In one of my first posts on this new blog site I wrote that my best writing originates in a feeling of closeness to the person I really am. I recalled that post when I read this morning’s headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sportswriters, generally speaking, seem to me chronic second guessers, pretending to greater expertise than they have. But today’s headline, and the accompanying article, was a refreshing departure from that pose. Instead of appealing to disgruntled fans, it suprisingly argued that despite yesterday’s Eagles’ loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Eagles had good reason to be proud of their season.
That atypical genuineness reminded me of the quite different kind of writing I once did for my high school newspaper, The Citadel. It was, as I recall, a brief report on the most recent event of the school’s running team–an imitation of the tediously factual writing I had seen in the local newspaper. Since I was wild about sports as a kid (less so now), I wanted to test out the possibility of some day becoming a sports writer. But typically for my age, that ambition soon changed, and I dropped the experiment, perhaps too quickly.
But when I saw this morning’s headline about the Eagles, I was reminded of my later discovery that writing was about much more than satisfying a selected class of readers. When their writing succeeds, it can tell writers what they deep down feel about subjects like winning and losing. They may find, for example, that taking pride in oneself is truly more important to them than the momentary thrill of victory.
Note: The Citadel was the student newspaper of the Jesuit school pictured here: Canisius High School in my hometown of Buffalo, New York.