Friday, November 7, 2008
Sean Ingle: Sports Personality of the Year
Preamble: Last week, I wrote a well-received (if factually inaccurate) profile on Barry Glendenning. After posting it up on the Football Weekly blog, many posters (well, I think two altogether) suggested I do a profile on a FW personality each week. Inspired by the challenge, I agreed, and this week I chose to profile Sean Ingle. While researching Mr. Ingle's work, I discovered he's running a competition for amateur Sport Bloggers, and this week's topic is "Sports Personality of the Year," so, when opportunity knocks...here is my submission. Even though its about as likely to make it to the top three as Aston Villa, I'm a believer in the Audacity of Hope.
Oh yes, there are the athletes, the indispensable stars of the show. There are the managers, the masterminds who tinker with formations, playbooks and the hopes and dreams of millions of fans. There are the agents, the television personalities, the retired pub owners, the insane supporters, the WAGs, the tea vendors, the steroid-dealers, the All-Americans, the disgraced heroes, and everyone else in between.
These are the players, and sport merely the stage.
But without a Shakespeare to tell the story, we would only hear the slap of the puck, the crack of the cricket bat, the soft thud of Steven Gerrard's crumpled body hitting the grass in the six-yard box, the crunching sound of Peter Crouch enjoying his nachos. Sound without fury.
I say without a hint of hyperbole that sport's Shakespeare is Sean Ingle, the man who plays many parts, and he is my nomination for sports personality of the year. Because, let's face it: without his Guardian Sport Blog, we would still be stuck mining through the Five Live message boards for signs of coherence. Sean's willingness to gamble this past year, whether on a new website design, more journalist interaction, new and interesting features, fresh writers with an international outlook, or Manchester City beating Portsmouth away, means we all win big. The award-winning Guardian re-vamped website is better than ever, and this contest stands as proof.
Is naming the chief editor and overseer of Big Blogger Sports Personality of the Year completely and utterly transparent? Maybe, but I'm not a cynic. And neither is Sean Ingle. Why else would he continually reach out to his unwashed readers with competitions like these? Or change the blog comments feature on the sport blog for some reason? Or use Hawk-Eye technology to comfort cricket nerds everywhere?
Ingle is also a spinner of memes (ask him what that means). His story of Peter Crouch's harassment of a fast-food chain employee quickly spread through the Intertubes, and is apparently repeated ad nauseam on an American soccer radio show. His minute-by-minute football reports are unique in that they do not repeatedly insult/patronize reader emails. And the man can write! When he's not hunting down the killer stories, he's busy defending his constant tinkering with the Sport Blog.
Journalists are all too often sport's misunderstood messengers -- just ask Joe Kinnear. So we could pick a Lewis Hamilton, a Brett Favre, a Joey Barton. But would we even know their names had their stories not been exploited to generate unique visitors and advertiser revenue? For that, we must thank Sean Ingle.