When I first ventured into the blogosphere nearly a decade ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were several Boston Celtics’ sites active. Better yet, more than one of them offered interesting information, analysis, and writing quality. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was until a relative asked about sites for the team in his home town. I passed along a reference from one of my Celtics’ sites and turned to the internet to retrieve what I assumed were several more. Actually no, there was one other but it was pretty dismal. That seemed odd so I looked around for several other teams. That is when I became aware that while I had a half dozen choices, and multiple good ones, supporters of other teams were lucky if they had one reasonably satisfactory web site to satiate their lust for reading material and discourse.
Dateline: September 1, 2012––29 days until the start of training camp!
Fast forward to the present and now most fans of other teams have several blog sites featuring their team but are still lucky to have one good one. The Celtics’ community–it now numbers in the dozens and there are at least a handful that offer not only news and discourse but well written articles and insightful analysis. I, for one, am humbly grateful for both the level of activity and quality in my chosen area of fanaticism.
This past month I wrote rather critically of the sad quality of too much of the prose spewed out on the web. Today I would like to offer some kudos to some of what I believe are among the best blogs on the internet, and some of the best sports writing period. While the quality of these sources certainly benefits from a comparison to the sad decay of the traditional sports media, I feel they stand a cut above in their own right.
We who view the world through green-tinted lenses, all owe a debt of gratitude to a lass in Florida who consistently enriches our lives. Here on the last day of August, diving into the Labor Day weekend, in the midst of the deadest time of the professional basketball year, shining through the deluge of the start of both the NFL and college football seasons along with the baseball pennant-race homestretches, my heroine, FLCeltsFan provides us 43 url’s in her Daily Links to slake our unquenchable thirst for Celtics-related stories. In addition to digging out nuggets to report on her own excellent Celtics Green Blog, each day she spends what has to be hours digging out every possible posting with any reference to a Celtics’ player, coach, front office member, owner, wife, girlfriend, pet, sighting, rumor, “warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse” or even vaguely green tinge to the air. Without the tireless efforts of FLCeltsFan, we would all be much less knowledgeable (although perhaps slightly more productive—shhhh, your boss or my wife might hear). When she finds time to write an analysis piece, it is sure to be insightful, and occasionally totally unexpected.
In the world of Celtics’ blogs the elephant in the room is Celtics Blog. It is probably a true measure of just how personally driven the fans of the Green are for there to be so many other sites considering how voluminous are the CB sources, stories, and followers. I’m not privy to such circles but I suspect that Jeff Clark is rather a rock star in the blogosphere. His blog is doing a lot of things right and has built a well-deserved fan base. For any blog the quality of contributions is the most critical thing and in addition to Jeff, there are a number of excellent writers; also, the salary cap analysis of Roy Hobbs is a stunning asset.
Now my interests run toward analysis and less toward video clips, and more toward the meaning of developments rather than just the news; so perhaps consider my bias in the following recommendations. Blogs I try never to miss include CelticsTitleTown, RedsArmy, and CelticsTown. LexNihilNovi is always good for a trip down memory lane but I prefer it when he wanders into the present. To my mind the best blogs stir the little grey cells. When I see a good blogger’s take on some information about which I have done my own thinking already, it is almost like a good conversation where you learn as much or more from how the ideas bounce off another person. The differences seem to reveal the good stuff.
There is an interesting dynamic to sports blogs. I suspect most of them start with an individual driven to find his/her voice. Most one-man sites represent an almost Herculean effort and it is a rare individual who can stay both productive and fresh as a lone wolf. More successful seems to be collaborations with two or more individuals, ideally with somewhat different voices and points of view. Then you get to see the multidimensional feedback of seeing the ideas bouncing back and forth off several backboards.
There is a built-in trap here, however. In the rush to expand, or lighten the load, or diversify the appeal, there is always the danger of diluting the product, maybe even poisoning the well. I’m going to violate my mama’s sage advice here. I became aware of NESN some time ago. I found several articles that introduced some good ideas. I checked it regularly. Unfortunately I found that I was so frequently angered to have used my valuable, to me, time reading absolute pap, that I have not even opened one of their pieces in over a year.
Which brings me to the motivation for today’s article. I looked at one of those multiple page lists this morning (it always torques me to have to load a bunch of pages with perhaps a worthwhile sentence or two on each load) when I found myself actually reading on just to see if the person was going to say anything I could possibly disagree with more than what I just read. This exercise in self-flagellation actually inspired me—rather like when I hear “Sonny’s” music start up when my wife watches her soap opera, and interrupt whatever I am doing to go close the door. I won’t identify the site, but I offer this excerpt for your review:
“Or his departure could’ve hurt the team by destroying the mythic nature of the Big Three. If Allen’s exit means the partnership is over, maybe Pierce and KG will return to what made them stars in the first place, getting theirs. They’ve both had loads of experience as the lone superstar on their team, roles they, along with Allen, agreed to dispose of for the sake of team.
As good as Garnett played last season, the cynic has to wonder how much of that had to do with his being in a contract year.”
That’s just wrong on so many levels. I felt rather like when I went into a college professor’s office to query why I had gotten a D in his course. I told him that I had a 92 average going into the final and thought I had done well on that test. He responded, “Yes, you made a 95. I should have given you an F. You had more than 5 unexcused absences.” I responded that if he could say that, then we really didn’t have a framework of understanding to have a discussion.
I left then, and let’s just leave it at—his article made me consider how much I appreciate the good work done on so many sites that allow me to follow my favorite team.
Boston, and all points beyond