One year ago yesterday, Buzz Bissinger verbally assaulted a boy from Matoon on pay cable. In the aftermath a lot of people have said a lot of things, and 365 days seems like a convenient checkpoint to look back on what has happened since.
To be completely honest, this anniversary sort of snuck up on me. For a guy that uses sporting events as milestones throughout the calender year, I sort of forgot about the Buzz/Will showdown and the impact that it had. I think it’s funny that it is only relevant to people reading this site or others like it, because I think what happened that night has a much larger impact than that.
I also find it strange that upon further reflection I don’t feel like much has changed at all. In some ways it was an ordinary internet news cycle: something happened, everyone commented on it, and then it went by the wayside. This particular story was a bit more meaningful because it affected everyone doing the commenting, but it was no more meaningful than a big Sabres game here in Buffalo.
Still, you cannot undo technology, and you cannot undo communication. Since that day the sports media had to take a very serious look at blogs and what their assumed meaning is. A journalist who occasionally opined about blogs had to sit back and say, “Oh God, do I really sound like that?” No one wanted to be a Buzz Bissinger, not even Buzz himself.
Still, I really don’t know how much has changed around here. I think judging blogs out here is a case by case basis. I’ve never tried to do the same thing as Sabres Edge or My Safety is Harvard or even Deadspin, and I don’t think anyone looks at every blog the same way. That doesn’t mean they all are not great sites, it just means the expectations are different (as they should be).
In fact, I still don’t understand how people even read this site, and I’m completely okay with that. The best thing about the blogosphere is that it really is a meritocracy: if I suck, you don’t have to read a word I say. It really is a place where the reader makes the difference; no one would have any idea where to find us if they didn’t come looking, and we’re thankful that people try.
To tell you the truth, it doesn’t feel any different in the press box, either. Unless you’ve noticed something that I haven’t; I didn’t morph into an emotionless zombie since that Portland Pirates game back in February. Sure you’ll get an inverted pyramid game story every few days, but I don’t think I watch the game any differently. If there was any fear I carried going into this little experiment, that was it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no illusions of being a real journalist when I’m up there. I know what I’m there to do, and I know who the big boys are. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work; and I’m not getting in the way of that.
Still, what has happened in the past twelve months has been interesting to say the least. Leitch is a “real journalist,” Mirtle has turned SB Nation into an online hockey powerhouse, and Puck Daddy is shown every other night on CBC. Strangest of all, I have a stack of cardboard with my name on it, granting access to the places fans should never go.
I still don’t feel different, but I know that in a way things have changed. No matter how you splice it, I think it’s safe to say that this has been change for the better. We’ve come a long way, but I still think this is just the beginning.
Either way, it’s been a lot of fun.