For The Love of Bleacher Report

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IAugust 17, 2008

This evening, I read the "Pick of the Day" article by Alan Bass entitled "B/R Will Never Be Official, Unless We Change Our Ways". I also spent an hour or so tonight poring over the comments and debate sparked by the insightful article, challenging all of us to be the best writers in our sports areas that we can be.

The article really got me thinking about Bleacher Report and why I got involved in the first place.  I joined the site 29 days ago to be exact.  My lovely daughter who is headed off to college this week learned of the site on Facebook and decided that it would be a perfect outlet for me, as a soon-to-be empty nester.

You see, I'm a NASCAR racing junkie and I live, breathe, eat, and sleep all kinds of stock car racing news and developments.  Racing has been my passion since childhood and it has recently been rekindled in a big way.

But I have had to live my passion behind closed doors, basically locked in the proverbial "closet".  

By day, I am a responsible county government executive, taking care of all of the human services in our community.  I oversee the welfare department, youth shelter, juvenile detention center, and other county facilities that care for the neediest in our county. 

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I have two Masters' degrees, one in social work and one in public administration.  I have been a "community leader" for almost 20 years and pride myself in serving the county.

But my secret passion is stock car racing, which I absolutely love and adore.  So, when my daughter told me there was a site where I could write about my passion and share it with a sports community, I quickly signed up—and fell in love.

In the short time that I've been involved, Bleacher Report has provided me the forum to write about all of the NASCAR racing that is my passion, from the Camping World East Series to the Sprint Cup level. 

I can share my opinions, frustrations, and passions with those who feel the same way that I do.  I have "met" incredibly wise race fans, who care about their corner of the NASCAR world as much as I care about my little neck of the racing woods. 

I've also had the privilege of meeting other wonderful writers, many of whom have taken the time to edit my work.  Their constructive criticism has shaped my writing and helped me to learn to express myself better than I ever could have imagined.

Bleacher Report has opened up a whole other world for me as well.  Who knew there were so many sports that others were equally passionate about as I was NASCAR racing?  I've learned more about Olympic events and cricket and F1 in my short tenure with Bleacher Report than I ever would have in a million years of reading about sports in the traditional venues.

Sure, I've taken my hits in the Bleacher Report comments forum.  I've been lambasted by a few who have joined to really rip into my commentaries, from questioning four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon's focus to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief decisions. 

Some of it, quite frankly, has been pretty scathing, and sometimes personally hurtful.  But I know that everyone's opinion counts on this site—and that's what makes it truly special.

Joining Bleacher Report has not only given me an outlet for my passion, it has truly opened doors for me.  Recently, I had the opportunity to be in the ARCA garage at the Pocono Raceway.  I saw one of the series' up-and-coming racers, Scott Speed, hanging out near his hauler before the race.  Never in a million years would I have approached a racer of his caliber. 

But knowing that I wanted to write about him on Bleacher Report emboldened me to approach him and ask him a few questions.  That formed the basis for an article on Bleacher Report and I was most excited to share the experience.  I never would have had the courage to do this without being involved in this site.

So, have I written a few senseless articles in my time?  That is probably the case—just ask some of the wonderful folks who frequent the NASCAR pages.  But have I been challenged to grow and be better and better in sharing my race passion?  You bet.

To me, that's what Bleacher Report is all about.  And that's why I am loving every minute of my involvement in this special site.  Aren't you?