Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Weighing In On Sports Blogging In The Wake of "Bissinger vs Leitch"

I typed "Bissinger vs Leitch" because it was more Bissinger ranting about something he obviously didn't fully understand, and Will Leitch doing his best to defend it without cursing or fighting.

It's been addressed a few times today over at Deadspin, and Brian Powell at Awful Announcing threw in his $.02 in addition to getting footage of the segment on YouTube. Many thanks to him for that.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it live, and until the video was put up I really didn't know what to expect. However, after watching it these are my thoughts:

First, Buzz Bissinger's interaction with Will reminds me of just about everyone over 40 years old when I try to explain that I write a sports blog. Granted, most of them don't get so angry, but they do seem bewildered and somewhat lost.

A prime example of this is my father, God bless him. He really tries hard to wrap his head around the idea that you could write something online that millions of people(ok, ok maybe it's more like thousands around here) could read, and do a great job at it without collecting a paycheck for it. Actually, that's usually where any talk of blogging leads. To the question of "yeah, but how much money could you make from that?" He doesn't seem to understand that what ties all of us bloggers together is our love of sports for whatever reason, and our desire to share that with others. Whether it's through rattling off statistics, cracking lewd jokes or something more emotionally connected. Would I like to get paid for blogging about sports? Of course. Is that what's compelled me to keep this site going for almost two years? Hardly.

And seeing Buzzinger lose it on that stage made me realize just how disconnected some people are. You want to know the last time I picked up a hard copy of a newspaper for sports information? Honestly, I can't remember. Instead, I can read the local paper online, and then browse any number of blogs to see what's happening throughout the day. I like blogs because it's up to me to determine what's accurate and what's not. After reading one for a while you can get a good feeling as to whether or not what's being written is truthful and to what degree. I like that. I get to make my own decisions without worrying that some crusty editor somewhere took something out because he didn't deem it newsworthy enough. I hate to tell some of you, but the Internet is here to stay and it's only getting bigger. Sports blogs are also here to stay, and their coverage is expanding. Obviously, you'll get some wackjobs out there writing about sports, but if you take the time to read through some blogs I guarantee you'll find guys and girls that write just as good, if not much better, than what you get on a daily basis from your newspapers and TV coverage. And many of them aren't getting paid to do so either. They do it because of their love for sports, and their passion for conveying that to other people. In the hope that they'll "get it", and be able to take something positive or humorous away with them.

I feel the need to say "thanks" to Will Leitch because the way he handled himself on the Costas Show last night made me proud to be a blogger. Some people(I'm looking at you Bissinger) are never going to get it. Maybe they're ignorant, maybe they're afraid, maybe it's a combination of both. But that won't ever stop me from putting my take on sports out into the world via the blogosphere, and I'm glad that there are others out there like Will Leitch, and Orson Swindle, and Brian Powell(and a lot more) to stick up for the "craft" when others feel the need to attack it.

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