Picking up the Pieces


I can’t say I exactly know what to call this post. It’s too general and unimportant to be an open letter, too weary to be a re-birth, too modest to be a manifesto, and too refined to be a personal confession. It’s not just a space-filler, considering it’s been over a month since I’ve posted on the blog, and it’s not just “another” post about sports. I suppose it’s a notice of things to come, in anticipation of what will happen, forged by what’s happened, impacting what’s happening.

Around this time last year I decided that I was going to try to post something on  the blog close to every day. And I failed. Miserably. I wrote consistently for a couple weeks but it didn’t take long for me to give up on the venture.

A year later and I’ve received numerous reiterations of the all-important message for aspiring writers: write. A lot. I can’t ignore this forever if I ever want to really take writing seriously. I have to commit to the craft. And while my schoolwork has had me writing quite a lot, I’m still not at the daily recommended word diet (reading or writing) and classwork only lasts for so long.

So I’m going to try again. Really. I’m committing to writing something every day. That’s not to say something will be posted every day, as some days I might write part of a longer work to be posted later, or I may write something that is never meant to be on the blog (like, pipedreaming, a book). But something will get posted regularly. Maybe about sports, maybe not. Maybe a long post, maybe a short poem. Various and sundry might be the words for it.

This shift is coming for a number of reasons beyond the need to write prolifically. On the micro level, I’m still trying to make sense of the crater that exists in the wake of Wisconsin vs. Kentucky, and the aftershock that resulted in Wisconsin vs. Duke. A model for what was supposed to happen in college basketball existed, and an ICBM called Sam Dekker’s Step-Back blasted it into oblivion. Future events in basketball, at the collegiate and professional levels, changed dramatically from what was supposed to happen. It was one of those things in sports that makes you just sit and ponder at a loss for meaning.

We are also approaching the start of the NBA Playoffs, one of my most favorite sporting events. Night after night the fray plays out as we move through April and May towards the Finals. I’ll be watching a lot of this, occasionally nudging aside homework, sleep, and a social life, and I’m sure to have thoughts on this, and these thoughts may not be the kind of big picture narratives I typically spend time writing on. If I’m writing daily, that gives me more liberty to just scribble down a few thoughts on the way Anthony Davis defies logic.

On the macro level, this is a product of the changing world around me, the way I perceive it, and the ways in which I interact with it.

I don’t plan on being a sportswriter anymore. I love writing and I love sports, but the field of sports journalism is not for me. If you know me, you know that chasing down leads, putting myself out there, and working in a fast-paced deadline-driven environment are not my cups of tea. That’s not a career I want to pursue just so one day I can write columns that get re-tweeted a thousand times in an hour.

Am I still going to write about sports? Yes. And, if someone is willing to pay me to write about them on my own terms, I would jump at the opportunity.

Whether or not sports are involved, I will be a part of the writing process. I’m not sure what I want to do just yet, but it turns out that English is one of the most versatile majors out there. As one of my mentors said, “The better question with English is not what CAN you do, but what CAN’T you do.” Once upon a time I was disappointed that my college did not have a Journalism Major, but now I see how that has worked out for the better for me.

I am also finding, as I continue my studies, that I care about many things beyond sports, and that there are numerous things that can be and should be written about outside the sports world. That’s not at all to say that sports are not important or that social and cultural issues cannot be addressed through sports, but I don’t think I want to put all of my eggs into the athletics basket. And, if you follow my work, you know that I have already started to bring a balance to the content of my works.

The world is not so simple for me as it was a few years ago. I hadn’t confronted my homophobia and sexism, and I had yet to really develop my Christian faith. I failed to see how narrow and idealistic my political views were. I wasn’t aware of ethnocentrism, political corruption, and botched military expeditions. I had never considered the racism simmering in my own heart and the heart of the nation. I had never heard of Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Walter Scott, Trayvon Martin, or Ferguson.

And I’m still young. I’ve seen just a little of the world. I will continue to learn how to see through the eyes of others, and to understand what I’m doing or saying that’s wrong. I’ll continue to learn how to lean on God, and my political views will evolve. More troubling things will happen in my government and my culture. More people will die. New challenges will arise. I will read more and hear more and have my understanding of humans and this temporal world challenged many times over.

I will watch and listen and learn and take part. And I will sit and think and read and write. I will add my chapter to this anthology of human culture and thought, playing the bard as the locomotive of society rumbles on.

Which brings me to the rather unfortunate casualty of this change. I don’t think I can be the SneakyGoodSportsGuy anymore, nor do I think I can rightfully call this the SneakyGoodSportsBlog. I did what I set out to do in September of 2011: I cleared some space on the internet and filled it with some of my thoughts on sports. And, though I have taken extended breaks now and then, and the content has sometimes strayed from the world of sports, readers have known this site as a sports blog, and I have come to be known as a sports guy. More than once, someone has asked me of a current topic, “Well what does Mr. SportsGuy think?” And while I will always proudly bear the standard of sneakygood, as that prefix will always accurately describe me, I cannot contain my craft within this alter ego forever. If I am to stamp my name, however small, on the world of writing, it won’t say “SneakyGoodSportsGuy.” That’s just reality. And sooner or later I have to let the Daft Punk hidden identity thing go. It’s time to turn the page to the next chapter, bringing an end to the era of the SneakyGoodSportsBlog and the Guy who wrote it.

Thank you readers. Especially those who have been with me from the jump. Positive feedback has kept me going when I would have otherwise quit. Let’s keep living and reading and writing and loving and learning.

So, for the last time,

Thank you for reading, Soli Deo Gloria,

The SneakyGoodSportsGuy