It is always best to turn the other cheek and focus on those who are keeping up to the lead pack. Smith's dreck about "Joe Fan Bloggers" need not even be rebutted. Is it too late to tell to Bucholtz? No? Dammit!
Instead, let me say "thank you." Thank you. This was a great year for the growth of cisblog.ca, and hopefully it will continue in 2010-11. Not to sound like a job applicant reciting her/his résumé to someone who's already read it, but we put ourselves out there this year.
Off-hand, travelling on a shoestring, we covered five CIS championships (both basketball, men's hockey, football and men's volleyball) and live-blogged the final of each one, which speaks to the dedication and abilities of our staff. People have come to respect our contribution, as an aggregator, as a place which provides analysis and commentary (and once in a blue moon, breaks news) and as somewhere where CIS diehards can have a conversation on their terms.
None of that would be possible without the support of readers, first and foremost. It also speaks to how our writers, based in five provinces, have invested themselves in this project, and Andrew B.'s and Rob Pettapiece's leadership style. It is reassuring to think this site has had, and will continue to have, some impact.
It has not been anything earth-shattering or revolutionary. One would not expect us to necessarily be on the radar screen of a guy who covers the NBA's Toronto Raptors full-time. I apologize that it took Smith's potshot straight out of 2006 to say thanks.
For those wondering, here is what Smith said.
" ... this The Score.com's 'Sports Federation' is walking a fine line. On one hand, The Score is trying to stay ahead of the game (the industry) by using new media and social media to expand their coverage of certain sports. On the other hand, they're giving their NAME - and what "The Score" stands for as one of the top all-sports networks in Canada - to a group of Joe Fan bloggers. Again, some of those bloggers are better and more 'professional' than others, but is their new-found credibility legit, and should it put them on the same level as those that are writing or broadcasting for TSN, Sportsnet, The FAN 590, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, National Post, or Toronto Star?"It doesn't put them on the same level, per se, but it puts them on some level.
Some would say Smith is a little late to the game. The Sports Fed. was created almost 18 months ago and was already tweaked by a better class of blogging journalist.
Some would also say that Smith should have done a little homework before making his gross generalization about "a group of Joe Fan bloggers." Perhaps there is some crossover between his boogieman "Joe Fan Blogger" and those "(who) are writing or broadcasting" for outlets such as the Toronto Sun.
Presumably, that would include the Ottawa Sun; check out its feature on Guelph Gryphons cross-country star Allan Brett, a Hillcrest High School graduate.
Speaking as a sinner saved by grace, yes, there was a little personal anger upon finding Smith's off-base rant. There's a little irony given that one of his colleagues, Paul Jones, played and coached in CIS basketball at York. There is a little more irony given Smith's forum for slamming "Joe Fan bloggers" was the official website of a team he purports to cover independently.
Let's not put the focus there. Instead, consider this an appreciation for how this site has evolved since (name drop ahead) James Mirtle of The Globe & Mail put it together in August 2007. Thanks again, everybody.