Renewing The Passion

So last night I watched the All-Star Game and, to be honest, I wouldn’t waste more than a paragraph writing about this monstrosity. Just know that Hong-Chih Kuo — yes, the Hong-Chih Kuo — came in to pitch for the National League, chucked a routine throw halfway to San Diego, gave up the American League’s only run, and left after two-thirds of an inning. That’s an All-Star performance right there.

That was a paragraph, so let’s move on. I had no intention of talking about a game I really used to enjoy anyways.

No, what I’m really here to discuss is this website and how it will relate to you and me as we move forward into the future. Because things are changing. And I think it’s only fair that I let you know.

Let me start by saying that everyone who runs a free blog or website reaches a certain point where they lose the enjoyment of publishing and begins to think of their writing as more of a job. Some of you may know my friend Zach, who used to run a site entitled The Big Picture. For a one-man show, Zach’s site was a testament to hard work. It was well-produced, well-written, and featured a decent number of paid advertisements. And then, suddenly, Zach called it quits. Back in December, he printed his final post, calling his own creation a “chore.” He had reached the breaking point and it was time to venture elsewhere. He hasn’t looked back since. It’s been eight months now, and I’m sure Zach is off enjoying life as he fully intended.

The point is, doing something you love can turn into work if you don’t handle it the right way, and that’s what I’m trying very hard to avoid with Seattle Sportsnet. The fact is, I love to write. Absolutely love it. I’ve been writing for fun since I learned the alphabet. Writing is my passion, right up there with sports, and I wouldn’t be complete without it.

But at the same time, writing can become work if you don’t love what you’re writing. Despite my passion for composition, I certainly never enjoyed writing term papers in college, for example. So it’s not all about the game, necessarily, but perhaps the way you play it.

(And on a brief note, for a complete definition of the word “passion,” please see the photo attached to this article. That, to me, more than any other image in the history of photography, illustrates passion.)

For the past couple years I had a job that would have led me into the professional realm of writing. I enjoyed the job, loved the people I worked with, and honestly believed that I was going to be a career journalist at some point in my life. My personal talents (or lack thereof, depending on your opinion of me) notwithstanding, my opinion on writing as a profession began to change as I came to realize that doing something you love can very easily turn into work as soon as you start accepting a paycheck. I know that can be hard to fathom for some of you, but to me, writing is an art form, and art takes creativity which cannot be replicated at a moment’s notice. Anyone can write. Only some people can write with passion and fire behind their words. And that’s what I want to do. I want to write like I mean it, for an audience who wants to hear it. I want to enjoy it, and I want people to know that I enjoy it. I want the readers to enjoy reading it, and I want to inspire. I want to be inspired. I’m not here to go through the motions. I truly believe that greatness can be achieved when you put your heart into something. Anything. No matter what it is. And for me, writing is one of those things that I pour my heart into.

Just as you can fall in and out of love, you can lose your passion for any hobby, any job, or any activity you may be a part of. I don’t want to lose that passion for writing, and as a result I intend to write articles for this site that reflect more of who I am than ever before.

There used to be a point, back when I started this site, where every single article was geared towards an audience. Over time, that has shifted rather dramatically. More articles have begun to reflect my voice, to the point where I’m comfortable being myself, in words, around the thousands of people who visit these pages on a daily basis. As I have gotten to know my audience, my audience has gotten to know me. You know who I am. You know the things I enjoy. You know the people I associate with. You know who I’ve become. You know who I’m becoming.

I’m 25 years old. I have a full-time career now. Writing has taken a back seat to the rest of my life, but it’s never going to disappear. There are still so many nights when I come home, sit down, and have something I need to articulate in print. That said, the days of pumping out articles just to pump them out are behind me. I’m not going to touch on topics I can’t truly get excited about. Why do that? What’s the point? I’d rather give you an A-plus product on something else, than a C-minus effort for something that every mainstream media outlet is already discussing. I’m not here to replicate the news, and I don’t believe that’s ever been my intention. I would encourage anyone who wants a summary of the day’s sports news to subscribe to The Seattle Times. Seriously. I used to work for them, I know how good they are.

It’s funny, because when I started Seattle Sportsnet I did so with the intention of being this little niche blog with a small but loyal following. That’s more or less what this site has become, I suppose, but to give you full disclosure, there was a point in time in the middle there where I began to have larger aspirations. As those desires to branch out, become bigger, make more money off this thing, and get noticed became greater, the actual product began to suffer. My writing was secondary to operating the site, and my love for this wavered. In the past few months, I began to ponder quitting, shutting down the site, and relinquishing my $12-per-year domain name.

But then something changed. I liken it to the career arc that a number of musicians experience. You start small, playing in night clubs and bars. Then as you grow, you move to larger venues and begin to sell concert tickets and CDs. Over time you reach a point where you’ve gotten too big for your own good, you lose the passion, you lose the excitement, and then you experience the inevitable fall. At some point in that fall, you hit bottom, and then you pick yourself up and go back to doing what you love for you and no one else. It’s like every E! True Hollywood Story or VH1 Behind The Music ever. The rise and fall is parabolic, and it all has to do with separating work from enjoyment.

I enjoy doing this, and I don’t want it to become work. I can’t reiterate that enough. This whole production is a one-man operation, and it can be difficult at times. That said, for all the offers I’ve had from people to help me out, I don’t really want the assistance. No offense to any of you, but this is my baby. It’s like asking if you can help raise my child. As much as I’d appreciate the extra down time, I wouldn’t feel right turning this operation over to anyone else. This is my creation, my Frankenstein, and I intend to own it, to wear it like a fastball between the shoulder blades. With the good and the bad, I’ll deal.

I’ve had this site up and running for 20 months now. In that time, it seems like my life has gone through years and years of progressions. It’s funny how one little blog can change your entire existence, but that is basically what has happened to me. From the people I’ve met to the opportunities I’ve been afforded, I can’t say enough about the individuals who have supported me with their kindness because of these articles, if nothing else. Many of you have gone to great lengths to get to know me since I started this thing, and I truly appreciate that. We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if you didn’t care. Just the fact that people want to be associated with me because of my writing is humbling. It must mean I’m doing something right. I want to continue doing things the right way and never be forced to sacrifice my words for the good of someone or something else.

The one thing I’ve always tried to do is give you my genuine feelings on anything I write about. There is very little of that authenticity in any form of journalism — mainstream or otherwise — and I know that readers want that. They want to hear the person behind the letters, even if that goes against everything the journalism industry has always believed. It used to be that objectivity is what sold, and to a degree it still does. But with the rise of blogs and fan sites, there is an ever-increasing demand for truth and honesty. And that’s what I’m trying to convey. Even if it means I take my lumps every now and then as a result.

These pages have always been for you, the readers, the Seattle sports fans, since day one. Over time, they’ve become more for me, as well. They are my therapy, my safe haven, my solace. It’s a shared space that will constantly be renovated and never replicated. I enjoy this, and I hope you do, too.

Now go out and buy a Hong-Chih Kuo jersey or something. He is an All-Star, after all. The Korean Nolan Ryan, from what I hear…

4 thoughts on “Renewing The Passion”

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