The Pole Dancers of Sports Journalism

Blogging is “the pole dancing of sports journalism.” ~ Frank Deford

So …


… ((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.

We weren’t.

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.

14 thoughts on “The Pole Dancers of Sports Journalism

  1. Great post! I’ve never been compared to a pole dancer, but I’ll take it! haha Some of us just like writing about the game we love and regardless of how many views or comments we get, it’s a fun outlet. OK, sometimes I get bummed about number of views given how much time I spend editing photos, etc., but I’ll keep blogging!

    • Greg … Good for you! I think there are some people who truly don’t care if anyone visits their blog, but I wonder then why they even put it out there on the “world wide” web. They could just as easily make their blog private — an online diary — or just share their stories and photos with their Facebook friends. That we choose to make our thoughts, our stories, our art and photos, public means that somewhere deep inside we hope someone will see it. That’s why I try so hard to make it “just so.” That’s why I have an editor and people I turn to for their advice and opinions. I just want someone to get as excited as I did over a story, or a player, or the game.

      So, don’t feel guilty about being “bummed” about your page views, I think we all feel that. Just keep working hard to tell your readers the best story you can. The best advice a blogger ever gave me — one of the biggies in baseball blogging who took the time out of his day to write to me — was this: Keep doing it and in a few years go back and look at your first posts … and you’ll see how much better you’ve become!

  2. Geez, at my size to be compared to a pole dancer. The man musta been blind. And why do I hear the old song “The Stripper” in my mind now?
    Great work, Bloggess, one pole dancer to another.

  3. Pole dancer? Something to add to our CV’s I’d say. No, honestly: great article, it gets you thinking about the evolution of our current media system and of our position in it. As for today, I’d say stripclubs are undoubtedly more regulated than the blogosphere: People who want to see a poledancer know where to go. People, who want to read a decent blog however don’t always. So maybe the actual pole dancers have an advantage over us at this stage… ;-)

    • Excellent point! Blogging is sort of the wild west, isn’t it? Which bums me out because there are a lot of talented and dedicated writers out there blogging …

      Yes, I thought the pole dancing line was so awesomely dismissive of bloggers — and so mean — that I put it on my “About” page …

  4. Pingback: The Thoughtful Voice Of Frank Deford | The Baseball Bloggess

Say "Hey" ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.