Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stumbling towards the slippery slope

Today I face a day of new challenges. Today is a day that I can honestly say I never saw coming. Today just might be beyond my capabilities. Heck, I'm sure to embarrass myself one way or another.
Real Madrid is in town. They will be holding an open practice tonight and playing Toronto FC in a friendly tomorrow. I will attend both events, not as a ticket buyer or a season seat holder, but as a member of the media. For the next few days anything I write about Toronto FC or Real Madrid will be posted on my blog "Starting from Scratch"and I will use this blog to share the story behind those stories.
There are some who read this blog who know me. There are some readers who do not. Unlike some fine bloggers, I do not have a background in journalism. I am an elementary school teacher. I am not young. I saw the Blizzard play. I saw Liam Brady play at Highbury. (I wonder if he is available to play as a winger for TFC for the rest of the season?)
When TFC was formed I decided to give blogging a try. It was all the rage at the time and I have a background in computers (education), so why not ? I did not know that I would stick with it and enjoy it. The blog has become something that seems a natural part of my sports fan experience. I do not look on at as my grab at fame or feel that I offer anything that unique. I pride myself on neither bashing away at the team constantly nor defending the TFC/MLSE status quo blindly. I am happy to be just a voice from the stands.
How did I get here?
In June there was a response to one of my TFC game posts asking if I would be interested in blogging for They are an international blogging conglomerate, Euro based and their existing EPL bloggers seem to have a good attitude. I am honestly flattered that they wanted me blogging and that they are interested in increasing their role in North American soccer and MLS. I answered them that I would give it a try, but I did not want to give up "Mistake by the Lake" for my game reports and any big news. So I suggested that I write a weekly blog on the Toronto FC season for this and they agreed. I have every intention of promoting this new blog and linking my two blogs, but I did spend most of July in England and Ireland and feel that I have needed a bit of time to get back into the swing of things. Also the fact that Toronto's record since my return to Canada has been two ties and two losses has been a negative motivation.
When the opportunity to buy my season tickets for the Real Madrid friendly came up, we declined. My wife wisely pointed out that due to the costs of our England/Ireland summer jaunt, it would be best to let this big event be one summer treat avoided. I later noticed that the friendly was being presented by I emailed to see if they could help me see the game and they have responded with unexpected generosity. By offering to be their blogging correspondent I have become quasi-media.
On to the slippery slope
I know that journalism requires detachment and being a fan of a team requires devotion and more than a healthy level of obsession. I am curious about media and I am thrilled that I will have short term access beyond my dreams, but I will miss sitting in my seats Friday night. I am not good with meeting people, it takes me time to battle my walls of shyness. I am prone to being starstruck and speechless when meeting celebrities, so don't expect in-depth interviews. I am hoping for a combination of "fly on the wall" and "lost in the shuffle". I hope to avoid being so bad that I start to cry, but don't want things to go so well that I am prevented from returning to Section 220 for the next TFC home game versus DC United. So stay tuned for the journey.

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