Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wee Wee

If you write about sports, there's a two letter word that should never, ever, appear in your writing, outside of a quote.

That word is "we."

If it does appear in your writing, it really does not matter what you write about, or how you write it. Your statistics may be revelatory, your prose might sing, your timing may be impeccable and your passion may be immaculate. It won't matter; your words will read like turds in my cereal, and you will force me to think of you in the following groups.

1) Willfully ignorant, like a child that refuses to be corrected, and seems to be more interested in a confrontation than anything else. Sports are a business, and we pay either to watch the game in money, time and patience. If you believe you are part of the team because you cheered real hard or stared at the television for a very long time... um, no. You paid; they got paid. You are not them. Grow the hell up.

2) Cynically exploitative, as if you were getting paid by the network or team to hype the game beyond the simple pleasure that is, well, a game to watch. I'll agree that some teams are more fun to root for than others; those generally involve teams with young and emerging players, grateful but limited veterans who are being managed to their full proficiency, and the occasional mix of funny/goofy/unique that endears. There's also very little, in the way of reporting, that's going to make me decide that a player is that way: those are judgments that I come to all of my lonesome, thank you. So telling me you we're all a swell bunch of guys is just going to make my Bullspit Meter go through the roof, and make me regard you as, well, a carnival barker.

3) Phenomenally conceited, since your words and views are so clearly In The Right For All that you don't just speak for yourself, but for a large group of other, obviously correct thinking, individuals. Who are we, the humble readers, to disagree with the Nation of We?

4) Uselessly biased, since the We must involve a fan base that the reader isn't (hopefully) part of. You can go very far in life by just remembering the sage advice of Groucho Marx, who said that he would never be part of a club that would have him as a member.

5) Spectacularly lazy and inconsiderate, since We isn't exactly taught in journalism schools (you know, where standards might actually be upheld), appreciated by the non mouth-breathing members of the general public, or applauded by, well, anyone.

So if you find yourself, in a moment of weakness or self-loathing, reading a piece in which the writer goes We all over you?

Don't give them the opportunity to do it again.

Standards, people. Standards.

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