Mike Lowe – SSG Commissioner & Creator

The Basics

What is your name?
Mike Lowe (Pseudonym)

How old are you?

Where are you from?
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, then moved to the Chicago suburbs for my first job. About 8 years later, I moved to downtown Chicago for a new job. Eventually that job became fully remote, and about a year after being downtown Chicago, we moved to San Diego where I’ve been since January 2015.

What do you do for work/student, etc.?
I’m an instructional designer, which basically means I build online college courses, and then try to make them not suck. Before that, I was teaching high school video production, journalism, and an assortment of English courses. Teaching was a blast and I learned a lot, and the students were great, but too many politics going on at the state and national level, so I went back to grad school for a second round and got into instructional design. Getting out of public education was my Shawshank escape…nearly a mile crawling through shit and filth.

What can you tell us about your family life or significant other?
Although I live over 2,000 miles away from my immediate family, I’m still very close to them, and we visit each other frequently. I talk to my parents almost daily on the phone.

I live in SD with my girlfriend Mallory, and we’ve been together for nearly three years. We met while she was in grad school at Northwestern. She has family here in SD which was one of our big motivators to make the move–that and the fact that her only full winter in Chicago was the Polar Vortex ha!

She’s my perfect match, and I’m quite lucky. About ready to sign her to a long-term extension…

Gaming Experience

What is your background in sim gaming?
My background is quite extensive. I’ve always enjoyed sport games, but my first sim experience was when I randomly came across a little game called Sierra Front Page Sports Football ’97 (with Barry Sanders on the cover) at Circuit City one day as a teenager. I remember reading on the back of the box something about career play and seasons carrying over, and I had a vision for what that might have been, but thought “No way it’s possible.” To my surprise, upon hitting the ‘advance to next season’ button, I was blown away to see a real offseason with a draft, etc. I still remember my first ever draft pick for my Lions: DE #60 Brian Terwilliger. I was hooked at that point.

I joined some online leagues for FPS FBPRO ’98, one of which was run by then University of Michigan undergrad student Gary Gorski (owner of Wolverine Studios).

From there I’ve played in numerous leagues for numerous games, including OOTP Baseball, and a plethora of football games that have come and gone (.400 Studios), and some that are still around (FOF). I’ve also played in some PS4 leagues for MLB The Show and Madden over the years.

What brought you to SSG?
I built it! To elaborate, there are so many online leagues out there, but what sets the real life sports apart is that they have a following–there’s only ONE real league to watch. I wanted to try and create that exclusivity where we’d have an entire universe to grow. If you’re in one league but not another, you might still tune in to check out the happenings in those other leagues, for instance.

Which leagues are you a part of?
I commish SSG Baseball, SSG Pro Football, and SSG College Football. The other leagues I’ve been fortunate enough to find some great guys to help out in handling those leagues. Big shout out to Paul Denyer, Jeff Copeland, and Don Lookingbill!

What are some of your favorite sports games, and why?
Goodness, there are so many. I loved EA Sports Head Coach 2, I loved the FPS Football Pro series, OOTP Baseball, Front Office Football, the Eastside Hockey Manager series, Bowl Bound College Football. I respect the Football Manager series a great deal, but have trouble getting into it.

I also enjoy MLB the Show, and Madden has finally gotten a lot better, although still has a long way to go. I remember really being impressed with All-Star Baseball for probably PlayStation 2. There are just so many sport games I’ve enjoyed as I’ve always found the business/managing side of sports very intriguing.

Sports Background

Which teams do you root for in real life?
I’m a Detroit fan, and that will never change. I also root for the University of Michigan because all of my friends do (keeps things peaceful), and well, I couldn’t imagine rooting for MSU because they are incredibly obnoxious and jealous as a whole. I also casually follow the Padres here in SD.

What is your background in sports? What do/did you play, and at what level?
I played a lot of sports growing up including baseball, football, basketball, and roller hockey (big in Michigan). I was also a very good water skier when I was a kid–sort of a protegee as I started at age 4; I was actually recruited to join a ski team down in Florida, but I was way too scared (around age 8-10 or so) to move away from my parents like that and go to a new school, etc. My parents have a lakehouse in Northern Michigan, and I spent just about every weekend up there with lots of time to practice, even though I’m sure my dad must have been sick of towing me around all weekend.

In college I actually played Ultimate Frisbee at the club level for Eastern Michigan University (undergrad). Coolest moments of that was playing at Ohio State (and getting creamed), and actually winning a tournament at Bowling Green in a RIDICULOUS wind storm.

Now I play slow-pitch softball, and am really up for just about anything that involves running around and being outside (the opposite of sim sport leagues). I LOVE playing and being active, and while I play hard, I’m not competitive. I’m always the person shrugging their shoulders when someone asks me what the score is, etc? “Beats me! Who cares?!”

What is your favorite sports movies, and why?
I actually find most sport movies to be pretty bad. Moneyball actually did a decent job portraying the book. Blindside, not as much. I guess if I had to pick just one, I’d go with Field of Dreams. I’m more of a documentary guy than a movie guy–Here’s my proof: I’ve seen ZERO superhero movies. Zero of the Batmans, zero of the Supermans, zero of these other ones like Iron Man, Ant Man, Deadpool, whatever. I have no interest in it. I’ve also seen zero of the LOTR movies.

What’s your favorite sports related quote?
It’s not the heat; it’s the humility. –Yogi Berra


What’s one thing we’d be surprised to find out about you that you may have not already told us?

I write music as a side hobby, and have had some of material used in other people’s vignettes, and even a video game. It’s been a while since I’ve been consistent with it, but here is some of my work.

You’d also be surprised to know that a few friends and I made up a fake rap group and performed in Detroit for a while. We actually developed a pretty strong following from folks anywhere from Cincinnati all the way to Sweden (the power of the Internet). It all started as a joke with just one track that’d we sabotage parties with by dropping it into a CD player and then walk around the party and saying things like, “Damn man, who is this? It’s dope!” The experience was ridiculous–we’d enter some small gig with an ELABORATE introduction you’d see at stadium concerts, we’d be on-stage with our keyboard player playing with his keyboard intentionally left unplugged and the cord just dangling, and our lyrics were ridiculous (like how sexy we are, etc.), and we’d still have people coming up to us after shows asking, “So wait, are you guys serious or?”

That group is somewhere up on YouTube, but the recording quality is from a video camera and they are pretty “meh.”

What are your hobbies outside of gaming and sports?
I enjoy walking/hiking a great deal, and living in San Diego really has provided us with the opportunity to do that. Really anything to do with nature, I’m all about. My girlfriend and I travel a lot–we’re going back to Hawaii in about a month for the second time this year, and during the holidays 2016 we’re going to Spain and Portugal. We have a long bucket list of trips.

What is your super power?
I don’t use credit for anything, and have zero debt. I pay cash for everything, even cars. My grandpa is a big fiance guy (too much so) and he’s always said, “If you don’t have the cash for it, YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT!” There’s a great truth to that, and it will set you free! 🙂

Oh, and speaking of superpowers and cars–I haven’t owned a car since May 2014.

Please share anything else you’d like us to know!
I started writing for Operation Sports in 2016, and it’s been an awesome experience to be working with folks in that industry.

Also, I’m thrilled with the way this community has grown and connected. We have a great core of guys here, and the personality of this universe has already surpassed my expectations. I look forward to it being even better in 2016!

Mike Lowe


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