While this is not the last column of this go around for the Write Team, it is the second to last and as such, I wanted to give a plug for you to join the Write Team.
I think it was in college that I developed my love for writing. We had to do a term paper for the book, “The Chosen,” by Chiam Potek. (In college, they call them “term papers” instead of book reports.)
I wrote my paper in such a way my professor, who also was chairwoman of the English Department, found particularly entertaining. So much so that it was published in the college alumni magazine under humor. Yes, leave it to me to put a funny spin on a story about religious discrimination between two Jewish sects in New York.
But it was the advice given to me by that wonderful professor that will always stick with me. Keep in mind, back in those days, we still wrote term papers on IBM manual “Selectric” typewriters and, unless you had the really nice model, you had to use “Wite-Out” to correct your mistakes.
“Don’t worry about the mechanics, concentrate on style,” she told me.
What I find with writing is that whatever I write about, I almost immediately care more about the subject matter. Subjects I had never given a second thought to were now meatier.
Perhaps the best example I can convey is the slow metamorphosis that has transpired in the direct connection to writing about baseball and developing a better appreciation of the sport.
Several years ago, I submitted a variety of musings to a national sports website on my utter disdain for the national pastime. They began as emails, moved to short quips and, eventually, into editorials. After the second scathing attack, they asked me if I would write about baseball from a nonfan’s standpoint. They encouraged me to put my venom to good use and be entertaining at the same time.
So, about 10 years ago, when my Write Team term ended, I began submitting articles here and there about the ugly side of baseball. I was encouraged to visit a ballpark once in a while and breathe in the atmosphere and ambiance that comes with a major league game. So I did.
Slowly, over time, I began to study the intricacies of the knuckle ball. I knew exactly when the pitcher put a little cheddar on it and when a butterfingered fielder dropped a can of corn. Gradually, baseball became less hideous, less boring and less old mannish. It was actually fun.
As if to hit a point home, so to speak, I was writing a column, sitting with my laptop at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, watching the Rangers beat the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader. Kevin Millwood allowed one run off of three hits. Prior to that, I couldn’t have named a single Rangers player.
Here’s my point: The more I’ve written about baseball, the more I’ve learned about the game and, ultimately, developed a respect, and yes, even love for the game.
So write this one up to experience, and take my advice: Join the Write Team and begin your love affair with something new. It will be like turning on a light.
- EDITOR’S NOTE: Write Team applications are due Friday, Oct. 29. To apply, email a short bio about yourself, your city of residence, and why you like to write, and one or two sample columns (500 to 550 words). Also include ideas for future columns, to email@example.com
• Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the past 26 years and a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is in insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.