly with their audience and benefit directly from our applause in the form of paychecks, benefits, paid leave and equity. The business plan is as compelling as the blogs. Please don’t quit your jobs.

Kelsey’s Dad:

I have to say that I enjoy the reality that Kelsey has been called the “People’s Champion” on Defector Trivia. She embodies the traits required to earn that moniker: she’s scrappy & talented (she’s the beloved Auburn Tiger to Luis’s Evil Empire Crimson Tide—and look at me being all sports-adjacent!), she’s wicked smart, and has just the right amount of anti-establishment irreverence to be endearing.

Then it hit me: that’s what made Defector endearing in 2021. It’s the Little Website That Could. They threw their innovative business model into the ring against the big boys and more than held their own—they thrived. It’s a blisteringly smart read no matter the topic, from Funbags to movie takes to wrestling to actually talking about the sports. And, like the Ramones (at least when they first arrived on the scene in 1976 and not what you can buy at the mall in Hot Topic today), part of their charm is standing against the status quo and creating their very own virtuosity.

And I don’t know if it’s because I met Dave at a book signing for God Spare the Girls (available from any local booksellers) or because I read their articles or watched them on trivia, but I’m invested in the actual lives of Kelsey’s friends. I worry about Drew’s Vikings, or how Lauren would report on the WCW legends I saw at the Omni in Atlanta, or Luis’s insights on my Magpies avoiding relegation, or how to have a conversation with Roth and Ray over drinks to just see where the curmudgeon conversation goes, to concern about Diana wearing a mask at the concerts, or if Maitreyi picked the right book, and on it goes. So, Defector 2021 got me invested and further impressed by this little enterprise and the people that make it happen.

Here’s the deal: I couldn’t be more proud of Kelsey or love her more and I’ve always been her biggest fan. This site, and seeing the friends she makes and the excellent work they do, reminds me that she’s the People’s Champion for a reason. So is the site. Please, for the love of all things holy, just don’t let it ever wind up selling Quit Like A Champion merch at Hot Topic. Godspeed for 2022, Defector.

Kelsey’s Sister:

I do not read (unless of course it’s yours and then it is filled with the utmost beauty and grace). Let me know when Defector gets a TikTok.

Ray’s Wife:

Are you writing another one of those things? They’re still paying you for this, right?

Ray’s Daughter:

Did they fix that crooked logo yet? It’s been a year. Someone seriously needs to get on that shit.

Ray’s Son:

Get me a Quit Your Job shirt. I wear a large.

Patrick’s Dad:

I like having the Cipher in there, with the goofy internet things. It’s always fun to see what gets picked.

Drew’s Mom:

First of all, happy first Anniversary! And congratulations to all on your continued success. Looks like you’ve got a winner here! My thoughts below:

As always, I read my son’s entries first. I enjoy the Fun Bag and, of course, the year-end Hater’s Guide to Williams Sonoma. Drew has such a fresh voice; he always has an interesting and shall we say colorful view of events!

I usually skip the sports articles (including Drew’s).

What I enjoy most on a daily basis is the feature “What We Liked on the Internet Today.” You find some really fun postings, and I’m sure everyone loves the animal ones.

The only down side of the blog for me is the too-long feature of many of the articles. They are probably very interesting, and I should take time to read them, but I don’t. Sorry!

Happy 2022. Keep up the good work.

Tom’s Mom:

Not wanting to sound too syrupy, but you all at Defector are an inspiration—especially to us olds who  rarely ever mustered the courage to challenge the overlords! Not in a million years would I have found the voice to challenge the corporate system.

We watched as you all developed a collective vision of what you wanted your company to look like, and then you built it. This took great courage! It must not have been all rosy moving this thing forward (nothing is) but the reward has been great—for each of you and even more so for your subscribers!  Defector offers more than well-researched and written pieces for its snarky masses—it also allows us all the opportunity to interact and spread the snark…..delightful!!  This year, especially!  A heavy dose of sass goes a long way in coaxing us all out from under the bed as we try to behave as if these were normal times! 

