It wasn’t just me.
The former Sports Illustrated writer and now book author has his own site. He took exception to Jason Whitlock’s “Please give a Pulitzer” column and Rob Parker’s introductory piece at The Shadow League.
I read two columns from sports writers that made me question their perspectives. The first, by Jason Whitlock, was a piece for (oddly) Ball State’s student newspaper. Jason’s an alum of the school, and the article was, I guess, his argument for why he deserves the Pulitzer Prize. The second, by Rob Parker, appeared on the website, The Shadow League, for which he now writes. It was, following his embarrassingly public dismissal from ESPN.com for making some insanely dumb comments about RGIII, an effort for us (the readers) to learn about, eh, Rob Parker.
Back when I was 22, and writing for The Tennessean, I presumed readers cared about me. I inserted myself in as many pieces as possible because—Hey!–look at me! I’m interesting! And fascinating! And, surely, my life will rivet you! So let me tell you why I’m a great writer! Why life as a Jewish man in the South is so tough! Why my transition from New York to Dixie has been so rocky! Let! Me! Tell! You! All! About! Me!
Some of the best writing I’ve ever done has come over the past 10 years, when I’ve been—for 98 percent of the time—invisible. I live in my own little Starbucks/Panera/Cosi cave, anonymous to the world, and write my happy books. I drink a cup of hot chocolate, slip on some baggy basketball shorts and a ripped T-shirt and write away. Notoriety matters not. Fame matters not. I get recognized, on average, two times a year. For a moment, it’s flattering. Then, just as quickly, it’s awkward. I don’t want that.
The greatest writers I’ve known revel in documenting the lives of others. Steve Rushin, the finest wordsmith I’ve worked with, never hyped himself for an award and, I promise you, never will. Neither did Jack McCallum. Or Jon Wertheim. Or Chris Ballard. Or Phil Taylor. Or Chuck Culpepper. Or Howard Bryant. Or Jonathan Eig. Or Leigh Montville. Or Mark Kriegel. Or Lee Jenkins. The best writers long to be invisible; to appear simply as a byline atop a story. Can anyone reading this imagine Joe Posnanski penning a piece titled ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF? Can anyone reading this imagine Kriegel calling himself Pulitzer worthy?
Of course, Whitlock had to retort, via Twitter:
WhitlockJason Damn, this is quite possibly the most dishonest thing ever written.