The Story of Sideline Shindig
By Marissa Blackman
In Kindergarten, I learned how to read and write, and that knowledge has been fueling two of my passions ever since. At first, it was just reading. I couldn't get enough of it. I loved books! I started off reading children's books like Rainbow Fish and Junie B. Jones. By second grade, I was up to the fourth installment of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate events.
I've always loved reading, but the older I got the less it satisfied me. I wanted to control the story myself. That's when I started writing, and I started doing a whole lot of it. On those rare occasions when I clean my room, my attention is often diverted from the task at hand because I find some silly story I wrote years ago.
I was simultaneously developing another passion-soccer. I played on a team when I was in second grade, and throughout my childhood, I attended several of my local team’s matches. I liked soccer then, but I didn't really get into it until my preteen years.
The Internet makes everything exponentially more accessible, so it really enhanced my love for reading, writing, and soccer. The Internet allowed me to follow teams beyond my town. I could follow teams all over the country and all over the globe. The Internet also gave me much more reading material and a place to share my writing with others. I was following soccer like an ultra and writing like I was getting paid for it, so my writing eventually dabbled into the subject of soccer.
During long summer's, with nothing to do, I wrote countless pieces about current events and my views on the beautiful game. By then, I really badly wanted to share my work with people who actually knew what I was writing about. My family lovingly read everything I wrote, but they had no idea who I was referring to when they saw names like Messi and Ibrahimovic. Eventually, I found a few websites that allowed me to post my writing, but I wasn't getting the readers I so desired. I was also reading lots of soccer writing then, and I decided to ask one of my favorite writers, Brooks Peck of Dirty Tackle, for help.
I contacted him via Twitter:
@BrooksDT Where's a good place for a fledgling soccer writer to post their work?
@trynafindaname I got my start on World Cup Blog but I'm not sure what would be equivalent to that now.
@BrooksDT thanks!!! I've been looking around at different blogs. I just wanted to get the opinion of someone like you who's done it already.
@trynafindaname any place you can build an audience will do. Good luck!
Two months later, I got the opportunity to take his advice. School was out that day, and I was very bored. I was browsing through Twitter when an intriguing retweet from my beloved local club caught my eye. There was a blog looking for a writer to cover my home team. I got in touch with the editor of the blog. He had big plans, and I wanted to be a part of them. All I had to do was send him a few samples of my writing. All those seemingly useless articles I'd written suddenly became very useful. To avoid needless details, he welcomed me to the team. At that time the season hadn't started yet. I did a couple articles on preseason happenings. I began following the other blog contributors on Twitter.
As the beginning of the season drew closer, my editor sent us all an email. That's when it got real. He told us that we are a team. He told us about all of his goals for the blog. And...He told each of us to get in contact with our respective teams and obtain press passes. He actually wanted me to interview the players! Although that news was very exciting, it was also terrifying because I'm extremely shy.
Again, let’s fast forward through needless details. The season is now long over, and it truly was an amazing one. It could be simply because I was paying closer attention then ever, but last season truly was an eventful one for my team. I savored every second of it, and I loved writing about it.
I conquered the nerves, and was actually able to conduct interviews. Was I good at it? Truly I can’t say (I was too nervous to even know what I was saying most of the time!), but I do know that one season of blogging has really made me grow. I’m just a little bit less shy now, and those interviews have given me the confidence to try for even bigger interviews. (I don’t want to speak too soon, but you should keep on checking this blog, because I MIGHT have a really big interview coming in these next few months.) I’m also a much better writer. I’ve even done a little bit of networking with other bloggers.
But enough about me! This is the story of Sideline Shindig. Sideline Shindig began at the most appropriate time for a soccer blog.
It was during the World Cup Final right around the time Bastian Schweinsteiger suffered that awful eye injury. At the beginning of the game, I had all intentions to write about the game. I had a pen and paper ready, and I was taking notes.
During the halftime commercial break, I decided to make my own blog. I started writing down plans, and doing research. I contacted a few of my blogger friends, and the rest is really history
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