Thanks for another year of humor and great writing that helped to make 2021 just a little more tolerable! It’s not just one of you—it’s all of you! 

Also looking forward to the Thursday Trivia Nights continuing in 2022. Jasper, your piano playing clues are genius!   

Barry’s Mom:

I am so proud of my son Barry, and his colleagues, too. These journalists didn’t “Stick to Sports,” and after its one-year anniversary, the Defector writers and editors have proved that they have so much to offer.

The fact that these individuals are involved in a new business model that values its own people, its subscribers, and its community demonstrates that we, the parents, raised them well.

Well done, everyone.

Mr. Diana:

I could be earnest and expansive in my praise of this entertaining, dare-I-say important, and certifiably Good Website. But surely enough people are doing that already. Instead I will be self-serving:

Likes: Anything Diana does; trivia questions that involve movies, the Phoenix Suns or heavy metal; Defector staff and viewers’ tolerance of Diana shouting “Baaaabe!” whenever there’s a trivia question that involves movies, the Phoenix Suns or heavy metal; the Lilly emote; and again: anything Diana does.

Dislikes: The lack of DUAN song picks. Bring this back. There’s a new Fit For An Autopsy single readers need to hear.

Laura’s Sister:

Defector – good name, great foray into collective ownership. I read Laura’s articles the most and obviously love them best, but I like everyone’s jokes. Keep up the good jokes. Congrats on being small business owners – who saw that coming?? I humbly submit a request for gardening content – perhaps a blog from the cave on British gardening competitions. Monty Don is a legend. Beef out.

Samer’s Dad:

Once they asked the late Johnny Carson about the secret of success and failure. Without thinking or flinching he said, “Timing, for sure!” Now, some “timing” we have control of, but other “timing” we have no control over. Of course, he meant both. In our cases, for the elections and Pandemic, we were inflicted with the worst timing!

During the last five years, we Americans found ourselves at the receiving end of unprecedented political, health, and cultural hell! We elected a President in 2016 that intentionally introduced us to the darkest side of our politics and culture—a card that he played to enable him and his cronies to have a firmer grip on power. Because his scheme did not work and he lost the election, he denied the fairness of the elections and created a whole fictional universe around him to fit him. He is still living in his fantasy. What was surprising, a portion of the population chose to live with him in this fantasy. What fueled the idea and validated it was our American media – which more than ever has proven to be “not press” but “attacking dogs advocators”! This was of our choosing and timing.

Then the Pandemic ripped through us, causing havoc at a timing—not of our choosing. Americans demonstrated very clearly that we were not up to the task of dealing with this monstrous intruder. The testimonials of our failure are shown in numbers. Using rounded numbers: 801,000 Americans dead vs. Worldwide 5.41 Million so far. Our US population is 0.04 of the globe, but our COVID-19 deaths is 0.14 compared to the global deaths. Painting these numbers with a broad brush to compare us with other countries illustrates a humiliating abject failure, yet, around many Americans are okay with it and willing to contribute further to this failure, even to a worse degree! Outrageous!

We are in a phase of regression in politics and culture. Our political leaders are old and out of touch with modern realities and new ideas. Yet, they are keen not to make room for the young or young ideas. This brings me to Defector.com, it is a subscription-based, fledgling publication, thought of and launched by idealistic journalists who are “too young” to be corrupted. Not a money maker or a source of enrichment, but an excellent concept that is needed for us now more than ever. I salute the journalists and administrators behind it and their dedication to the idea. The BBC, NPR, and PBS are in some form subscription-based journalism. A concept just like introducing the electric car to save us from fossil fuel and choking from the smog, Subscription-based journalism will provide us with the news and facts without fear of losing sponsors. I cannot help but to repeat Benjamin Franklin’s answer to the woman: “Republic, if you can keep it.” There are no ifs or buts for Defector. Keep it.

Chris’s Mom:

I’ve had trouble with my Defector login at times, but what I’ve been able to read has been great!

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