-I have my life back; my pledge semester is over and I MADE IT. We started with 24; 13 of us finished. It's a good feeling. Between having actual free time and the television writer's strike, expect a lot more posts; I'm shooting for 3-5 per week between here, MVN, SportsHub, and Free Darko.
-Here's My 1st Post on Free Darko, about how the NBA perceives class. I thought it turned out pretty decent; not quite as strong as I wanted to make my 1st post, but FD posts are really, really hard to write. Also, those commenters are really, really smart. You gotta bring your A game to FD.
-My 1st real post on SportsHub. In a word: yikes. I thought this was one of the best ideas I'd ever had, and emailing it along to Shoals ultimately ended up with me getting my dream job at FD. It ended up getting a reception somewhere in between Jenni Carlson's column and Howard Dean's "yeaaaaaargh!" I got absolutely freaking murdered over there, which really hasn't happened to any extent since my Durant piece, and even then there were a lot of positive comments. Also, Durant did make an amazing game-winner, but he's shooting under 40% with low assist and rebound totals and a 2-7 team, so I'm still not ready to call that a bad column. This was a bad column, for a number of reasons:
-The comparison that made perfect sense in my head was a bit of a stretch; it's always going to be hard for the lines of a fictional aristocrat and a shooting guard to match up, and if you don't want to see it, it's easy to poke holes in.
-I tried waaaaaaaaaaaay too hard to sound sophisticated and literary when I should have just stuck to sports stuff; sometimes I forget that I've only been studying English for a few months, and I'm really not even doing that well in my English classes, when a lot of my colleagues have Masters degrees and have been writing professionally for some time, so when I try to show off as a writer next to those guys, I just look stupid. Good lesson to learn, but I would have preferred to learn it when I wasn't posting my 1st essay on a site I'm really excited to be a part of.
-I'm trying to follow LBJ's example and be a "no-excuses" writer, but Jesus H. Christ, LA fans are tough. I think I got a little used to Cleveland fans, who are generally Midwestern, filled with a sense of doom about their team, and will hence never get all that defensive about their players; my colleague/boss at MVN has named Larry Hughes "Laura", Mike Brown should be happy he's not in effigy somewhere, and even LeBron is far from immune to criticism-the leading poster on the best Cavs message board on the internet's avatar was Dwayne Wade with the Jim O'Brien trophy for several months last year. On the other hand, Lakers fans are coastal and harsh, filled with pride over their storied Lakers, and ridiculously defensive about their own players, especially Kobe. When I get my degree, I'm moving to Wisconsin. End of story.
I still think the article was a bad idea, but I still don't think I got a fair shake; I thought I executed on that post better than I did on my "Price of the Game," which I walked away from thinking I'd really failed to do the idea justice because of my shortcomings as a writer, and I've felt the same way about lots of other posts that have gotten picked up and gotten positive receptions. Okay, I'm just bitching now, but getting absolutely crucified will shake you up, especially when you're suddenly writing along with guys from The LA Times and ESPN, not to mention your idol, and are wondering how the hell you're supposed to be able to do that when you can't even pull a B in Writing 140. All writers are insecure: Malcolm freaking Gladwell, the best non-fiction writer on the planet, came back with a "hey, screw you," post on his blog when one of his New Yorker pieces got slammed by commenters. Bill Simmons, one of the best and most influential sportswriters out there, will shoot back at his detractors in veiled and not-so-veiled ways.
I'm a writer too, and unlike those guys, I don't have a huge guaranteed readership or, for that matter, any salary at all right now; it was a big sign of confirmation for me to get the jobs at SportsHub and Free Darko, so to see my 1st posts there met with ambivalence/outright hatred sent me for a bit of a loop. Add the fact that I'm 18 years old and have been pledging for the last 10 weeks of my life, and just try and fathom how insecure I am right now. I'm officially on Marlboro Reds now. I appreciate all feedback on my writing, positive or negative, and when I started this blog and accepted those jobs, I signed up to accept any and all criticism; I've never deleted a comment, and never intend to. However, I do my best to avoid making personal attacks on the athletes/coaches/executives I write about; occasionally, I break that rule, because I'm still the kid who made one too many wise-ass remarks in English class deep down, but I try to be as ridiculous as possible when I do, and I never, ever, ever make character attacks on amateur athletes. I'm an amateur writer, and while I respect free speech and your right to say what you want, remember that I'm reading all these comments and taking them to heart, and that I am a real person sitting in Leavy Library trying to write stuff that's fun to read for free. Call me a pussy if you want to, but that's how I feel.
-Okay, got a little side-tracked there. Last new post is on MVN, about why LeBron has improved so much this year for reasons we didn't expect. Have a good night, everyone.