With the NHL offseason coming to the home stretch, everyone knows that there hasn’t been too much news to report on. Yes, the Ilya Kovalchuk situation has had about as much drama as Brett Farve and Tiger Woods. Also the trade, or no trade of Tomas Kaberle has also occupied our minds as well. And of course the RDO camp and potential rule changes that the league is considering, to go along with playing in the Olympics or not.
Yesterday however, a subject came about regarding bloggers, or as I prefer to call us, writers. The matter at hand was in regard to individuals like us getting press credentials which would give us access to the press box, dressing room, and other media outlets. This would enable us to interview players after games both for the home team that we cover, and potentially the visiting road team.
There were two excellent articles written yesterday covering the matter. One by the very well known and respected Greg Wyshynski known as Puck Daddy, and the other by up and coming writer Justin Goldman, who writes for his own site called The Goalie Guild. Both articles give the bird’s eye view of what it is like to be in the position that we as writers have chosen to be in, and how difficult it sometimes is to not only be taken seriously, but also how hard it may be to gain the respect that many of us are looking for.
In reading both, I think you’ll find that there is a fine line that some writers feel they need to walk, and a decision needs to be made on whether or not your goal is to get press credentials or not. The stigma that’s out there about us is that we are a bunch of guys sitting in our basements, or a local Starbucks, forming opinions, and or making brash and biased statements about the teams we cover. In addition some feel that our statements or coverage of the team is done in a way to be comical, sarcastic and degrading. Hey if it gets us readers, then why not?
In actuality, and I speak for myself, but I know that I also speak for other (not all) writers as well, is that we do this because we feel we have something to say. We feel that we are intelligent enough to make our statements and cover our teams in a way that the normal media outlets don’t. Or should I say won’t. We don’t get paid to do this. We love the game, and are passionate about it and want to talk about it. While I can’t speak for every writer out there, I’m sure many agree and would be on the same page with me on this.
The real issue is whether or not credentials mean anything to us. Before I answer that, and before you do if you’re a writer yourself, ask yourself the following question. If I am granted press credentials to games for the team that I cover, does that now change the way that I write for that team? Also, will I then be compromising myself, and changing my style of writing because I now am at the mercy of the team? I can’t answer this question for all of you, but I can give you my response as it pertains to me.
Personally, I enjoy the fact that I am in the background. That my identity is a bit of a secret, and that of all the 6 people who show up for the Florida Panther games, are not aware of who The Rat Trick is. Well, except for one of the former majority owners, but I have always been respectful of him. So you see right there, I feel an obligation to not say derogatory comments or make fun of or joke around about him, or anything that he did. If I now get press credentials, my purpose for my readers becomes “infected” with how I am now “supposed” to write.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t love the chance to meet players after the games and ask them questions about their performance, and watch all the attention that they get. However, if I were to ask Little Stevie why he went off for a line change instead of joining the rush, therefore missing out on a scoring chance, the little bugger would probably try to wrap his stick around my head. Therefore most likely ending my access to the dressing room. Now, getting credentials for the All-Star game, or a playoff game (in Florida?), or the Draft is something completely different. That opportunity I would love. I will never forget one year when I was in Toronto on a business trip and staying at a hotel that many players and NHL big wigs were at prior to the NHL Awards show. I sat in awe of all the people that I saw coming and going, and that I saw around the city. One thing, though is that I was extremly respectful and didn’t “bother” anyone, but was able to impress my colleagues of how many people I knew and who they were.
Bottom line is that writing for FanSided Sports has given me on a daily basis an outlet to voice my opinions, and interact with my readers. You don’t have to agree with me, but I hope that you at least like what you read, and that I can you you a different perspective. Candid, true, and sometimes sarcastically on the money! I would never disrespect Fansided if I was granted the chance to get in front of any player as a representative of this network. However, I’m not so sure I want to change the way that I write.
So for now, I think I’ll just stay mysterious. I like it that way!
Thanks for reading.
You can check me out daily at The Rat Trick.