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That’s me in all my weird-facial-expression glory

Michael Florek is a sports journalist, soon to be graduate graduate of the University of Michigan, and the creator of The Detroit Hustle.

Wow, writing in third person makes it seem super formal. Let’s start over.

My name is Michael Florek. I’m also known as Mike. … and a host of other nicknames. Most of the time it’s a variation off the beginning of the last name: Flo, Flo-bot, Flo-nasty (a favorite of the roommate), MC FLO, Get Flo-rizontal. I’ve had others. When I was little I was known to the dentist Lefty, as a teenager I had a hockey coach think I looked like Eminem, so he started calling me B. Rabbit. That faded into simply Rabbit after the boys thought I looked like Rabbit from Super Troopers.

Anywho, I’m getting on a tangent. Enough about my nicknames.

My Story

I’m from an undisclosed location in the Detroit suburbs. I come from a hockey family. Watching the Red Wings just came with the territory. The love for the rest of Detroit’s sports teams came from laying on the floor, watching the tv, while my dad screamed at Scott Mitchell for throwing interceptions or going to Tigers games as my dad heckled Bobby Higginson. The Pistons came a little later, but honestly, I’m a mildly interested bandwagon fan. Wake me up when they’re in the Eastern Conference finals.

As a youngster I played pretty much everything: baseball (you’re reading a two-time Little League All-Star), lacrosse, a half-season of middle school football before I broke my arm, and the main sport: hockey. I eventually ended up quitting everything to focus Canada’s favorite game. All the sacrifice and the hard work left me about two steps short of my dream of playing Division III hockey. I was just good enough to play and/or workout with a few guys who were drafted into the NHL, which somewhere deep inside, makes me feel special. (Sometimes you have to hang on to the little things.)

In short: I was a role player, for the most part. I worked hard, did the dirty work, and got the puck to my more talented teammates. They would score and get the glory. My teammates would appreciate what I did, even if the stat sheet didn’t. I was a grinder. Taking the mindset from an early age, I identified with my less heralded brethren at the higher levels. My favorite player of all time remains Dino Ciccarelli. Part of that may come from me being five and him having the name Dino, but the point remains: I have an unhealthy love for any unrecognized, no-talent-but-overachieves-through-hard-work type of player.

As my competitive hockey career came to an end, I stumbled into a sports meeting for my college’s paper. In the course of writing over 200 articles and traveling across the country covering the Michigan hockey and football team, I fell in love with journalism.

Most of journalism is finding the big story that is going on, talking to people around the situation and putting it in terms people can understand. That part is a lot of fun, especially when you have five other people going after the same story. There’s nothing like a little competition, but this fight for the same story leaves room for others to fall through the cracks.

Most of those are the tales of the guys I love: the guys fighting for a roster spot, the role players trying to hang onto a dream. There are additional types: the in-depth type explanations of the games that papers either don’t have the time or knowledge to cover, the stuff that’s hilarious but doesn’t fit in the line of the traditional media.

As a writer, it’s funny, the more you write the more you need to write. I missed following the nobodies and felt like I had a lot more to say about pretty much every thing. I needed to branch out into these other forms. I had to give the world what I saw. But I didn’t have an outlet to do so. So I started the Detroit Hustle.

Which reminds me, I should probably tell you what this whole thing is about.

The Hustle’s Philosophy

You only run a sports site if you’re an extremely dedicated follower/fan/journalist of the sport or team. The vast reaches of the internet allow for extreme specificity. There is no length requirement. Each game, play or thought can be broken down to its tiniest minutia.

As the collection of sports websites has grown, this detail oriented approach isn’t necessarily a good thing. Minor things become huge news. Every Red Wings loss in early October means they can’t win a playoff series.

We’ve gotten too serious. Everything is an overreaction. Let’s not forget why we all started loving sports in the in the first place: it’s fun.

Sometimes that gets lost in the various internet rants and raves. Not here. The Hustle operates based on three simple principles:

1. Tell the people something they don’t know. I’ll expose you to stories and people you’ve never heard of before. The best example of this is my award to honor the little guys I love so much, The James Mungro Memorial Award.

When I do handle the bigger topics, it will be from a different angle. I’ll spread some of my knowledge from playing hockey, studying some of the other sports and having experience in big-time sports locker rooms and witnessing interactions taking place.

I guarantee you’ll know something or think differently about a topic after coming here.

Get excited. I’m enriching your life here.

2. Remember, it’s sports. We’re all here to have a good time. There won’t be any unjust attacking or petty arguments. I won’t overreact to Tigers losses in April or take myself too seriously. It’s just not my style.

I should warn you, the jokes will be fired off early and often. If you don’t think they’re funny, well, you can go f——– I mean, have a nice day.

3. Be better than everybody. As a journalist, I have a bit of practice in formulating a story and presenting it in an appealing manner. This whole thing was started in getting me more reps in doing so. I realized, though, that you can’t just write for the sake of getting content up and get better. You have to work at it. You have to actively try to get better every day. That’s what I do here. I’m taking the time to try to beat everybody on the internet.

That’s good news for you. Every post that comes out will be something intended to be the better than everything that came before it. It’s a place to flex my writing muscles and give you the best content imaginable.

This isn’t a site with 200-word posts. This is real writing. My goal is to make you feel real emotion, whether it’s eternal enlightenment or deep sorrow (hopefully its somewhere in-between), and to try to make you laugh a bit along the way (I apologize for all corny jokes in advance).

If you have any questions or just want to say ‘Hey’ (and preferably something else, just getting an e-mail that said ‘Hey’ would be kind of weird) head over to my Contact page. You can also follow me on Twitter, and make sure to Like The Detroit Hustle on Facebook.

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