Sunday, March 03, 2013

#258: An Official Farewell to this Blog

---So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye---

This post probably only comes as a surprise only in that it exists.

I have not posted here in about 9 months, and there are several reasons for it.

1) I think I've sincerely lost my passion for sports.

I still watch from time to time, but, aside from the Super Bowl, it's not appointment viewing anymore. I even elected to pass on watching some Steeler games this season in favor of chilling on the Playstation 3. There was a time that -- if I didn't genuinely have to be somewhere for some function or other -- a Steeler game was not to be missed.

Perhaps this is because since returning to Pennsylvania (from a six-year stay in the Chicago area), I have seen the Black and Gold bring home two Lombardi Trophies and nearly win a third. I was 2 years old when the 70s Steelers won their fourth. Now I know what it's like to have seen a champion. And the same applies to the Penguins. The Lemieux/Jagr teams, while they won when I was a teenager, weren't really on my radar. And the Pirates...well, we will never see a winning season, let alone a championship, so long as the Nutting family holds the reins.

In essence, I don't remember what it was like to feel as I did when I started this blog on July 1, 2006.

2) Continuous loss of respect for the sports talk field.

This applies to talk radio in general, really. As time goes on, and I tune in from time to time, it continues to become increasingly and needlessly confrontational. Grown men acting like schoolboys (both hosts and callers), and, apparently, grown men acting like schoolboys who can't help but listen - much like watching a schoolyard fight (instead of saying, "Grow up," and moving on).

Some of the better episodes of my short-lived shows had differences of opinion, but there was a civility to them. I also didn't need to create controversy - the controversy came about on its own.

Sports is not life and death. Differences of opinion in sports are not worth getting blood pressure up. Sports is supposed to be entertaining. I refuse to enter fights constantly over nothing. If that's what it takes to be a successful radio talk show host, I guess I don't really want any part of it. Some folks, though, seem to enjoy when they broil under the collar. That can't be natural. Or healthy.

3) Time in general.

Since this blog's inception in 2006, I've always been gainfully employed. And employed by multiple folks at once. I'm working at my 4th radio station in the Pittsburgh market, but have also been an inventory clerk, a CareerLink representative, and a play-by-play/color analyst for MSA Sports (I'm still with MSA - in fact, I just called the New Castle WPIAL Championship victory over Hampton with Lanny Frattare last night).

I used to find this blog to be a way to unwind, to vent, or even to pass time if one of my radio shifts dragged on. Now, it feels cumbersome. It always feels like I could be doing something else (and, for the last 9 months, I clearly have been).

I suppose it's all connected, though: If I am less enthused about sports, then I'm watching less of them. If I'm watching less sports, it stands to reason that I'll have fewer opinions, and hence, no real subject matter.

Still, if you're one of the few that have stopped by over the last 6.5 years on a semi-regular basis, you've no doubt noticed that all the subject matter seems to repeat itself here.

1) The Pirates will not win under Nutting ownership, so an analysis is really moot. Don't go to games, don't go to Seven Springs, yadda yadda yadda...

2) Shots on Goal differential is perhaps the strongest indicator as to who has the inside track in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially when you throw goalie save percentage into the equation.

3) The Steelers need to protect Ben Roethlisberger with a stout offensive line if they're going to truly compete for another Super Bowl.

I think I've covered everything that I really ever talked about, especially the last two or three years.

4) Lack of feedback.

This one is more than a little selfish in nature, but I thrive off feedback. Positive, always. Negative if it's constructive. If it's just a "your a moron" (misuse of "your" intended), it's pretty easy to ignore.

Still, there have been a total of 164 comments left on this blog. A few were by me in response to another post, and a few were written by the same well-meaning fan under different identities to give the illusion that the blog was growing in popularity so that I would keep at it.

I understand that if a blog is not regularly updated, it pretty much gets ignored, so I didn't do myself any favors. When I was posting at least once a week for over the two years I was posting my weekly show and still never gained any steam, I ran out of fuel. I suppose the upside is that the "your a moron" posts were also non-existent.

I don't want to make it seem like I'm putting the onus on the readers; that's not it at all. If there's nothing to say or add or whatever, then so be it. Or, if you didn't have anything nice to say, you didn't (also appreciated).

It may be just a further reflection that there is no real future for non-confrontational sports talk. Some might think, "Well, duh, it's boring." Could very well be, but I refuse to be part of the problem.


So, what's next for "Steeltown Mike?"

It's difficult to say. If I could predict the future, I'd be rich. To say nothing of being able to perfectly predict the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year without resorting to convoluted statistical formulas.

This page will remain here, on the chance that the passion to update it regularly returns. If so, I envision Post #259 will be titled, "Resurrection." Or, maybe some high school kid will use it as source material for a paper on "how not to write a sports blog."

In the meantime, I hope to engage in other pursuits that I've put off too often.

In addition to doing radio and the like, once upon a time I was also active in community theater. And I have been honored to have appeared in four local Pittsburgh commercials (one for "Blush" gentleman's club, and three for the Pittsburgh Power Arena Football Team in the 2012 season). Maybe I'll turn up in some more.

I also hope to launch a home-based voice-over business - the website for which I already own but, as of this post, have yet to design. If it goes live, I'll try to remember to update my blogger profile with the web address so that any stalkers can see what I'm up to. But the little pictures next to the title of this post...well, you're the first folks to see that business' logo.

No matter the future, rest assured that I will be around. Somewhere.

So, in closing out this blog (or, at least what I perceive is my final post), I would like to thank Emma and Karri, who were my biggest fans (among those whom I didn't already know personally). I'd also like to thank the 40,000 or so sets of eyes that have joined me at one point or another of this journey.

Peace and good fortune to you all.

And "Go, Pittsburgh!"

~Steeltown Mike