I got an email today (March 31, 2009).
I know what you’re saying, only one? OK, I got a couple emails today. Now that we have got that out of the way, I got an email today from Rory Brown here at the one and only Bleacher Report.
Now Rory and I have never met, so I’d assume that many of you got the same email I did. On the other hand I did feel a little special, as my favourite website had decided to drop me a line.
I didn’t know what exactly Rory had in mind, but it turns out he asked me for an article or slideshow addressing the best and or worst of ESPN. Simple task, except one snag, I’m Canadian for crying out loud!
(Every time I see an ESPN related article around here they seem to be taking it on the chin. Maybe missing my daily dose of Stuart Scott isn’t the worst thing in the world.)
Now as far as catch phrases, top-10’s and SportsCenter duos, I’m of no use, as I live in a relatively ESPN free zone. (Except for The Herd).
There are plenty of things about ESPN that bug me including their current Anti-NHL agenda.
(We can see what you’re doing by the way.)
You know the one that allows that them to play off the NBA like its god's gift to five-on-five sports.
Yeah I’m looking at you Cowherd (If you’d like to debate it, I’d be glad to call in to your show. Yes, I do listen and enjoy most of it).
But this isn’t about the negative, it’s about the positive. One in a Million of us want to be sports writers ever get to be a sports personality. One in a Million ever gets to do this for a living.
That being said I wanted to take this opportunity to thank ESPN.
The odds are long, the opportunities slim, but ESPN has given us hope. They have given us Page 2 and the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons.
It allowed every kid that thought he knew a little more than the next guy to have a dream. Doesn’t everybody think they know more than the next guy when it comes to sports? Doesn’t everyone deserve a dream?
Bill Simmons has been known for his edgy and non-traditional sports coverage. He is hip, he is interesting, and he is what the people wanted. But more important he was already what the people sounded like. A prefect fit to tell a generation, it’s not about whom you know, or your education.
Although I am sure his Masters in Journalism from BU doesn’t hurt.
He’s not perfect, he’s far from it, but he’s collecting a pay check to be himself. To sell sports the way he sees it. More importantly he is living our dream. Write enough, be seen enough, be interesting enough (be interesting, see Colin I do listen), and one day you could be Bill Simmons.
So what do you do with all those interesting writers following their "inner Simmons"?
You’ve got to send them somewhere. I believe Zander said it best when he said, “I'm pretty sure we knew just as much about the games we watched as the media personalities who were paid to cover them.”
Now not everyone does this to further a career, not everyone does this with aspiration of one day collecting a pay check that says, _________sports.com or the _________ Times on it. But I’d venture a guess none of us would mind.
What changed with Bill Simmons?
In an attempt to make this a sports article, it was the same thing that changed with Roger Bannister.
Now most people know Roger’s story, and if you don’t I’ll tell you. In 1954 he became the first human to run the mile in under four minutes. It was a feat previously thought impossible.
Following that in the next seven months 37 people accomplished the feet, in the next three years 300 people ran the mile in under four minutes. All that changed was it was possible.
So thanks to Bill Simmons for being the Roger Bannister of the Computer sports world.
So thanks to Zander, Bryan, and The Daves for providing the platform for aspiring writers like me to get our elbows off the bar, and our opinions to the world.
In the words of a former number one ranked writer her at the Bleacher Report Lisa Horne in her departing article. “May the Editor Gods shine their light on all of you. May all your dreams come true. May you be the next Bill Simmons, the next Rick Reilly, the next Bill Plaschke, but remember to be yourself.”
And thank you ESPN, the effects of a decision you made completely autonomous of the Bleacher Report to hire Bill Simmons have reverberated through the gifted writers and wildly creative content displayed here.
It tells the Todd Civin, Lou Capetta, Jesus Melendez, Mark Mariano, Revo Boulanger’s (those are some of my favourites, there are too many to name) of the world that maybe just maybe, they’re the Bill Simmons, maybe they're the next Lisa Horne.
For that small chance and for ESPN for providing it, I just want to say Thank You.
Bleacher Report Community, you may not return to your regularly scheduled ESPN bashing,