Note: This is a rare indulgence. A post about my experience writing for the site last year, my goals for Husky Haul in the 2013 season, and some beginning of the season emotional sports fan story time. I promise the next post will be more specifically about sports.
I came on as editor here at almost exactly this same time last year. I had zero experience running a site and pretty minimal experience writing about sports. I could pull out the “trial by fire” sports cliche, but at times it was more “thrown to the wolves” than anything.
Now it has been a year, and I like to to think I’m a little less green this time around. But looking back on my first year, I realize that I suffered from a bit of a crisis of identity. I wrote because I was a fan, but I wrote like I wasn’t. In an effort to emulate the professionals, I pretty much stripped my writing of personality and passion.
Don’t get me wrong, I have never hidden the fact that I’m a Husky. After all, I’m a student at the school. It’s pretty blatant. But the one thing I did not want to be considered was a homer. I wanted to remain as close to objective as possible in my writing about football and basketball. As I put it to friends wondering why I had predicted a UW loss: even if I wanted the Huskies to win every game, I wasn’t going to pick them to win every game.
Oh man, how that offended the sensibilities of a minority of Washington fans. To put up a post picking the Huskies to falter? Heresy. And never was that made more clear to me than after Washington triumphed over Stanford despite my prediction to the contrary.
And even though I knew it was silly, I was annoyed by the comments on twitter and on the site acting as if I had been some sort of fair weather fan or that I had wanted the Cardinal to win. I thought to myself: they didn’t realize that when the clock ran out and the score read 17-13 Washington, I was hopping over the rail of the CenturyLink player’s tunnel to join the on-field knot of celebration. Or that several hours before that, on a bus chartered by the UW to funnel students over to SoDo, in the midst of self-turmoil over my prediction, I had leaned over to a friend and said “Oh god, I better be wrong.”
But the thing is, if they didn’t know that, it’s because I didn’t tell them. Keeping my fandom as far away from my writing as possible, I dissected the victory in my post game piece like any other writer covering the team. I left out the roar, the every man for himself mad-scramble onto the field, the unadulterated joy stuck to the faces of the players like masks as they were mobbed by black and purple.
Now it’s a new season, and I plan on changing that. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be running around on twitter mocking opposing fans or picking the Huskies to win every game by 50. But I will be focusing on writing what I actually want to write rather than what I think I should write, and I think it will be a lot more interesting for you as readers.
In fact, I think Husky Haul in general is going to be more interesting for you as readers. The site has gotten an off season facelift and the staff is stronger than it has ever been in my time here. Evan, who ran the site while I was in Europe during the Spring, is contributing several times a week, with guys like Paul Somerstein, Jackson Safon, Erik Erickson, and now newcomer Eric Nelson writing as well. After a long off season, we’re primed and ready to go.
And all of this will start this Saturday, August 31st. Regardless of all that we’ve written (and are still writing) in the weeks leading up to the game, our new year’s day is the season opener. I suspect most of you reading this feel the same way.