So earlier today I attended Blogs with Balls, the first-ever NYC-based conference/convention for sports bloggers.
Never have I felt so cool.
It was a truly strangeâ€”and fascinatingâ€”gathering. At age 37, I was certainly one of the older participants (I appeared on a panel). I was also one of the few mainstream media representativesâ€”there was Amy Nelson from ESPN, Dan Steinberg from the Washington Post, a couple of others here and there. But mainly, the room was filled with young, mostly male, mostly white sports fanatics who have devoted much (if not all) of their lives to blogging. (my friend accurately compared it to a D&D convention, except with athletics instead of fantasy dragons and such)
On the one hand, I was a tad jealous. These folks possess the passion for sports that I, sadly, no longer have. They live and die with their teams and players; participate in one fantasy league after another; believe much of existence begins and ends with professional and collegiate athletics. The Mets and Braves and Packers and Spurs and whoever … well, they’re not merely franchises. They’re loves.
I don’t have that. Not even a sliver of that. With rare exception, I never root for teams to win or lose. I have favorite players, but they’re just the guys who are nice and intelligent and, often, my age. If I miss a game on TV, I couldn’t care less. Even big games. It’s just sportsâ€”I’ve covered ’em long enough to know that, come next year, everything happens again.
Yet I take great comfort in my lack of passion. My loveâ€”my true loveâ€”is for writing and reporting. That’s what does it for meâ€”especially with books. I want to take a subject, strip it/him/her down and go step by step through a life, or season. I see the passing dramas and scandals that pop up on blogs, and my general reaction is, “Ho-hum.” I’m after the narrative, not the episode.
That said, I dig the bloggers, and I admire what most of them do. Theirs is a labor of true love.
It’s something the mainstreamers could probably use right now.
** A side note: While at the conference I met Paul Catalano, who expressed to me his frustration over trying to write long, detailed entires when many crave short and stupid. I feel Paul’s pain, and also dig his writing. This is his blogâ€”please give the man a shot. Thanks.