Blogging is “the pole dancing of sports journalism.” ~ Frank Deford
… ((thinking … thinking)) ….
… ((still thinking)) …
Oh, for crap’s sake.
I’m not even sure what to say.
Am I supposed to stand up for bloggers? Pole dancers? Both?
How am I supposed to respond to that?
Frank Deford was a sportswriting legend. He passed away on May 28 and Sports Illustrated offered up an appreciation and a reprint of one of his classic pieces in their June 5 issue.
It’s the same issue that contains this wonderful piece from Michael McKnight, an SI writer who spent a year training to hit a home run out of a major league stadium. Did he do it? Oh no, not from me, you don’t. You’re going to have to read it yourself to find out. Reading is good for you.
(In a funny aside, just a few pages away, Deford poo-poos the “hokiness” of writers who inject themselves into stories. Deford was a great writer, but not always right about things, so ignore that, listen to me, and read McKnight’s story.)
We were talking about pole dancers.
But, Deford was.
The line comes from his memoir and was mentioned in the Sports Illustrated appreciation.
Maybe Deford meant that bloggers are the pole dancers of sports journalism because we are athletically gifted, highly fit, work incredibly hard at our craft, are appreciated by people who are very drunk, and are independent contractors who make our salary one dollar at a time.
I’m just joking. Most bloggers have never made a dollar.
I’m not going to argue with Deford, because to beef with a sportswriting legend who just passed away is rude.
But, if blogging is the pole dancing of sports journalism, what does that make newspaper columnists, sports talk radio hosts, TV reporters, play-by-play men (and women), and photojournalists?
If we are the pole dancers, what are they?
Aren’t we all pole dancers? Working our hardest to get someone to pay attention to us?
So, I’m taking it as a compliment. I’m putting it on my “About” page. Right at the top of the page.
Because, Frank Deford recognized that sports bloggers existed. He wrote about us.
I don’t think he liked us, though.
Which is a shame, because a lot of bloggers are nice folks … talented, hardworking people who write beautifully, research the hell out of their posts, proofread their copy, and tell great stories. Many of them are retired – or laid off from – newspapers and radio and television jobs.
And, most of them do it for love, not money.
Their posts and stories inspire me every single day.
Here’s to you, bloggers. And, pole dancers, too. To anyone who loves what they do and works hard to do it beautifully. Here’s to all of you with passion.
And, here’s to Frank Deford, too, a sportswriting legend, and, I mean this with great admiration, a pole dancer, too. Just like the rest of us.