[cb_profit_poster Beer1]Clinton, S.C., Sunday, December 22, 2013, 2 p.m.
It’s raining outside. The Saints-Panthers game is frozen on my TV because this is what happens on DirecTV when fierce thunderstorms hit.
What I won’t do to make sure I can see each and every Boston Red Sox game for three quarters of the year. Which I took advantage of a great deal this year. In 2011-12? Not so much. Then again, it wasn’t so bad because I had other things to occupy me, and I was traveling a lot. I’ve got plenty of things to occupy me now, but they don’t involve packing suitcases and dragging them around nearly as much.
If the Red Sox stink next year, I might well be miserable. That’s the way it works for sports fans.
The game is back. The Saints have pulled ahead, 6-0, while the game was off the TV literally and the radar screen figuratively.
I’ve become a Panthers fan. I wasn’t always. It was strictly cold-blooded.
Back in the 1990s, I occasionally wrote columns at Panthers games when NASCAR didn’t occupy me. Then I stopped as a matter of principle because the paper always wanted me to help out with the NFL but didn’t provide me any when the races were run at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
If the Panthers were good, they got the coverage. Racing got crowded to the bottom of the sports front. If the Panthers were bad, racing moved right up top. Hence, things were better for me when things were worse for the local NFL team.
In 2011, I relented, in part because I had some interest in Cam Newton, and in part because times were getting tougher at both the paper and papers in general. All of us started wearing more hats. It started to seem as if the website and social media were more important than the actual paper, perhaps because printing it required paper.
I gave it my best effort. I learned how to blog and tweet. I studied all the new-fangled masterpieces of journalism. Occasionally, I got chided for writing above the heads of readers. When Twitter came along, it really moved full circle.
For the first time in my career, I started hearing, “Well, we won’t get the race in the paper, but don’t worry. It’ll be on the website.”
So I started videoing and blogging and tweeting and retweeting and posting and sharing and God knows how many other things that, at first, seemed alien to my being.
When they asked, “Hey, you want to write some columns at Panther games?” I said, “How soon you want me to be there?”
It did no good. When the Grim Reaper showed up, I got no media timeout.
Here’s my advice to the journalists who must emerge from this wreckage: Being a team player means nothing. When the time comes, it’ll only be seen as a sign of weakness.
I really like the Panthers now. I just don’t have much way of showing it.