MMQB Mail (cont.)
HE'D RATHER HAVE SOMETHING MORE THOUGHT-OUT 20 MINUTES LATER. From Spanky of Buchanan, Mich.: "I find it interesting that our microwave society places such a premium on getting the story first. Your need to twitter the story prompted in my mind a comparison to the long-gone generation that believed that it was more important to get your news from a source you trusted, even if it meant waiting until that trusted one confirmed the story. You should know that I would rather hear the story later from you than from the myriad of writers who put out erroneous information because they were in a hurry, because I know you won't compromise your integrity over immediacy. I know it's high praise indeed, but you could consider yourself the Walter Cronkite of sportswriters. You are our trusted voice. (Although I still don't believe you can say with a straight face that you're not a Pats fan... aw, shoot... now I have to re-think my whole email.)''
Very, very good point. I really struggle with it. The other day, concerning the Vick story, I take comfort in the fact that I knocked it down first and fastest, and I was right. Had I not been positive, I would not have sprinted to get it out so quickly. But here's the problem, as I wrote: If I take 20 minutes and write six paragraphs and it gets out on our website 40 minutes after someone else breaks it, is it really worth doing? Because then we could be knocking down erroneous stories all day. But I hear, and I respect your point of view, and it will stick with me as I make my way into an increasingly difficult media world.
CRITIQUING KING. From Anthony Grasso of Flanders, N.J.: "As my favorite football writer, I am compelled to write you when I disagree more than when I agree. Recently, I have not seen eye-to-eye with you on various topics especially your infatuation with football salaries. But I digress as I want to ask you how much can you tell from training camps about teams? I used to love your training camp reviews, but will not stoop to twittering (or facebooking) as I have no interest in random thoughts (like the Visanthe Shiancoe mindless tweet. Can't anyone write anymore?
"Every single year we hear about team after team really getting along much better at this year's camp. I have followed football for over 45 years and I think it's honestly gotten to be more and more a game of attrition, so my thoughts would be to get through camp healthy, play very few starters in the abominations that have become exhibition games and pace yourselves. Thoughts? Who cares what people are eating or doing in a meeting anyway. I have enough trouble keeping interested in people when I am sitting with them at dinner or at a bar. Sorry to say your tweets are very, very trite and boring, Peter. I am sorry you (or your boss) feel compelled to stoop to this level of journalism.''
Thanks for writing. I try to strike a balance between telling people what I think they need to know about the football side of things, and what I think people --especially in the internet age -- want to know about what it's like on the human side of training camps. There are many people who feel the way you do. I understand. So when I write Monday Morning Quarterback, for instance, I try to give you maybe 70 percent of football and 30 percent of ancillary or different stuff. In a 6,200-word column (this week's length), I'd estimate that 4,500 words were strictly football. Maybe a little more. I hope people can skip over the stuff they don't like and read what they do.
OF COURSE YOU CAN. From Josh Blue of Brighton, Mass.: "MR KING! MR KING! CAN I HAVE YOUR GLOVE?''
Best e-mail in a long time. Thanks.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. From Patrick Troyer of River Falls, Wisc.: "I love your columns and thank you for your great work. You point out the little or different things in your observations that make your work stand out. I was reading your piece on Ed Reed and the patience he displayed interacting with the fans. I loved it. It brought me back to the most memorable moment of my life. I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, have been since I was a small boy. I am 38 now and a single father of a beautiful 7 1/2-year-old daughter. She has had a thing for Ben Roethlisberger since she was 4. Well, last year I took her to her first Steelers game (only my 3rd), even though working two jobs didn't make it any easier to buy the tickets (thank goodness for the preseason).
"Well, she was excited to go and, of course, she had her Big Ben jersey on. We went into the stadium early and she would ask me every 20 minutes, "Daddy, where is Big Ben?" Well, after some time of watching him, he started running for the tunnels after his warmups. My daughter was down by the railing when he ran up and handed her the football. The look on her face when she looked at me was priceless. The look on my face was in disbelief. I cried like a little kid. There was nothing that could have ever happened to me with the Steelers that would have meant more than what had just happened. The two things I love the most having an interaction right there in front of my eyes. It brings me tears just writing this and being able to share it with someone.
"Out of the 150 Steeler fans crammed in that small area, he had picked her out before running to the tunnel. The little things that players do make the biggest difference. Ed Reed, Hines Ward giving footballs, the Lambeau Leap. All great things that live with people forever. Players like T.O. should take note on what it is all about. Ben now has two fans for life (though he didn't need to give us the football for that)and made my daughter a true life-long Steelers fan like her daddy.''
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