Things got a tad rancorous here on the DBJ blog of late, as well as in the Columbus Blue Jackets Twitter world in general, so I figure now is as good a time as any to share a few navel-gazing thoughts about this blog.
I started this blog because I enjoy the Columbus Blue Jackets and the National Hockey League. I spend a lot of time reading and sharing ideas - both online and in-person - about them. I thought it would be a fun way to share my thoughts with others.
The obvious question arises: Why do it? Why be a Blue Jackets fan to the point that you write a blog about them? It's simple, to me: The Blue Jackets 2009 playoff run. Those two games in Columbus, despite being losses, were pure magic to this sports fan. I was in the arena for game four of that series with Detroit and have never experienced a sporting event like that. I've been to BCS bowl games, a Super Bowl, a MLB All-Star game, more top-tier college football games than I can count, NCAA hoops tournament games and assorted big NFL regular season and playoff games - but I've never witnessed the kind of raw, positive emotion and electricity that was in the crowd at Nationwide Arena. I would so love to be a part of it again. And so I blog in the hopes that someday this community can experience the playoff magic once again. It was that wonderful. I had such a great time!
Along the way, this little blog has grown from literally nothing in September 2009 to over 16,000 page views in February 2011 (the blog just had its highest traffic month ever - again). Sometime in the last couple of weeks, it crossed the 100,000 total page view threshold. And I think that it's become what it has because I, and my fellow writers like Gallos, enjoy writing for it. And you enjoy reading it - or at least I hope you do, because life is too short to sit around reading blogs that you dislike.
At the end of the day, this blog is about fun. It's about enjoying the world of hockey and the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's been about the fun that I've had going to games with friends old and new, about the insane fun that I have when taking my toddler son to an open practice only to chase him around the place, about the fun of cheering for wins and the fun of hoping for sweet revenge when things don't go our way. Sure, now is not necessarily a "fun" time in the ten-year history of the franchise...but there's always hope that things will turn around. Right, Cubs fans? (right?)
As such, I've aggressively and deliberately avoided putting myself or my blog in a position where it is NOT fun to do this. Since the end of last season, I have turned down four opportunities to affiliate with or write for some of the online hockey world's leading sites and publications - largely because I felt that the obligations of writing for someone else would keep it from being fun. When I was told at CannonFest that the CBJ doesn't want to give media credentials to blogs (meaning that I can't sit in the press box and be all stone-faced), I wondered, "Why would I want that?" I mean...having to temper my thoughts and words in exchange for access to the locker room and press conferences (not to mention the obligation to actually be inside Nationwide Arena so much, a huge challenge with a little guy in my care) does not sound fun to me.
So when Gallos or I let off a little primal scream on the blog, it's all in fun and because we care about our subject matter. When I float silly game operations ideas or do an extended riff on Full Mental Jackets' brilliant "Drinks on Goal" post, it's because I'm having fun. When I helped organize and then write about CannonFest, it's because the idea sounded like fun. If I decide to do a player-by-player training camp breakdown, or a daily playoff run update, it's because I find it fun to do. (In the case of "Games that matter," it really did start out as fun...really, it did!)
This is a blog. I do not find the word "blog" to be an offensive word. A blog, to me, is a chronicle of the thoughts and feelings that I and my fellow writers have about the subject matter at hand - in this case, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the NHL, the sport of hockey and the things that intersect with them. It's not a team publicity organ. It's not a news website. It's not a newspaper nor is it a broadcast media outlet, and I'm not a professional reporter.
I want this blog to have personality, to be interesting. I don't care about being "the authority." I just share what I see and think...and hopefully have fun with it (which is increasingly hard as the CBJ season slips away - but you gotta admit that the Hansen video the other day was funny).
If you want to engage in the fun of being a Blue Jackets fan, stick around. And even should the season go dark, I'll still try to find some fun amidst any disappointment. And, if it ever stops being fun, I'll stop.
So please relax and enjoy. Because, in the end, it's just a game. And games should be fun.