Column: Don’t take this too seriously

Posted May 22, 2013

Column: Don’t take this too seriously
When I started the Armena Royals website in 2002, it was kind of a joke – an inside team thing with some funny, mostly made up stories, on some of the personalities that made up the team paired with dry humour and the odd game story that was meaningless to most.

The stats were simply a reference for us to bug each other and compete against one another but no one really paid attention too much. Our most talked-about feature was the “Quote of the Week,” whereby Buzzell would, unknowingly to the orator, quote them while warming up. Taking the quote totally out of context, of course, I would make them sound funny or look really bad depending on who it was. Some loved it, some hated it. Either way it was a shared experience.

As hard as it is to believe, in 1999 when I entered the league, there were no websites or place where standings were posted. Everyone eventually emailed or called the scores to one guy who after a couple weeks may send them out with some of the games not reported. The teams didn’t really seem to care what the standings were.

I found this really weird. At the time anyway.

Thus was the life until about 2003. A couple old guys in the league kind of liked what they saw on our team site. It had become the defacto place for updated standings and I took over doing the standings and tracking down every score while I was in university – here or abroad to email or call, and post on the website.

Did I ever mention how hard it was to track down hungover farmers and preachers, or riggers and teachers for scores?

Finally, in 2005 we pieced together a rudimentary site that had standings and scores with some poorly written articles. In February 2009 we added the blog to the PBL site after league president Larry Lewsaw thought it would be nice to have some comments and possibly controversy get people talking on and off the website.

For the past four years the site has remained relatively the same with some good, and not-so-good write-ups, but in my opinion, through community blogging basically, one of the best in terms of stories and people knowing what’s going on in the league. Two of the teams have amazing websites. All the teams are now active on Twitter.

What started out as a funny online thing to entertain the team and maybe some of the league and keep us up-to-date where we were in the standings a bit better, has turned into a full-fledged organic growth of online communications that is both good, but possibly dangerous this author wonders.

I did not create Twitter. I did not create the team websites, but I do feel somewhat responsible for creating the environment that has encouraged online banter that has led to where we are today. I guess we have to take the good with the bad. It’s part of the reason I don’t fret when people bash the site. We don’t want it looking tooooo good. But maybe we do now?

Would these channels all exist if it not for me? Likely. But I hope in today’s environment people understand this league and website isn’t something that should be taken too seriously. The Twitter accounts maybe depict it better most nights – some quite offensively – of how seriously or not serious we take the league.

Unfortunately if we take ourselves too seriously, we risk losing that identity that made the league so great to begin with – in my opinion of course. At the end of the day, it’s not championships or crushing your biggest rival that will give you the most joy – it’s enjoying baseball at its purest form without the constraints of city, job and politics that is thrown on us every day of our lives. For a few hours each Tuesday-Thursday balls and strikes, safe calls and outs, are pretty much all I think about. Maybe a beer or two, too.

If one doesn’t go our way, there’ll be another one that does.

Now I’m not saying I like losing. But when I update the standings it’s a bittersweet moment each late night, seeing teams fall or rise in the standings. On one thought I see how far our league has come in 15 short years. On the other hand I sometimes see how far the league has fallen when it comes to the pure enjoyment of getting out with local friends and foes from the next town over.

Hopefully I’ve got 15 more in me in some capacity. Here’s to us not taking each other, or the game, too seriously during the next decade and a half. It’s not in the PBL handbook. The unwritten handbook of course.

Posted on May 22, 2013 by Jason Buzzell

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