Over the past couple of months I’ve received a fair number of e-mails from readers, asking “Where’d you go?” They’re referring to SI.com, the site that has steadily paid me to write two columns a week for the past two years.
An answer: I’m still there, but in a different capacity. Here’s what happened …
So I was writing columns for the site, but—admittedly—losing steam. I’ve been facing this problem for a long time … sometimes able to cover it up, sometime not. Namely, I’m not especially passionate about sports anymore. Oh, I looooove nostalgia. Looking back at Pete Rose or Walter Payton or the USFL or Mike Smrek. But it got to the point where I was trying to argue points that, frankly, I didn’t really give a shit about. In other words, I was turning into the thing I dread (and abhor) most: The Mike Lupica/Skip Bayless genre of scribe.
SI.com turned away a few of my columns, and after getting mad and pissed off and angry I thought to myself—Hmm, they’re sorta right. The columns lacked zip. Lacked heart. I take pride in never, ever simply writing for a paycheck; in writing with heart and gusto and passion and truth. If you’re not doing that, you’re sort of a fraud. So, in a way, I was.
Hence, we reached an agreement: One lengthy piece every two weeks or so. I started with this one, on the nightmarish foot injury from hell. Then I followed with Macho Man Savage. I have another one, about a retired football player, about to run. And a fourth in the works. I’m happy again, because I continue to cherish the lengthy narrative. And my fantastic editor/friend, B.J. Schecter, basically said, “Tell great stories.”
Anyhow, there’s your answer.
PS: The photo above: Received my first bound manuscript of the upcoming book. It’s a truly magical moment, opening an envelope and seeing such a thing. Emotional.