Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why I Write This

There are a couple of reasons I write this thing. One is, of course, that it's fun. It's a completely different type of writing than the stuff I do for work (video games where people get shot in the face) or the stuff I do for myself (horror novels where people have terrible things happen to their faces) or even my side business writing (book reviews wherein authors occasionally, figuratively get it in the face). It's an informal place where I can just sort of let loose with pure opinion. Very relaxing, that, and very cathartic.



And that's another reason I write this stuff, the catharsis. Sports is simultaneously one of the least important parts of our culture and a multi-multi-billion dollar monster that consumes time, energy, resources, attention and land. With that comes, to be blunt, all sorts of levels of public stupidity, from a highly paid public employee at a state school that's never sniffed a BCS game indignantly calling a proposal to share BCS revenues with other schools "socialism" to Fire-Joe-Morgan style willful ignorance of how crazy things like math actually work (and the perpetuation of that ignorance). And yeah, it's not as immediately vital as PRISM or state legislature attempts to ram through corporate-written legislation for the benefit of the very few, but I think there's something to be said for calling out the stupid in our public discourse wherever it rears its head.

But the biggest reason I write this stuff, and to be honest, the real reason, is that my dad enjoys it. I was a terrible little league ballplayer; Dad took me to games and practices and tryouts for years. Dad took me to ballgames - from the infamous afternoon when Mike Schmidt flipped him the bird at my first baseball game ever to calling up and saying, "Hey, you want to go see the Mudcats?" He showed me the Brooklyn Dodgers yearbooks he and my mother had saved from the 1950s and patiently explained what a George "Shotgun" Shuba was, and why Roy Campanella was his favorite player. He taught me the fine art of heckling (keep it clean, never make it personal, the ump is always fair game) and he used crystal-clear logic ("He's an idiot." "He's a bum." "He can't throw." "He's a real genius." "He's going to get killed out there first.") to explain why a long succession of Eagles quarterbacks were never going to win a Super Bowl. He sent a card into the Phillies' dugout during a late-season game in that magical year of 1980, and it came back with autographs from Bob Boone and Pete Rose and a bunch of others. When we took my nephew to a ballgame out at Five County Stadium, he reached up and snagged a foul pop like he'd known it was coming all along. He taught me how to enjoy sports without ever turning me into a fanatic - or a Phanatic, though he did introduce me to the big green guy once - and through the years, he's always made this stuff fun.

So really, Dad, this is for you. Here's hoping it always amuses.

Happy Father's Day.
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