Let me preface this article by saying that I am well aware of the heavy criticism that this will most surely draw. In fact that is the point of this article in the first place.
I have been coming to this website for some time now but I just recently decided to become an active participant. Prior to this I would visit this site to read the stories on the main page and generally stayed away from "fan" comments with the exception of Der Jaeger and his outstanding reads.
I wrote my first couple of fanposts over the weekend and now I can't stop reading the other fanposts and comments that follow each one. I feel like an addict, sometimes I just keep refreshing whatever page I'm on in the hopes that there will be a new comment to read. It is in reading all of these comments and thoughts that prompted me to ask the question in the title to myself.
I have always felt that I am one of the "smart" fans. The type of fan who could have an intelligent and objective discussion with people who do this for a living and hold my own. This is the approach that I took when I began writing my posts and for the most part I believed I accomplished what I set out to acheive. However, it was upon reading the comments to each of my posts that I realized that I had in fact failed in that objective.
I am a fan in every sense of the word. My family had season tickets from 1983-2006 and I attended a majority of those games. My "formidable" high school years coincided with the Super Bowl run of the early 90's thus cementing my love for the team. I lived in Chicago between 2008-2012 and had DirecTV installed in my "man cave" just so I could have the ability to watch my team in the comfort of my own home (mind you I already had cable throughout the rest of the house, my wife just LOVED having TWO cable bills :P). Upon moving back to the Buffalo area last spring one of the first things I did was get season tickets! I think you all get the idea.
With all that said I have realized that I am incapable of being truly objective in regards to my team. I may think I am but deep down the "fan" in me will always rear it's ugly head and I think that is true for just about everyone who shares in this type of fanaticism. The proof is in the definition of the word itself;
The key words here are "uncritical" and "obsessive enthusiasm". Now, before all you "critics" out there jump on me for using the term "uncritical" let me explain what I mean. We read all kinds of commentary criticizing the team, the front office and the players but that criticism is rooted almost solely in your fanaticism. This is what seperates someone from being a "columnist" and a "journalist". A columnist is someone who writes a commentary that uses their own personal opinions with MAYBE some facts sprinkled in as support. A journallist is someone who comprises facts and research when presenting their subject matter with little to no opinion factored into the piece.
The problem that I see and the reason I wrote this long and probably boring post in the first place was because I always thought I was taking a "journalist" approach to my writing when in reality I was actually a "columnist". This realization applies to almost, and I stress ALMOST, everyone on this site. We all present our opinions, some supported by fact some not, and then we vehemently defend our position and attack others. I understand that this is the basis for sites like this in the first place but I think that we all need to look in the mirror from time to time, you might be surprised by what you see.
I apologize for the rant, it's been a long day and I needed to vent! :)