The position of sports columnist is an important one because like it or not (and like him/her or not), that person has the unique role of being the sports voice of the city. Yes, there are many voices today. You will find no shortage of opinions searching blogs, social media, and sports broadcasts. But there is a special importance placed on the opinions that are published on the front of the local sports page. And there’s a unique responsibility that goes along with that.
You can’t throw just anyone into a city and expect them to know, understand, and be able to communicate the complicated relationships between sports teams and fans. Sometimes, we don’t know what we think. Sometimes, we don’t know why we think it. And other times, we don’t understand the feelings we have or why we don’t have any feelings at all. The right person can help us sort all that out. Not by telling us what to think, but by giving us the right information so we can make up our minds in an informed way.
I learn a lot from reading other sports writers. And one person who I have enjoyed reading the most is CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel. He’s a great story teller, he connects with people, he’s passionate about sports, and it comes through in his writing. I never question where he stands on an issue. And he doesn’t shy away from engaging with readers.
And Doyel doesn’t just write about athletes. In fact, some of his best work is about regular people. Small town folks. Hoosiers. If you didn’t catch his story on Dugger, Indiana, read it. You’ll see what I mean.
The first time I ever heard about Gregg Doyel was years ago on 1070 The Fan. Dan Dakich was interviewing him on his show and I was struck by his energy, his honesty, and his humor. I started following him on twitter and reading his work and I’ve been a fan ever since.
So, imagine my surprise when I got on an update on my phone from the Indy Star Wednesday morning announcing Gregg Doyel as their new sports columnist. To be honest, I didn’t even think that was a possibility. But living in Cincinnati and covering Indianapolis teams on a semi-regular basis, Gregg Doyel was the perfect hire. He will have no problem stepping in and quite frankly, stepping up the game in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis has a lot to offer Doyel in sports. And Doyel has a bright stage to offer Indianapolis.
In the competitive world of sports journalism, the one thing that will keep readers coming back is a talented writer who can move them to think, feel, or change. By those standards, the Indianapolis Star just hired one of the best in the business.
Indianapolis deserves Gregg Doyel. And he deserves Indianapolis.