I officially became a published writer on October 11, 2011 when my article recapping the Detroit Lions’ victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football posted on the website Cold, Hard Football Facts. In my head I was always a writer but even in the internet age when instant publishing became the norm for thousands, I hadn’t come to the point of taking the step of writing for publication.
It wasn’t until I was out of work for the first time in over 13 years in a very unfriendly job market that opportunity knocked me as silly as Frank Gifford felt after being annihilated by Chuck Bednarik.
I was reading the latest articles on the Cold, Hard Football Facts site when one of the headers caught my attention. They were looking for fans who would be interested in covering their favorite teams as beat writers. Each would contribute a game preview and recap article for publication each week using the site’s Quality Stats as the basis for analysis.
I was, and still am, a long-time fan of the Chicago Bears (no, I will not tell you how long-time). I not only followed them on the field but consumed every scrap of information I could find about the team’s history. That passion to learn the game quickly extended to other areas from the intricacies of its play to the history of all of professional football and it’s teams.
I had nothing to show my ability as a writer except the copy I had produced as part of my responsibilities in my previous job along with the email I sent expressing my interest in being a part of the team. Kerry Byrne, founder and publisher of Cold, Hard Football Facts, took a chance on me anyway and for that I’ll always be grateful.
The catch was that he already had a writer covering the Bears beat, but he needed someone to write about the then 4-0 Detroit Lions. Their next game, which would be the basis for my debut article, was their first appearance on Monday Night Football in a decade…against the Chicago Bears.
My postgame recap article (How About Them Lions? 5 Things We Learned) picked up over 1,000 page views and I was hooked. The following week the Bears beat opened up which I jumped at, but with the Lions playing at a level Detroit hadn’t seen for a decade I continued to write previews and recaps for their games as well.
Later in the season I also began contributing to the Football Nation site. I published close to 300 articles for CHFF and Football Nation but unfortunately, those articles disappeared when the parent company for the sites deleted the archive where they were held.
There is only one reason why I would ever leave writing behind me for other pursuits. If I ever look at my work and believe I’ve made it. That I’ve achieved a mix of style, rhythm and language use that I could in no way improve upon. In other words, I’ll never stop writing.