Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We're Not Going Anywhere, Buzz

Meet Buzz Bissinger. Buzz is a journalist that used to work for the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Buzz wrote Friday Night Lights, a novel later turned into a movie and then television show. Buzz is the winner of the Pulitzer prize, one of the highest honors bestowed to a writer.

Buzz doesn't like me. Buzz thinks that as a blogger, I'm not educated or qualified enough to give you my opinion on anything, especially sports. While appearing on the Bob Costas Town Hall Meeting about Sports Media on HBO, Buzz criticized blogs for being too vulgar and inappropriate to be considered as legit sports journalism. As a newspaper writer, Buzz is threatened by the internet, and how a normal guy like me can have his opinion transmitted for anyone in the world to see. According to Buzz, I have little if no right to be transcribing my thoughts for you in a forum like this.

Buzz has a lot to learn.

It used to be that you couldn't read anything about sports until a newspaper arrived on your porch the next morning. Then, television came along and we started getting our sports news that same evening, along with highlights. Now, we can find out what happens as it happens, through the wonderful media that is the internet. In addition to being able to read the opinions of sportswriters that have gone to school for a journalism degree and have worked hard to get to the position they are at today, we can also read the opinion of a guy who is just a fan and has some insight of his own to share. What Buzz doesn't understand is that the sports world is big enough for both the newspaper writer and any other member of mainstream media, as well as the blogger.

When I first started writing this blog, I was hesitant to use the word "blogger" because of the negative connotation that came with it. Bloggers have always been thought of as opinionated yet unqualified writers, and were looked down upon by anyone who had a journalism degree on adorned to their wall. But I realized that's what I do, I blog. I, along with my friend Bear, run our own website in which we give analysis, opinion, and insight, and try to do it in a humorous way. Most postings are quick reads, intended to be just one of your many destinations while surfing the internet on any given day. It's a forum for us to have our say, along with you the reader to interject with your own opinion. Writing a blog has become one of the more satisfying things I have ever done. I am proud to call myself a blogger.

Apparently, I am not qualified enough to give you my opinion. At least according to some mainstreamers like Buzz Bissinger, I'm not. I don't have the right creditials. If you want my credentials, here is what they are: I have a degree in communications, I have a job in which I've been able to spend time in the elusive press box and in team locker rooms, and frankly, I think I've become a pretty good writer. I write this blog as a hobby, as a way for me to do something I love, writing, about something I love, sports.

But those aren't the credentials I want to you to look for. My creditials for writing this blog are I'm a passionate sports fan, I live and die with my teams, and I'd rather sit on the bleachers at Lambeau Field in 20 below weather than sit inside a cozy press box. I write about sports because I love sports, and hopefully that is something that shows in each and every one of my posts. People read me because they can relate to me, I'm a simple fan who treats every ballgame they attend like it's a priviledge, not just another day at the office. You may have more experience and be more qualified than I am, but at the end of the day, both your column and my blog are nothing but our opinions.

I'm still a new blog on the scene, still not very well-known, but I do have a decent base of consistent readers. I couldn't be more thrilled there are people that actually take the time to look at the work I've done, and then leave their feedback. I find it very rewarding. There are reasons why those of you that come here do, just like there are reasons I visit sites like Deadspin and Awful Announcing everyday. Buzz is right, any old hack can start a website. But you'll only get a consistent reader base if what you write is well-done, informative, and entertaining. That's the way I strive to write. I have the same right to give my opinion as Buzz does, and as the guys from Deadspin do, and as the blogger who does nothing but swear about his favorite team. Don't tell us just because we don't have 30 years experience and a degree in journalism we can't have an opinion about something as harmless as sports.

It's unfair to say we can't have an opinion, as it is unfair to say bloggers are nothing but fat guys who live in their mother's basements. Those of us that do blog take blogging very seriously. Some guys are lucky enough to blog for a living, which is envious. Others, like me, find time in their busy schedules to write a couple posts a day, because it's something they love to do.

There will always be the need for journalists like Buzz Bissinger, there will always be the need for game recaps and mainstream media. But there is room, plenty of room, for those of us that consider ourselves bloggers. We are not here to destroy you, or tear you down. Our reasons for writing about sports are the same as yours. Don't attack me because I have passion for writing and sports and aren't "lucky" enough to have a prestigious job like yours.

So make room for us Buzz, because we're here to stay.


Anonymous said...

Well said. You can count me as a loyal reader--a Wisconsin native who's a little outnumbered here in Nebraska. I'm a newspaper reporter (though not sports), and I can honestly say that what you're doing (along with Brew Crew Ball, Acme Packing Co., etc.) is virtually the only thing makes it possible for me to find some semblance of community with other Wisconsin sports fans.

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