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Monday, August 1, 2005

Rob Q. on Philly Sports

Google “sports” today and you’ll get 303 MILLION results. Every possible opinion on every possible sports issue is presumably already out there. So, I’m not sure I can offer anything original with my sports blog. In fact, I'm not quite sure what I can offer. I do, however, know that my lifelong love of sports is dwindling, and it's time to try something.

Like every other blogger in the world, I hope to do something a little different. The Philadelphia sports scene is becoming too predictable, if you ask me. And, no, I’m not talking about the play of the teams. I'm talking about the way fans and media alike react to everything.

We live and die with the Eagles, scoff at the Phillies and the Sixers, and don’t care about the Flyers until playoff time. We take every non-championship season as a mortal wound. We listen as WIP hosts and, more recently, Daily News scribes, tell us how they knew all along that our beloved teams never had a chance and never will.

Success is mocked, unless of course a reporter or host wants an interview, and fans are encouraged to wear failure as a badge of honor. More and more sports broadcasters and talk-show hosts are making themselves part of the story, athletes are losing touch, and sports are a source of bitterness instead of a fun diversion from everyday life for fans.

Do I think I can do better than other writers? Do I think I can change this pattern? No.

Well, ok, I think I can do better than some writers and bloggers. But the real idea behind my sports blog is pretty selfish. It’s my response to the Philadelphia sports scene. If I do anything, I write, and writers cope with things by putting their thoughts “down on paper” . . . or, these days, in blogs.

As I “officially” launch my Philly sports blog, I find myself fed-up with the sports chatter that I used to hunger for. Maybe there’s too much of it. Maybe the lack of a title in Philly is wearing on me. Possibly “today’s athletes” starve me for the true grit of players that just wanted to play from an era I just barely recall, or think I recall, the end of. Maybe I’m just getting old.

Maybe, as I am beginning to believe, the ego-driven sports reporters, talk-show hosts, and T.V. personalities posing as sportscasters are souring me. In their haste to be the first to slam the latest athlete in trouble with the law or offering proof of how out of touch they are, they've thrust themselves into a spotlight they have no business approaching.

But, maybe, it’s none of those things. As we become flooded with sports information, highlights, and analysis, maybe, just maybe, we’re losing the thing we loved in the first place.

The game.

Making the highlights seems more important to most athletes than knowing the fundamentals. The next game story that tells us who won the game in the first paragraph without some quip from a columnist-in-training should win a prize. The idea of sports talk radio being the modern day version of talking sports around the water cooler has mostly given way to a bunch of Howard Stern wannabees. Then, of course, there's the never-ending slew of holdouts, lockouts, and off-the-field "incidents" that make you not want to root for these guys in the first place.

So, even the notion that one more sports blog can do anything but add to the noise may be laughable. I want to do something different. Say something different. Bring the noise level down, and find a way to love sports again.

Yeah, I know. So does every other sports blogger out there.

Many talk of starting a national association of fans; an entity meant to give the fans a voice in the “business” of sports. Sure, there’s millions of those on the web, too. But none of them have had any impact.

Neither, really, has any of the millions of sports writers, bloggers, or columnists bemoaning the state of sports. But, I’m not quite ready to just “turn it off.”

There’s plenty I still love about sports, and more than a few writers, broadcasters, and even sports talk guys worth paying attention to. Football and basketball are still two of my favorite things in the world, and I’m even beginning to remember why summer days used to be about baseball, baseball, and baseball.

My goal here is to have some fun and bring back what Philly sports talk radio used to be all about. No doubt I’ll often touch on things the rest of the 303 million sports sites are talking about, but hopefully I can bring a new slant to issues every now and then. I’ll have some fun predicting games, at times reply to the comments and original posts of any sports fans I’m lucky enough to engage on this site, do whatever I can to help with a sports fans union, and maybe begin enjoying sports again.

At the very least, maybe this site can become a place for true discussion about sports . . . including the games we all still love.

My blog is just an everyday guy’s look at the local and national sports scene. I’ll be offering my opinion on the local teams, media coverage, national stories, and even try to pick some winners. Hopefully, the blog will be a fun spot to visit, generate some reader response, and add to the enjoyment of sports.

(Blended with intro from “Beyond the Rants” and “Philly Sports Review” – previous blog names – 7/25/06, updated 10/21/10; date of orig. intro kept, 8/1/06; “Rants” & “PSR” posts, bad picks and all, moved to “Rob Q. Ink” 9/7/08.)

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