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Posts Tagged ‘rant and rave’

doo

I’m not wearing pants in this photo. If I had a “real” job, I’d have to wear pants.

Everything about Coupeville Sports is irrational.

If I was being rational, I wouldn’t have thrown a hissy fit when the Coupeville Examiner sold itself to the same Canadian newspaper conglomerate that already owned the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record and stomped off to start this blog in August, 2012.

Of course, when years of my freelance stories (many of which were never paid for) got deleted in a single keystroke, it was fairly easy to feel all pissy and self-righteous.

If I was being rational, I would have accepted one of the overtures I have received since then, and taken my writing skills back inside the conventional newspaper industry.

But once you get a taste of freedom, with its double-exclamation point headlines, you can’t go back. Or, at least, I doubt I could.

While Coupeville Sports has never made me rich (focusing on a small town in the middle of nowhere apparently is not catnip to national advertisers), I have gotten far more enjoyment out of the last 43 months than I did out of the previous 15 years of freelance writing.

Now, for the first 33 months of this blog, I balanced it with a “real” job at Christopher’s on Whidbey, which helped pay the bills.

Last May I decided to take some time off, mainly to help my fingers, which are kinda, sorta important to writing.

Dish-washing and onion peeling are brutal on the hands, and, while owner Andreas Wurzrainer was exceedingly helpful when it came to juggling schedules so I could cover sports, three-plus years in the pit was more than enough.

Having never been without a “real” job for longer than 2-3 weeks since I was a pre-teen (my dad enjoyed having his children work for his window washing/carpet cleaning business), taking what I thought would be a month or two off seemed quite exciting.

Then, things happened, my personal life imploded (I’ll spare you the details) and I developed a serious resistance to plunging back into the “real” job world, something that has only intensified in the months that followed.

So, I doubled down on Coupeville Sports, greatly expanding my coverage, both in terms of what I covered in person and how in-depth I’ve gone.

I sold all my DVDs (2,500+), radically reduced my bills (rent, propane, internet and car insurance on “The Beast That Will Not Die” is all I have), finally got an EBT card and have managed to stay one (small) step ahead for almost 10 months now.

During that time, I have been a regular at middle school games, hitched rides with people to cover stuff on the road, written a billion (give or take one or two) birthday articles and gone extensively into local sports history in a way not done before.

With all due respect to the local newspapers, and my mentors like Jim Waller and Keven Graves, I offer something they don’t have the time, patience or desire to do.

They have to juggle two towns, they face deadlines, they have to be more professional, than I do. Comes with the job.

They are the dad sitting in the easy chair, reading the paper and occasionally looking over it to tell you what’s going on in the world. And don’t get me wrong, they are very good at what they do, and they fill an important role.

I have no desire to see the newspapers go away.

But me?

I’m the little kid who has crawled up to the top of the fence, and then, as I’m rocking back and forth, trying not to crack open my head, bellows “Hey, hey, hey, guess what I heard?!?!?!?”

I’m the gossip guy, the builder of myths, the nickname-giver, the idiot who is entertaining himself (and hopefully a few others).

Still tick off some people (especially if they live in South Whidbey and are softball fans), but hopefully have mellowed a bit. But just a bit.

In the end, all my writing, all the photos, all the hyperventilating hyperbole is meant to do one thing — to make all the other towns, and their athletes and coaches, jealous.

If they lived in Coupeville, they’d be immortalized.

But they live in Darrington, or Seattle, or, God help them, the wilds of South Whidbey, and they’re lucky to get one story a year.

We may not have as many championships as other towns, but we’re damn sure going to be the kings and queens of story-telling.

When our kids, the kids you raised and the kids I wrote about, graduate and move on, they will be able to look back and say “I was part of something special, something that hadn’t happened before.”

At least I’d like to think so.

But then, I’m an unemployed idiot, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, maybe.

And now we get to the point of all of this (’bout freakin’ time…) ranting and raving.

As we sit here in the middle of March, I have hit the wall.

Even with my sparse bills (did I mention I don’t waste money on cigarettes, booze or Netflix?), I either need to get some help or I will need to return to the “real” working world before the month is done.

Either way, Coupeville Sports is not going anywhere. And I will never charge you to read my stories like the newspapers do.

But, if I go back to “real” work, coverage will change.

Birthday stories and a lot of the deep history stories will most likely have to be cut. I won’t have the time.

Covering events in person, which allows me to be much more creative than merely writing off of emails from coaches (with the exception of David and Amy King, who spin beautiful stories while riding school buses), could be greatly affected, depending on the time constraints of a real job.

I would prefer to remain a “shiftless bum,” with writing my main priority.

If you want to help, there are three ways.

Donations, either one-time or monthly, are greatly appreciated. There is a handy button on the top right of this blog, I have a mailbox (165 Sherman, Coupeville, WA 98239) or you can slip something in my pocket at a game.

Not your wadded up candy wrapper, maybe, but you get the point.

I also sell ads (they go down the right side of the blog) for $100, and, once purchased, are good for the life of the blog.

