Part of writing about sports – whether it’s your living, a side gig, or a hobby – is talking about the actual games being played. I’ve been covering the Bills for a couple of different sites for a few years now and, up until this season, I’ve always done a lengthy recap of every game the team’s played. I’m a blogger who writes about one of the most irrelevant franchises in all of professional sports, so I’ve come to grips with the fact that in any given week there may only be a small handful of people who click the link and scan over my prose.
These past two weeks, though, what’s the purpose? Who really wants to read that?
Hell, who really wants to write that?
I’ve poked through a handful of recaps of the Niners game and of the Patriots game from both the blog sites and ‘real’ journalists (lord, do I use that term loosely) and it’s uninspired writing at best. That’s no knock to the men and women spending their time in front of a keyboard and the intimidation of a blank screen to put something out there that, again, may go virtually unread. No, I can’t put them down for this stuff because it’s what they do, it’s what they love, and in some cases it’s what they’re paid for.
When you’re writing for a particular fanbase, part of your duty in reporting these games to folks is making it enjoyable to them – finding something positive out of a miserable and disgusting showing to keep them reading. Not many fans are going to want to sift through paragraphs and pages of “they didn’t do this good” and “they were terrible at” without a silver lining. I’d like to think that even the most harebrained of Bills fans can see when a team is playing like garbage. They don’t need whimsical wordplay to tell them that their beloved franchise sucks. I hope they don’t.
I’ll never be the guy to blow smoke up your ass and tell you that everything’s all butterflies and rainbows when it’s not. That’s not what I do, and as a whole, that’s not what we should be doing – bloggers, freelancers, and journalists alike. Deliver the facts, keep it interesting. That should be the objective with a recap, whether you’re sprinkling positives, showering satire, or going your own route. I’ll also never be that typical Buffalo sports writer who gets off on writing these long diatribes about how terrible the team is and ridiculing their readers for following such a train wreck. I write about them in my free time for no return because I, like you, am a fan. Because of that, I don’t see a point in coming here every week to tell you that this team isn’t good, and especially don’t see any benefit in acting like they are.
We all have our own reasons for being here, for continually coming back, and nothing some schmuck with a website and a little free time can say is going to enhance or detract from that. Thankfully, not everyone’s like me. Some have more drive, some feel a stronger sense of urgency, and some have an obligation to the almighty dollar. Unfortunately though, short of handing me a paycheck, you’re going to have a hard time getting me to re-watch any portion of the debacles from the past two weeks. I am, after all, a fan like you – with a real, working heart; a low tolerance for bullshit, and a masochistic attraction to a perpetually damned sports city.
That said, this is a new week. I’ll be watching and you know what? So will you. We may not want to talk about it after for fear of bringing back the pain, but we’ll watch. We’ll watch just as we always have with hopes that things will get better because, even if it’s just for one week a year, they always do.