Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Longest Season...

Hey, you there reading this blog right now - remember me?

A little over a year ago I started blogging about sports right here on this very website. To be honest, I really didn't have a clue what I was doing at the time or how long I'd be able to keep doing it. What I did know is that I had a passion for writing, a non-miniscule amount of talent for the task and a desire to tell the stories that it seemed to me nobody was telling anymore. Log on to any sporting news website and you can find reams of digital paper about stats breakdowns and the business of professional sports. What you can't seem to find increasingly are stories and articles about the people who create these fantastic moments we as sports fans collectively enjoy. The long form sports essay that gives real, meaningful insight into the lives, careers and achievements of the athletes we pay good money to watch appears to be dying folks. To me, that's a sad thing and I created this blog in some small way to help fight off the inevitable extinction of well written, long form sports journalism. For two solid months, I wrote as often and as honestly as I could and I think that anyone who reads this blog will have trouble arguing that I didn't succeed. I'm proud of the writing I shared on The Sportsball Chic and I'm genuinely sorry I had to stop.

So what happened? Real life basically. After years of living alone with my boyfriend, my mother contacted me out of the blue to tell me that my father had died. We had not spoken in over 12 years, so as you can imagine this announcement threw my life into total chaos. At the same time, I started to experience numerous problems at work. Because I'm not a professional sportswriter (yet), I still manage a small retail store to pay the bills and while it's not the most difficult job in the world when things are running smoothly - it can be sheer hell when they aren't. Work got complicated, with subordinates under me clearly needing to be fired but management above me refusing to pull the trigger. Eventually it exploded into a rainstorm of bad noise and hurt feelings, which in turn forced me into spending more time and energy cleaning up the mess once the undesirable employees had proven to my boss that they simply had to go. Between arguing with my boss, trying to stop my subordinates from running amok and trying to rebuild a relationship with my grieving mother - there just wasn't a lot of time to write about sports. Heck, in some cases there wasn't a lot of time to watch sports! I thank God almighty that Youtube exists because without it I honestly wouldn't have a clue how the last 8 weeks of the NFL season and the entire NBA season went. I was simply too busy to watch - though curiously I always found time for hockey.

To be honest with you, during that time I didn't think about The Sportsball Chic much - my life was moving pretty fast and despite the blog having gone over 1000 regular viewers before I left, it was still a pretty minor concern compared to still having a place to work and trying to have a relationship with my mother. Sometimes, late at night however - I'd log on to read my old articles and the few, but cherished comments to remind myself that there was something to go back to when the struggle was over. I missed this blog, and I missed writing about the Detroit Sports scene for the few regular viewers who cared to visit. In my darkest moments, this space represented a very real reminder that there were still things worth getting out of bed for in the morning - even if I simply couldn't do those things right now.

In one regard, this experience has improved me as a writer - I now understand that time is a precious commodity so I'll get straight to the point. I want to write again and more specifically I want to write about sports. Most of the problems that kept me away from this blog have resolved themselves and as I've found more free time, my Twitter feed and Facebook page have become a sort of "mini sports update" newscast. I love doing this but I also think it's time to move beyond my circle of friends and get back to putting out work for other people to read on a regular basis. Unfortunately I can't promise that I'll publish as often or that my work will be as polished as it was last year. Time, sadly is money and so long as I'm not getting paid to write about sports - there's only so much time I can afford to devote to it. I think part of what drove me away from the blog last time is the sheer amount of time I spent editing and re-editing each article until they were perfect. Even if I were working for a big sports Magazine like SI or ESPN, that would be two jobs and trying to perform both at a professional level, while still working at the game store was just not a reasonable proposition for more than a month or two. As the bad news and awkward situations piled on, I simply lost the ability to invest ten or twelve hours into an individual article and that made me sad enough that I simply didn't want to write anymore.

Things are better now, but they aren't perfect. Frankly, I'm still looking for a job in the sportswriting world and if anyone reading this wants to hire me - I'm available, but no start ups and no pay for clicks scams please. I've talked to a few friends about putting up a Paypal donation button on this blog but I have no idea if those things actually work - I can't lie, I've never donated to one of those myself for example. Right now, all I want to do is write and since they didn't delete this blog I guess I still have a place to do that. I have so many things to share with you guys, including my thoughts on the four major Detroit teams, the NFL/NHL in general and my burgeoning love of English Premier League Soccer. With any luck, we'll even get around to talking about those things before my life falls apart and I have to stop writing again. I'm not saying I'm begging for a job doing this full time... okay that's exactly what I'm saying.

Welcome back folks, I missed you more than I can ever say...

- The Sportsball Chic

PS - for those of you wondering I can be found on social media as follows:

@NinaDontPlayMtG is my Twitter Account
www.facebook.com/nina.illingworth.7 is my Facebook Page

I'm reasonably friendly, but I will snap block trolls on either service - you have been warned.

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