Generally speaking, sports writing sucks.

How often do you read something about sports and think that it’s stupid or else accept its many flaws because, well, it’s sports writing? Now, compare that to the number of times you’ve read something about sports, and it altered your perspective or confirmed something that you felt, but couldn’t necessarily express? The latter happens so rarely that what should be the rule has become the exception.

For many years, sports writers have gotten away with sloppy articles and poorly formed opinions because most of their readers consider sports to be a diversion, and until recently, only the sports writers themselves could provide their audience with the framework necessary to make that distraction function. Casual interest and controlled context combined to form an indolent system of tainted information proclamation that resulted in the proliferation of stupidity and hokum, rather than reason and consideration.

… and then, the internet.

Technological advances have conspired to not only shine a light on the biased context provided to sports fans in the past, but also transform the relationship between sports fans and athletic spectacles. Audiences are being given ever-increasing amounts of information, which has produced an increased accessibility to areas beyond what’s happening on the field or court or rink. This has resulted in a loss of authority for the sports writer and a closer relationship to sports for its fans.

But instead of adapting to the new rules of engagement, sports writers have largely defended their previously held positions through nostalgia or the highlighting of nonsense that’s even worse than their own, which admittedly, has also come along as a regrettable by-product of increased access and information.

Like a forgotten hominid species creeping toward extinction, those who lack the skills or willingness to adjust face the most futile of struggles. Work that negligently depends on fictional narratives, intangible characteristics and all of the other imaginary little crutches has grown far less convincing during this evolution. Through the availability of increased access in other mediums, the collective faith in the sports writer’s expertise has diminished, and given way to a transformation in our own vicarious relationship to sports. As newly formed experts in our own right, our curiosity to learn more has become enhanced.

We’re no longer content to merely use our favorite team or athlete on game day as a vessel for living out our own fantasies. Our interest has stretched to reach beyond the action of gameplay and into multiple areas associated with sports, from business matters to media coverage, and from social elements to political implications. The modern sports fan questions it all, and uses sports not just as a distraction from the mundane, but also as a form of art that causes reflection and urges us to improve.

It’s my hope that Fanatico becomes a destination to satisfy this relatively recent curiosity.  It’s an ambitious goal, but we plan to accomplish it by providing commentary and criticism that doesn’t skimp on context or ignore issues that challenge the principles that we generally accept to be true.  We’ll give our opinions and we’ll support what we believe with evidence, while also affording every opportunity to reasonable arguments that counter our own.

We want to offer an alternative to sports writing that has too often either congratulated itself for its ignorance (“I don’t use the Tweeter.”) or dismissed the unknown as unworthy of attention before giving it any whatsoever (“I don’t understand it. Therefore, it’s scary and stupid.”).

However, before I lead us all in the chorus of a Les Misérables song parody, it should be mentioned that we don’t want to lose our sense of humor, either. While our intention is to formulate opinions and inspire discussion on important matters, we recognize that for all that sport is capable of doing and being, and for all of my lofty and pretentious comparisons to art, it remains a game that is played.

We’ll make fun of that. We’ll also make fun of ourselves. We’ll have weekly features summarizing long reads and reviewing media coverage. We’ll have book club events and interviews with athletes and other members of the sports-industrial complex. We’ll comprise monthly top one hundred lists on a myriad of subjects. We’ll watch horrible sporting events on purpose and we’ll write about it. We’ll write about sports that don’t get a lot of attention, and we’ll write about athletes that do.

But above all else, we’ll be thoughtful and entertaining. We want to be fair and honest about our perspective, and we want to engage yours. We really don’t want to suck.

You can follow Fanatico on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments (32)

  1. Sign me up. Godspeed, Fanatico!

  2. This should be fun. Good luck boys.

  3. Best of luck, should be entertaining tow watch at the very least.

  4. At first when I saw the Fanatico banner, I thought Dustin had become a new member of The Gorillaz.

    Animated Parkes playing the alto saxaphone would be fun to watch.

  5. Looking forward to this.

  6. I like this. Looking forward to reading more.

  7. I’m in. Parkes is a boss.

  8. Colour me intrigued. Good luck Dustin!

  9. Sold! I’m down.

  10. Good on The Score to give you the platform. Looking forward to it!

  11. Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the support, especially in the early going. I’m going to work myself silly to make the most of this opportunity.

  12. banner is nice at least

  13. I’m really looking forward to this. Based on the people involved and the platform it’s on, it’s most definitely not going to suck.

  14. Good luck Parkes.
    While we may disagree on some things,I wish nothing but success for you and the new venture.

    • You’re always including that blasted caveat whenever you’re ‘talking nice’.

      • Because there is a history,rather focus on that and to make sure nothing gets misconstrude, I include it.
        You can take it or leave it. Or twist the context of verbiage any way you want. That’s your choice.
        Still wish Parkes all the best.

  15. Sounds great – good luck!

  16. Good luck, look forward to reading

  17. Good luck, looking forward to this.

    You may get stabbed in the head
    with a dagger or sword.
    You may be burned to death
    or skinned alive or worse.
    But when they torture you,
    you will not feel you need to run,
    For though you die, La Resistance lives on.

  18. Looking forward to reading more of your articles, as always.

  19. Word.

    And more of them, specially from you.

  20. One sport you need to cover – hurling.
    Here’s a brief intro: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2011/04/the_craziest_men_in_sports.html
    Come to Ireland and sit in Croke Park with 80,000 fans. Nothing like it.

    • I watched a hurling match a few years ago with this Irish girl I knew. She was from Clare County, and her local team was in the semi-finals or something. Unreal. The penalties are lethal.

      • That’s “County Clare” dum-dum, not the other way around. Been there, done that. And yeah, hurling is weapons grade massive over there, common on the Queen streetcar here.

      • Brilliant – look forward to your take on Kilkenny as the greatest hurling team ever. Shirling has to be a close second to hurling! If I’m not mistaken there’s at least a couple of (hurling) teams in Toronto – not sure what the standard is though.

  21. Fuck yeah! Can’t wait!

  22. All the best Parkes! I love your writing so I will be following along!

  23. I feel like you’re on to something here, but it’s all in the execution. Good luck.

  24. Who is Dustin Parkes? Someone who already works at the score? You should go head to head with Pizzola on gambling spreads. Winner buys chicken wings. Then, when the wings are in the fridge at the score, you should have an over-under to see how long it takes until cam gets them.

    Good luck mate…as long as you have honest opinions and don’t slag anything related to Rogers or Bell properties, you should be fine

    Broncos -9.5. Lock it

  25. Generally speaking, sports writing sucks.

  26. Hey, congratulations. Is the thinking this site will follow the general structure of grantland?

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