Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trapped in a Box and Getting Out

What do you do when a passion defines who you are? What do you do when that passion ends up defining another passion? The beauty of having so many things you care about is because they require something different of you. But what happens if they start to define you instead of the other way around. This is what I realized last week and what I shared with a friend Sunday.

I've loved sports all my life. I know a lot about sports more than the average fan but in the last five years, I've meshed my book/1st-hand knowledge of the game with the more technical aspects as well as learning what it means to be a fan. I love the fact that I watch Sportscenter and talk sports with several folks on a daily basis.

I'm proud of the fact that I've been a sportswriter for four years (as of this month). Yet I don't want to just be defined as one because sports is only a part of who I am.

Writing is also another one of passion. It's my great outlet and perhaps the most creative passion of mine. I love my words and the fun of playing with this language to make my points. Yet the reason I enjoy it is because there's no restrictions or labels I place on myself. It's freedom to the max.

So why do I feel walls closing in? Why do I think that my blogs are being defined by one topic above others?

I don't want to be pigeonholed as a sportswriter because I'm a well-read guy who stays informed on way more than sports. You've read my blogs enough to know that in this space I can write about history, politics, music, race and many issues of the day. Sports is my main forte but it's only one weapon in my mental arsenal.

Case in point, I applied to this website that could possibly help my blog reach a bigger audience. When they asked for a category for my blog, I had no idea. It's not sports, music, politics or any one category. I had to choose lifestyle because it sounded the most general. Turns out I didn't get accepted because I didn't fit their classifications or something.

See for a while, I wondered if I should make my blog more focused on 1 thing so I could market it better. But now, I realized that it wouldn't be me if I'm just a sportswriter. One look at my Twitter can tell you that.

Now I see why so many people struggle with labels. Labels can be flattering and empowering, but they can be restrictive because transcending them can be a struggle. Being a sportswriter is great but just being known as a great writer is even better. I'm not afraid of writing about only sports but if I seem especially thrilled to promote my non-sports posts, you know why.

It reminds me of that song "Get Free" by The Vines a while ago. The song sounds like total freedom and the repeating chorus of "I'm gonna get free" is almost like the mantra I'm feeling about this. I don't want to be restricted and I'm gonna fight against it.

One of my inspirations, William Blake, said that "I must create my own world or be enslaved by another man's" - that's the purpose of this blog. I don't want to do a sports/music blog only, this is my world and I'm no longer scared of the variety because being limited is a much bigger fear.

That's why last week felt so good doing 3 music blogs. Just to show people that hey, I do write more than just sports. I realize that people probably are drawn more into those and my personal stuff than just sports but at the same time, nobody will dictate what gets written here. Society dictates by what goes on but it's still my space, my thoughts and how I see things.


  1. I felt the same way when a friend/colleague/very smart individual told me to narrow down my focus. I was initially writing about everything, but I decided to focus on entrepreneurship. Finding that to be a little too narrow for my varying tastes, I ended up sticking with "Redefining Success" as my overarching theme.

    What ideas do you have so far in "categorizing" your blog? Sports is too narrow; lifestyle is too vague.

  2. I dont know what to call it except it's just the thoughts of one man living life and recording what I see think. This is actually the prelude to a big announcement I'm making on here that I think fits the theme of what I want.

    Glad you can relate to what I'm saying. At some point, you realize that unless you want to write about something in particular, there's something missing in denying that side to come out. I never wanted it to be a sports blog and taking inspiration from a 18th century writer + James Baldwin kinda ruled that out.

  3. back in the day - people used to be all kinds of things scientist, philosopher, pastor, lawyer, politician, - people had many occupations

  4. The Greek called it Arete. A well-rounded individual. Leonardo Da Vinci was more than a painter/sculptor. Same with Michaelangelo, Thomas Jefferson