In honor of NaBloPoMO, I'll be attempting to post something every day in November. If you're not checking in every day, make sure you're catching all the posts! Tonight we give thanks with a grateful heart...
There's been a lot of discussion lately about blogging and how it compares and doesn't compare to mainstream media. I don't really know that I have anything to add that hasn't already been said by other people, but I do know this: I love blogging and I love my little corner of the blogosphere. I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I say, writing here and checking in with everyone else's blogs is one of the best parts of my day. So in honor of Thanksgiving, here are some reasons why I'm thankful for blogging.
I'm thankful for all the Buffalo blogs that offer an alternative to The Buffalo News.
Buffalo is a one newspaper town and in case I haven't made it clear before, I really dislike the majority of that paper's sports coverage, particularly where the Sabres are concerned. At best it's negative and one-sided. At worst it's unfair to the team and condescending to fans. It's refreshing to head off to one of my favorite Buffalo blogs and find criticism that's fair and and well-reasoned and also mixed with a dose of optimism and hope. (See Bfloblog, Sabre Rattling, Shots off the Crossbar, Desperation Hockey, The Goose's Roost, and Getting Caught from Behind to name a few.)
I'm thankful that blogging gives a voice to female hockey fans.
Certainly there are some females working in sports in the mainstream media... but not enough and many who do don't get enough respect. It's probably because I entered the blogging world via HLog, but most of the hockey blogs I read regularly are written by women. And many of the best I read are written by women. (See Hockey's Ladies of Greatness and all its related blogs.)
I'm thankful for the interactivity of blogging.
I think this is the aspect of blogging that's the most overlooked in the blogging vs. mainstream media debate. I can email a journalist about his column or article but I'm rarely going to get a response. I've gotten a handful of very short answers from John Buccigross, most of which I'm not entirely convinced were written by him, and one response from Bucky Gleason, detailing the burdern he bears as the voice of reason and reality in Buffalo sports (I wish I were exaggerating). And even if I were to get a response, that's pretty much the end of things. Not so on a blog. A blogger can write something that triggers a comment from a reader and that comment can spiral into an entire conversation. I've had conversations move from blog to blog and from blogs to emails. It's pretty remarkable but there are bloggers I feel like I know as well as real-life friends because I've spent so much time talking and debating and complaining with them. I love that about blogging. I love that when Toni Lydman takes a puck off the face, I think of Kate cringing. I love that when Jay Pandolfo scores a goal (!) I think of Schnookie and Pookie celebrating. I love that when Mattias Ohlund lost his mind for a second and slashed an opponent across the leg, I immediately felt bad for Alix. And I love that people do the same for me when it comes to Henrik Tallinder and other things. I've met four people I met through blogs in real-life and had a total blast. I've tried to make plans with a couple of others. Really, what are the chances Bucky Gleason or Jerry Sullivan would email me and say, "We have to go to Ryan Miller's Catwalk for Charity in February!" (Admittedly, it's probably best that they don't.) (See Interchangeable Parts.)
I'm thankful that blogging has opened me up to teams beyond the Sabres.
I don't have digital cable or Center Ice or anything fancy like that. I don't even manage to watch all of the Sabres games so you can bet I hardly ever get around to watching other teams. But I read about them. While the Buffalo blogs are at the top of my reading list, I also read blogs about the Senators, the Devils, the Penguins, the Stars, the Canucks, the Kings, and the California teams just to name a few. I don't even see the Western Conference teams most years but I read about them because they have bloggers who are smart and passionate and engaging. (See Scarlett Ice, The Humming Giraffe, Penalty Killing, and Purple Crushed Velvet.)
I'm thankful that bloggers aren't afraid to have fun with sports.
I mentioned recently that it seems like many sports writers don't like sports. I know hockey is a business and there's a lot of money involved in the day-to-day workings of a franchise and I understand that that stuff needs to be reported. But hockey is also a bunch of grown men skating around trying desperately to get a little black slab of rubber into a net. It's ridiculous. It's entertaining. It's fun. Not everything written about hockey needs to be serious. I'm thankful that many bloggers have a great sense of humor and are willing to let that shine through in their writing. (See The Willful Caboose, The Battle of California, SportSquee, and The Pensblog.)
Other things I'm thankful for:
... that the Sabres are still in Buffalo. We should never stop being thankful for this.
... the chance to watch Ryan Miller blossom into a very good goalie and a strong leader.
... Henrik Tallinder's graceful, easy skating.
... Brian Campbell's ear-to-ear grin.
... Tim Connolly's fluid, never-break-a-sweat stick-handling and his sometimes infuriating but often rewarded patience.
... Thomas Vanek's ability to take over a game. Despite his struggles, we may be watching something special in Vanek.
... Derek Roy on the penalty kill. I love watching him buzz around out there. When he's on, he hustles like crazy.
... Toni Lydman and Jochen Hecht's solid, no nonsense dependability.
... Nolan Pratt for being willing to knock people off his goalie.
... Lindy Ruff's unfailing, dry sense of humor.
... All the people reading this right now. Thanks for coming around.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!