Monday, July 4, 2016

July 04, 2016
A brief glint of un-shimmering darkness. We stride through the light and darkness with a numbing lack of our own existence beyond that which we know.

The vast majority - all of us - simply exist. In some ways, that is all we are ever asked to do, but is it all we should expect of ourselves. We are sentient beings and we simply refuse to see anything more than that which is easiest to see.

Sometimes I get a feeling of convulsing self-importance that is as inaccurate as it is fleeting. I write for a sports website. We cover recruiting. In the grand scheme of life, existence, the man in the mirror, this is about as insignificant as it gets. I get paid. And I make little difference. Is that all we have in this world? Time and energy to make money and continue the endlessness of nothing?

There is much evil in this world, but nowhere near the level of goodness that also exists. Frequently I have been an outspoken critic of the media. With good reason. But maybe I am wrong. There are people out there who care about changing the world with their words. Investigative journalism did not stop with Woodward and Bernstein.

Yet, even in a world of critical thinking, the protection of 'self' over the good of society can become a hindrance to true change. We must protect 'our' story. We must get the credit for our work. We fear someone else stealing our spotlight. I did it five years ago. I needed time to frame a story and I asked my sources to not speak with any other publications.

Who the hell did I think I was? I wasn't even a lowly cub reporter who stumbled on to a story. I was just a guy writing some thoughts for a blog - and I tried to keep a source?

The truth? I am not an investigative journalist. I am a writer. I think myself a decent writer, one who knows how to use a specific type of prose to engage readers. Sometimes I am effective, sometimes not.

I said sometime recently that we as sports writers do not make heroes; we simply report on the exploits of those heroes. What we miss, though, is that, while we cannot create heroes, we can lift them up in our words. Too often sprts writers simply talk about the gifted athletes they cover and let the exploits do the work.

We sit. We wait. We don't speak overly effusive because we are waiting for their fall. And then we pounce. When human frailty strikes down the man whose representation built him up, we see headlines.

It does not have to be this way. We can, and we should, build up those who do not falter. We should, and we can, take that responsibility upon ourselves with writing. Not with fluff pieces talking about some charity which was hosted or supported, but by using that thing with which we are most gifted. Words. Telling you that a particular athlete supports some charity is a fact. But if we go beyond facts, when we use prose to lift up the athlete in their arena, we set a bigger stage.

Rather than waiting for what we think to be the inevitable failure of man, we must challenge ourselves to seek the good and righteous before the fall. And we must, this is critical, we must  find some form of reconciliation in his eventual failure. It is easy to join the crowd in stoning the wretched whore. We must take the road less traveled and refuse to cast the stone. We must step in front and protect the human. We are not the story, the frailty is not the story. The rehabilitation? That is where the truth of our efforts lay.

We can be the leaders of reclamation. We can change the world not be tearing down its heroes, but recognizing in them the faults which are at the heart of mankind. We are all flawed and we use the flawed athlete to deflect our own failures.

When Tiger Woods has illicit affairs, we can hide our own weaknesses through indignation. We soothe ourselves as 'not as bad as him' all the while wondering if we would not be just as weak - or weaker.


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