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Happy Birthday, Defending Big D

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Four years seems like such a short time...

Ronald Martinez

It's amazing how far we have come.

Just over five years ago I was a somewhat constant reader and member of the Dallas Cowboys site Blogging The Boys when I threw my name in the hat to help Dave Halprin create content for the site. For some reason known only to him he took a chance on an inexperienced writer that lived in Connecticut to cover the Cowboys, and my blogging career began.

As the Cowboys season was coming to a close that year I learned that SB Nation was looking to quickly expand it's sports coverage and have a blog dedicated to each team in the NHL. The Dallas Stars had long been my No. 1 sports passion and I wanted to jump on the chance to have to build a Stars website that was completely unique.

James Mirtle, now the Toronto Maple Leafs beat writer for the Globe & Mail, took a chance and allowed me to launch Defending Big D on Jan. 14, 2009.

It's tough to look back at that first year or so, when it was clear I was just flying by the seat of my pants. Luckily, I was able to start building a strong team of writers that allowed us to further expand our coverage of the team and while that first year was rough, we found our stride relatively quickly.

What has amazed me was the community that quickly formed, with many of my current good friends among those that first signed up and jumped in on the conversation. Unfortunately, the Stars have yet to make the playoffs since this site was launched, a fact that I feel has helped create an even stronger sense of community amongst those that have been around the longest, while also providing a welcoming environment for those that continue to find our site for the first time each day.

Since launching the site four years ago, Defending Big D has registered over 3 million unique visitors and nearly 6 million page views -- most of which have come in the past 18 months or so. We now have nearly 3,000 active members. DBD is growing exponentially and as the Stars continue to build what seems to be a stronger and stronger organization, even further growth is expected.

The good news is that we feel we are far from where we want to be. There are still improvements to be made and things to tighten up. I'm a perfectionist and, in my eyes, DBD is far from perfect.

More than anything, however, I wanted to thank you -- the constant reader. While the lockout caused the site to slow considerably the past few months many stuck around to endure the work stoppage right along with us and even more amazingly, every old face and many new ones jumped right back into the deep end as soon as the lockout was over.

Happy Birthday to you, Defending Big D.