The sort of people you find on just about any sports message board throw me for a loop. They can be as snotty and ignorant as anyone at your local yacht club or in a high school hallway.
If you haven’t made your third dissection of the Cowboys' defensive end depth chart of the week or your post count hasn’t reached numbers rivaling Pete Rose’s hit totals, you may find yourself ostracized from the in crowd.
Maybe it’s that the people who wreak havoc on the message boards never made it past high school football or crave a job in the sports world, but never got it. I think it's funny that people would think so highly of themselves based on their productivity on a message board.
I won’t lie, I think it would be great to be a sports writer or work in the sports field in some capacity. But I never saw the message boards as a way to get your foot in the door. Even if it was, most of the people that live on those boards are not willing to allow new people to participate in the conversation.
At the Sons of Sam Horn site, a gathering place for Red Sox fans, you can’t even join the main message board until you prove yourself on the "junior" or "minor league" board or whatever they are calling in these days.
I gave it a try on the junior board last year. I made a few posts but then I realized that I didn’t have the time or desire to prove to the moderators that my Red Sox aptitude was up to their lofty standards.
I was just looking for a Sox-themed board where I could enjoy reading about the team, maybe strike up a few chats, and hopefully get some information out of Boston, since I live all the way down in Pennsylvania.
But, as it is at most boards, it’s not about discussing the Red Sox or having fun, it’s about taking yourself much too seriously.
At the Sons of the Sports Guy Bill Simmons "tribute" board they do not take kindly to new faces either. They actually have classifications for new people to the board, which get listed under your user name whenever you post. I made my first post and was put under "Doug Christie" classification.
After I made a few more I got the "pretty whorey" moniker, which I assume means I only stop by for a quickie, violating some unwritten rule that I must spend X amount of my time and energy at the board. Anyways, whenever I do post there, the responses I get are more like an angry parent talking down to a troublesome child.
Perish the thought that I would try to add to the conversation.
When I posed the question of why the people there read his columns when they obviously hate his writing, I was flame-bombed as a "newbie" or "noob."
I also made the unfathomable mistake of making a double post, which drew the ire and rage of nearly everyone reading. I think I got two pages of responses directing unspeakable hate towards me.
It was like I was the kid who reminds the teacher that they forgot to assign homework. Angry or condescending responses are something you better get used to when working your way through the boards.
The message board, so to speak, that irks me the most is the comments section at Profootballtalk.com. It's really a glorified blog posing as a legitimate news source, run by Mike Florio.
When I first found the site, I really liked it and checked it often. It was something new and fresh when compared to the more corporate ESPN website.
But the more I read from the posters, the less I could stomach the site. If you read through the comments section, you can find the usual chatter from the holier than thou regulars, along with their undying hatred of the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick.
I can understand the hatred, as successful as the Patriots have been, but it seems to border on obsession.
To his credit, Florio baits them with a story and the ill will immediately starts. They exalted with glee when Brady went down with an ACL injury last year and knighted the man who injured him.
They called out Belichick as a cheat and a rat who does whatever he pleases after an April Fools' joke that he had released the Patriots upcoming schedule early.
I hate the Yankees, Steelers, and Alex Rodriguez, but I never found it appealing to go to a message board and rip them incessantly.
Before you call me a Boston homer who's crying about guys ragging on my teams, know they also found reason to joke about and make fun of the football players who lost their lives in the boating tragedy off the Florida coast earlier this year.
So what can you expect when you foray into the world of sports message boards?
Expect a cold shoulder. Watch guys expend entirely too much energy trashing a successful player. Look for the guy padding his resume with his post count before he sends it off to the local sports section. And by all means, expect hell, fire, and brimstone if you accidentally click send twice.
Sons of Sam Horn, http://www.sonsofsamhorn.net/
Sons of the Sports Guy, http://www.sotsg.com
Pro Football Talk, http://www.profootballtalk.com