Yes, yes, yes, selling them once raises less money than repeatedly charging people (I know how advertising works), but it’s how I started and it wouldn’t be fair to those who supported me in the beginning to change the rules now.

Irrational, maybe. Loyal, definitely.

The third option is to have me write stuff for your business, like I do with places such as Ashley’s Design and The Pacific NorthWest Art School.

Typically I charge $30 for an article per month (topic of your choosing) or, if you sign up for a year and hand me $300, I’ll give you two free months.

Heck, I’ll write the Christmas letter you send to family, if you like. Make lil’ Johnny and Sally sound like superstars!

Coupeville Sports, in all its irrational glory, has always been what we all make of it. And that will always hold true.

We’ll keep moving forward, and see where this wacky ride ends up going.

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Freedom of the press, true freedom, is worth fighting for.

Freedom of the press, true freedom, is worth fighting for.

We are at war.

There is no two ways about it. You can sugarcoat it, but facts are facts.

On one side sits giant media conglomerates that want you to pay for each and every morsel of info they are willing to dole out to you.

On the other, the few idiots willing to raise two middle fingers and use them to point, while screaming, “Free news for all!”

I believe in a free press, a truly free press.

The world has changed. The internet has opened things wide open.

Knowledge is power and no one should be prevented from soaking up as much knowledge as possible.

Here at Coupeville Sports, we don’t nickel and dime you.

We don’t offer a few stories for free, then slap a pay wall down and insist you pay for the rest.

We don’t have annoying pop-up ads you have to click through.

The giant, wheezing media conglomerates among us, however, the interlopers who have descended into our waters and plucked up the once-independent newspapers, want you to pay and pay again, for articles that come late or not at all.

I say no thanks.

So I offer my stories completely free. If you want to donate to the cause, good on you. If you don’t, read away and then never think about it again.

Your choice.

So, it’s in that spirit I offer the following tip, which I picked up recently.

If you’re using Firefox, Chrome or Safari and find yourself on a newspaper web site that tries to throw up a pay wall on you, try this little trick. You’d be surprised how often it works.

Right click.

Click on Inspect Element.

Hover over the element and delete the nodes that are highlighted.

Read away.

Power to the people. Freedom of the press, free for all!

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The jobs will be waiting. Let them play now and build memories.

 The jobs will be waiting. Let them play now and build memories. (Collage created from John Fisken photos)

Jobs suck.

With rare exception, they are a necessary evil, something you have to do to survive in the adult world where bill-collectors expect you to pay for stuff like rent and electricity.

There are some of us, a very few, who find a job that is truly something we enjoy.

Being paid to watch movies for 15 years as a video store manager wasn’t terribly burdensome, I will admit, but then people had to go and screw up a good thing by deciding to virtually eliminate the entire industry.

Thanks. Thanks a whole freakin’ lot, you hosers.

But anyway, I understand the purpose of jobs, the necessity of them. We all have to give in sooner or later.

What does bother me is when parents decide that their high school children must go get a job at a time when it prevents them from being able to participate in sports or theater or other school activities.

Every family is different. Some families have a legitimate need for every person in the house to be bringing in money.

I have lived that, I understand that.

But when there is a choice, I think consideration should be paid to looking at the broad picture.

Everyone eventually works, and it goes on for the rest of your life. The time frame to play a sport is a limited one, however.

I would argue that the life lessons they would pick up on the softball field or the football gridiron, riding a bus to a basketball game in a faraway town or running sprints are just as important, sometimes more so, than the lesson that yes, you will have to have a job.

Sports force you to adapt, to work with others, to accept defeat while always working for victory. It sits you down next to people you may not like and, since you are wearing the same jersey, it makes you find common ground with them.

It teaches you that those in authority — the refs, in this case — can be fair or they can be incredibly biased and short-sighted, and you will have to deal with it.

In short, it teaches you everything you will need to know … about having a job. But if also gives you life-long memories of the type you’re not going to find tending the drive-thru at Taco Bell.

Years from now, Julia Myers will remember the night she hit a free throw with 9.9 seconds to play, lifting the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball team to its first playoff win in a very, very long time and sending her classmates in the stands swarming the floor afterwards.

Her teammates who were jumping up and down, screaming in joy as their hard work paid off, will always remember that night. Her friends, her family, her fans, will remember that night.

The kid who could have been on that court, on that bench, in that uniform, but who spent the night toiling for minimum wage somewhere because their parent felt it was necessary to prepare them for future life — they’re not going to give a crap five minutes after they left work, much less five months or five years down the road, whether those customers enjoyed their Whoppers or whether a dish that will be re-cleaned every three hours for eternity (or until it gets mercifully broken) came out of the dishwasher spotless that night.

Giving your children the chance to build memories, to learn lessons, to be part of something bigger than themselves, is huge.

If you can make that choice, it should be an easy one.

Let your children play while they have the chance. The jobs will still be there, waiting for them, the rest of their lives.

And, having let them play, they will be far better prepared to handle them.

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