Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There’s nothing wrong with going nowhere but we should be going nowhere fast

Your homework between now and whenever I post again: Watch the criminally underrated, should-have-been-an-'80s-classic Streets of Fire. Three words: Teenaged Diane Lane!

A pair of familiar and friendly faces welcomed me as I walked into Bogart’s, err, Chrebet’s, err, Bar Social June 23 for the NBA Draft party hosted by Mo Cassara and his staff. I shook hands, slapped shoulders and exchanged inside jokes with loyal readers HUSID80 and Jojogunne, both of whom had the same question:

“Is the blog done?”

I can’t blame them for asking—at the time, the only update I’d made since my April Fools’ Day post was a quick Q&A with Patrick Stevens previewing the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament—and wondering if I’d gone the way of Beanie Babies, the Macarena and the idea people could get paid to write on the Internet. But even though I knew the blog wasn’t done (whoops—spoiler alert!), the question created an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach and guilt in my conscience.

I already felt bad about neglecting the blog since the end of the season. I was disappointed with the inconsistency of the posts during the 2010-11 season, having had a job all year for the first time since I started Defiantly Dutch in August 2008, but figured I would finally try to use this off-season to get into a good routine and prepare myself for next year. I had some good ideas on chronicling (get it?) Charles Jenkins’ preparation for the draft along with the usual analysis and half-baked ideas I specialize in around here.

Except—and you might not know this judging by my rather active Twitter feed, more on that shortly—I have been swamped at work. I mean, SWAMPED. My boss would be the first to admit she doesn’t know the first thing about basketball, but I’d swear she waited until the final buzzer sounded in UConn’s win over Butler in the national championship game to engage in some corporate reshuffling (translation: someone got fired) and entrust me with more responsibilities. That’s a good thing, because I get to contribute once again to the nitty gritty of adult life such as paying bills and buying groceries, but it has come at the price of the blog.

I also have a regular freelance sportswriting gig that takes up a couple hours each day, so while it’s easy to plan to compile some DD posts come the weekend, by the time Friday afternoon arrives I just want to go out to dinner with my wife, sprawl out in the recliner and curse/cheer over the fate of my fantasy baseball team.

Plus, as much as I’d like to, I usually can’t just whip up a blog post. A 500-word post turns into 1,000 words or more in no time flat (you know, like now). This is just something I spend a lot of time on, I can’t help that.

Still, I feel bad that I haven’t followed in the footsteps of Mike Litos and Brian Mull and posted once or twice a week with the latest bits and bytes. I can’t say I feel bad about not following the day-to-day grind of recruiting, because I’ve never liked writing about recruiting and I never will and I’ll never try to bluff you and do a half-assed job of covering it. I admire those who do a good job with it and have established contacts on a challenging beat, and am glad to retweet the likes of Adam Zagoria of SNY and Zach Braziller of the New York Post who are the best at what they do.

Still, while my general rule of thumb is I’ll write about a guy once he’s actually enrolled for the fall semester—an instinct proven correct by the Malik Nichols saga—I wish I could have been a bit better about posting about the signing of highly touted BCS transfers Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Taran Buie, if only to fire back and take potshots at the handful of clueless Mason donks who don’t own a mirror and who are still under the delusion that so many of the players recruited by Jim Larranaga were of the high or even low character variety. Oh, wait, look at that, mission accomplished!

(And speaking of Larranaga and his gloriously awesome departure to a retirement community in south Florida, I have a rant that is three-quarters finished, but I can’t decide if posting it would make me look like a stark raving psychopath or not. I mean, even a bigger stark raving psychopath than usual.)

I hate that anyone sees my Twitter feed, where I rant about just about everything except Hofstra sports, and thinks I’ve ditched the blog. Twitter is a great way to blow off some steam during otherwise monotonous days and nights of work and I enjoy the interaction with people. But I haven’t forgotten that, despite all the occasionally R-rated ramblings about baseball and Scrubs and heaven only knows what else, the Twitter account name is still defiantlydutch.

I’d also hate to think that anyone sees the blog inactivity and thinks of me as some unabashed fanboy (well, OK, that part is true) who thought it would be cool to write a blog and then quit when it got too hard and I found out that not everyone can be a writer. I’ve been doing this a long-ass time—more than half my life. If it was up to me, I’d still be getting paid for it, but if that was the case, I probably wouldn’t be doing Defiantly Dutch.

And while I am disappointed every single day that I’m not covering baseball, and miss it more than just about anything, the truth is DD is a simpler and purer form of fun and that Cassara and, before him, Tom Pecora are far nicer to deal with than certain executives who work in one of Cassara’s old zip codes. Plus, with this post, I have officially presided over Defiantly Dutch longer than I went to Hofstra, which is pretty wild and something I take seriously.

So, you know, this is a pretty good deal, even if it’s not optimal and even if I have to spend many more hours on real world grunt work and even if doing DD requires I develop the time management skills that have eluded me for 37 years and change.

Ironically, in that it’s just pure coincidence, I wrote this as Bob Seger’s “Against The Wind” popped up on XM. My good friend Gary Moore already wrote about the struggles of running against the wind and writing a blog, so I won’t tread the same ground here except to say the line “deadlines and commitments, what to leave in, what to leave out” has never rang so true.

I may have to leave in less Defiantly Dutch during the off-season, but the only thing that would drive me from here is a full-time paying job in sports journHAHAHAHAHAH I almost wrote that with a straight face. But seriously, I’m not going anywhere unless someone pays me to write about sports full-time.

I’m sure the urgency of the start of the season (three months from Friday, but who’s counting?) will bring with it a sudden ability to find enough hours in the day to do everything, even if it means spending less time than I would like putting together posts. But until then, I’ll do my best to post here sporadically. There’s a lot to chew on, both looking back and looking ahead, and hopefully I can get to most of it.

I’ve already had a nice sit-down with new assistant coach Patrick Sellers and I’ll have a story about him soon. And I spent two hours at Hofstra Friday making copies of Flying Dutchmen year-end statistics dating back to 1972-73, and it would be a crime against humanity if I failed to find several blog posts out of that treasure trove of geeky information.

So while we may be going nowhere lately, don’t worry, we’re going nowhere fast. Hang on for the ride—whenever I start the Blue Beetle, that is.

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