A tribute to a lazy, shiftless bastard

Drew Edwards Headshot

Today is a tough day for the nation.

3DownNation is saying goodbye to a CFL media titan as the co-founder of this site, and my friend for life, Drew Edwards is stepping away.

I believe this site will continue to grow under the stewardship of the new Editor in Chief Justin Dunk, providing the same unparalleled coverage that 3DN has become known for.

For me though, this is a tough pill to swallow.

Not long ago I was a loudmouth podcaster that had been travelling to Grey Cups on my own dime, and then interjecting myself into the conversations of my betters in the Football Reporters of Canada suite; thrilled to be tipping elbows with those whose coverage of the league I loved I had consumed voraciously for the last 30 years.

“Who is this guy?” they likely thought.

“What do you mean you get paid in beef jerky?” referencing my sole reward for a decade of podcasts about the Stampeders.

Then, shortly after the 2017 game, I got a call from Drew Edwards of 3DownNation. He told me that after hearing my opinions over the last few years in the suite, they would be interested in knowing whether or not I could write.

I was flabbergasted. I told him that I wasn’t really a writer and wasn’t likely the right person to cover the Stamps for the site.

“Give it a shot, see what you can do,” he told me. “Write a few test pieces and we will see what you have to offer.”

That day I was in a Toronto hotel, waiting for my final casting interview for Big Brother. I had a laptop, and nothing but time as I wasn’t allowed to leave the room.

I got to work, sent the articles to friends, family and even PostMedia’s Danny Austin for editorial review before nervously attaching them to an email to Drew Edwards, Editor in Chief of the greatest CFL blog site in existence.

It wasn’t long after that when Drew welcomed me to the team.

I was officially being published. I was more than a hanger-on. I was legitimate.

In his role, Drew has helped me develop into a better writer, acknowledging that there is a place for a fan in the media. Members of the media care about the teams they cover and strive to treat them with fairness, whether that means levying praise or criticism.

Passion drives 3Down and it is a culture that Drew built, and one that new Editor in Chief Justin Dunk will continue to steer in a direction of incomparable coverage of the world’s greatest football league.

So thanks Drew, you self-proclaimed lazy, shiftless bastard.

Thanks for believing in me, legitimizing me, and for giving the world a new place to gather to love the game I love so very much.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.