When I told my wife that I was asked to join the board of The Inquirer, she laughed. “All your dreams have come true,” she joked.

She is well aware that seemingly every T-shirt I own has a picture of a soaring Julius Erving or Mike Schmidt’s mustache, and despite now living in New York, my 6-year-old knows every word to “Fly, Eagles, Fly” (and “No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care”). Also, my wife now can get to Villa di Roma without directions.

I grew up in Philly in a golden age of sports and sports writing --- Bill Lyon, Jayson Stark, Phil Jasner, to name just a few --- and have claimed more than once to have learned to read from The Inquirer sports section. I understand how important a newspaper can be to a kid, a fan, and a city.

I remember my father reading Phillies box scores to me. As I got older, in a house much like The Goldbergs TV show, getting the sports section before someone messed up the folding was a huge victory. By high school, my true love was basketball: playing, watching, and talking basketball. I was a mediocre (at best) forward on a terrible Lower Moreland High School basketball team (go Lions!), but my name and every once-in-a-while my picture showed up on the sports pages of The Inquirer. There was nothing better ... as long as you didn’t look at the score.

Has the work of sports writers or reading the sports section shaped your life or love for reading, as it has this author? Tell us about your experiences and memories by emailing sportsfans@inquirer.com.

Today, The Inquirer is just as important to me, except now I read it every morning on my iPad or my phone and I have been chatting with some of The Inquirer sports writers on Twitter since long before I joined the board. My habit is still daily. I miss sports terribly (as everyone does), and I would do anything for a Phillies game and a long-form David Murphy piece on lineup construction. The only time I can remember not reading The Inquirer was the week after the Tampa Bay NFC Championship disaster of January 2003, I simply could not bear it.

Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel
IAC
Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel

Here in New York, I have a great crew of expat Philadelphians. We have Philly bars (Wogies!), our annual Sixers trip (the New York Process Trusters), and my basement is one of our headquarters. It is where we watched the double-doink, and where we were crushed by Kawhi’s whatever that was. On one wall, there are four framed Inquirer covers -- the day after the Phils won in 1980, same for the Sixers in ‘83, Phils again in ‘08, and, of course, the Birds ---- the champions of my lifetime. The Inquirer was the catalog of some of the best moments of my life, and still is. Also, it’s worth noting the covers are arranged to hang three across, so there is room in the bottom row for two more. I am nothing if not hopeful.

I am thrilled to be part of The Inquirer family now, and just as hopeful for our future. The Inquirer’s immensely talented new leadership is charting a more digital path forward, and I hope to help where I can. Philly is an incredibly special place, and The Inquirer is an incredibly special part of the community. A community, of course, filled with incredibly hard-core and passionate sports fans; I’m honored to be part of securing the legacy for a long time to come.

Neil Vogel is the CEO of Dotdash, one of the largest and fastest-growing online publishers.