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Two Simple Questions, Two Not-So-Simple Answers

May 13, 2010

Any writer starts off by asking themselves two questions: What and why?

What do I want to write about? What do I enjoy writing about? What inspires me to write? Why do I want to write? Why do I enjoy writing? Why do I write?

Each of these questions are ones that I have wrestled with for some time now. Time and time again I’ve embarked on an attempt to create a blog that I’ll consistently maintain. In fact, this here, Backyard Baseball, is the fourth incarnation of those attempts. Each time I have had an inability to maintain dedication. At times the distractions of life’s responsibilities have prevented me from maintaining any consistency to my efforts. Other times I simply haven’t been happy with the efforts I had been able to put forth. Each time I’ve essentially given up with the inevitable desire to start again.

So why will this time be any different?

Carson Cistulli started to approach the subject of why we write today in a post at Fangraphs.com. Carson admits, rightfully so, that there is no simply answer to the question. Some people write because it is there job. Some write because they have an aspiration to someday make it their job. Some do it for the fame or notoriety. Some simply because they enjoy the challenge. Some merely want a voice, whether it is heard or not.

So this brings us back to the two questions that I posed at the beginning. What and why?

The first is a simply one for me to answer.  Baseball is, to put it simply, my biggest life’s passion. It always has been. My friends and family would likely prefer to call it my obsession. I played Little League for 11 years and only stopped playing because my family moved overseas and the option was no longer there for me. I still have all the baseball cards from my childhood. All 20,000+ of them. I still occasionally will purchase more of them. I collect autographs and various other pieces of baseball memorabilia. I still play baseball video games as often as I can make the time. I’m addicted to MLB Network, Baseball Tonight, and countless baseball-centric blogs that I read on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. 

Baseball is my hobby. My passion. My obsession. My life.

Answering the question of why I write isn’t quite so easy. I ultimately enjoy writing. In a sense, it’s a stress reliever for me (or so I’ve recently discovered). It’s always been a tangible skill that I’ve had. For whatever reasons, it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. I have an innate ability to convey my thoughts and opinions through writing.  For years friends have tried to get me to write a book. I’ve never attempted to simply because I’ve never been able to narrow my ideas down to a single topic.

Sure, there is a part of me that feels like my calling was to be a sportswriter. And here I sit, 17 months shy of my 30th birthday, and a sportswriter I am not. Not in the sense that I envisioned. But the thing that I have realized is that there is no such thing as never in this world. If I aspire to someday make a living (or even some semblance of an income) from my writing then who says that I’m too old to make it happen?

Take Sky Andrecheck, for example. He’s been writing for his own interests since March 2009, specifically about the sabermetric side of the game. In time, after not getting the attention (i.e. readers) he had hoped for he reached out to someone at one of the more prominent sports blogs on the Internet in an effort to expand his readership. That effort turned into a regular spot writing. That regular spot developed into a contributing spot with Sports Illustrated and an occasional consultant gig with a Major League franchise. Now, in less than a year’s worth of hard work, he is leaving the world of blogging to take a position as an analyst for the Cleveland Indians.

Ultimately one of the best reasons for why we write is something that was said by a commenter named “twinsrulemlb” who said the following in response to Carson’s post:

“Isn’t that all of our dreams? That someone will read our writing and lift us up to Baseball Heaven from the hell of our everyday lives?”

Well said, my friend. Well said.

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