Thursday, February 11, 2010

A New Project Is In The Works And You Could Be A Part Of It

It's been a momentous week here at ARWSMDAS, and no, not just because we're busy celebrating the fourth anniversary of one of the most hilarious political episodes of our time -- though I do hope that I, one day, can have enough power that I can put someone in mortal danger and have them apologize to me.

No, it's been a big week because Bert and I headed down to Philadelphia on Monday for the Devils-Flyers game at Wachovia, where, in addition to finding out that we're both apparently gay, I was able to cross the Flyers off my list. The Devils blew a two-goal lead to their hated rivals, which was frustrating, but I did manage to get some good fodder and Bert and I were able to sit in the fourth row behind the Devils bench until the people who actually owned the seats showed up in the second period.

Why you would wait until the second period to show up when you've spent $200 on each ticket I can't say, but I won't judge.

In any event, there are just 91 teams left and I will have a story on the trip up as soon as I've written it, though that, um, could be a while. But surely you'll all still be on the lookout for it... right?

The other big story is that I'm considering a new side project. As I told Bert during the drive down, when I was 10 years old or so, I decided to write letters to every team in the NFL -- at the time there were only 30 -- just to see what I got back. I was particularly shameless in asking for anything free and autographs of star players, but I was a ten year old. Who was going to hold it against me?

I have all of my responses in a box somewhere and I need to go to my house in New Jersey to dig it up, but I did get a litany of media guides, newsletters, invitations to team-specific kids clubs and schedule magnets. I remember the Jets, in particular, being awfully giving. As far as autographs go, some teams require you to go through the player himself, which I did, in many cases make the steps to do, also shamelessly. The only two I remember receiving were from former Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Warren and Bills and Packers receiver Don Beebe, who despite being a very solid No. 2 receiver for most of his career, is probably best remembered for making Leon Lett look like a total fool when he prematurely celebrated a touchdown in Super Bowl XXVII.

Don Beebe's response I personally cherish mostly because he sent his autograph to me in a hand addressed envelope which had my name as the return address and no stamp. I know Beebe wasn't a superstar, but I feel like he could have afforded what was, I believe at the time, the 32-cent stamp on his salary.

The best part? The autograph was on a pamphlet that Beebe is on the cover of about following the light of Jesus. I feel like there was a disconnect there.

In any event, after discussing this with Bert on the long car ride, I decided that 15 years later, it might be an interesting idea to do the whole project over again to see what teams are sending out now. In fact, I may do it every 10 years or so just to see what changes. Only this time, rather than just the NFL, I think I might write to every team in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

Bert wants it to be abundantly clear that he initially came up with the idea to re-do the process, but until he starts paying for postage he gets no credit.

The results may not be as exciting as this morning's Bruins-Lightning Preview, but I think it would be very interesting to see what materials I get back and I will post them up here as they come along. The only catch is that since I work in the industry, I don't think I should use my actual name, particularly since I have worked with some people who may be in charge of handling the letters.

This is where you all come in. I want this blog to have a relationship with its readers and I want some feedback from the readers. As well, I want you all to feel like you're participating in the journey. So, for this particular project, I would like submissions for what I should say to teams and, in particular, what pseudonym I should be using.

Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail with ideas.

Lastly, and on a note of personal pride, this week's story on my early exposure to the NHL and my fandom for the New Jersey Devils has drawn enough visitors to put me over the 1,000-hit mark. I know 1,000 hits isn't a particularly huge milestone, but since I just started this a month ago, I think it's a pretty good start.

With any luck this project will continue to grow and the next 1,000 will come even quicker.

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