The other day, one of the bloggers I complemented posted a comment that said I was “sort of becoming the patron saint of aspiring internet hockey writers”… Nothing like that to make you feel old, eh? I thought patron saints were supposed to be dead, or bald. OK, fine, I’m bald, but that doesn’t make me old. I was looking in the mirror today, which is always dangerous, and saw more grey in my beard than dark. That isn’t true, there is still more dark, but the grey is more like silver, so it stands out in the light. It glints (has glint? glinters?) . To that blogger, I will take it in the complementary spirit it was meant, and cry curled up in a ball in the corner when nobody is looking.
Still another blogger was visiting Denver recently, and said how we were the mid-30s independent hockey blogger. We were something unto our own. We are the old men drinking at the bar, looking at our game with humor and Czechvar colored glasses. It was pretty funny, and it stuck with me. He also said I was “well respected,” which was designed to make me feel better about blogging for other hockey bloggers. At least, that’s what my sitemeter says. If I were blogging about a Canadian team, or anyone other than the Avalanche, that probably wouldn’t be the case. This team’s fans don’t expect anything but the closed lipped treatment. Still, well respected. Wow. I’d be flattered, if I weren’t feeling like the demons were creeping up…the age demons.
Patron saint. I thought that was funny after I had my midlife crisis it created. If there is anything I pride myself on, it’s that I run this blog ad free. I have had a few offers to put ads on this blog, but have ignored them. Aside from the fact that they were gambling sites, and it would feel weird to put gambling ads on a sports site, I don’t want to be beholden to the ad dollar around here. If I decided to give up tomorrow, I have no one to answer to, other than the other bloggers who read this site. They might notice for a day or so, but I could go off into the world with a clean conscious. I did find it strange that only gambling websites have asked to advertise here. It makes me want to hug Pete Rose or something, or maybe Jeremy Roenick. Sports and gambling. What a slippery slope. If you have read any of my predictions, you would know not to bank on my recommendations.
The independent blogger is at a crossroads, which I plan on ranting about soon. I have been thinking a lot about the state of the state that I threw my hat into this past off season. When two points could mean the shrug if the shoulders, and the loss of a defenseman could be seen as something with impact over the course of the season, rather than in the immediate.
I’ve been thinking about going on tour again recently (for those of you who don’t know, I work in musical theatre, and have been on tour all but two years since 1998). Living the touring life is nothing like what it used to be, and probably not like what you think. It can be fun, and it can be difficult. It’s sometimes the best of times and the worst of times, all wrapped up into one. And it makes it difficult to be a hockey fan. Aside from the fact that you sweat your ass of when touring through Texas in a hockey jersey, your co-workers just don’t understand you. But it can afford certain opportunities, like driving from Charlotte, NC to New Jersey to see Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals because it was held on a Monday night (14 hours there, 12 hours back) because you just say how cool it would be, ebay has tickets, and your girlfriend thinks it’s a great idea. I would have never gone to so many games in Lowell, or seen the Worcester IceCats, or gone to the AHL All Star Game during the lockout, or the Beanpot in Boston. Touring, of course, would mean changes to this blog, for better or for worse. Last season, I went to 50 games, most of them in the low minors. I wish I had this blog then, but instead, I just jotted down some notes, and did nothing with them. Damn…
If I were to be sort of like a patron saint (which I am not, nor do I see myself as), I would tell the independent hockey blogging community to hang tight, and own what you do. Put your personality into your blog, and into your writing. Piss all over convention, make people mad if you want, make them laugh whenever you can, and tell the world what you think, not just what happened. Don’t be afraid to shout from the rooftops what you believe in, and even if the world doesn’t respond, you can wish them the best, grab that beer and hot dog, and take your seat in the rafters to take in a game. And then write some more. You are the voice of hockey right now, and you are doing it because you can, not because you have to. The old vanguard is dead, it’s voice has atrophied, and you have the power once only given to a few. You took it, rather than wait for it to come to you. You are the ones who are giving an interesting voice to the sport that is panned in the “press,” “ignored” in America, not done well enough for Canada, and is bigger than all of us. Hang in there, even if you feel no one is reading. Sitemeters don’t give you passion. You aren’t aspiring, you are doing.
Of course, what do I know. I’m just an old man. Ranting.