Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

If you've been reading this blog for awhile (or even if you haven't), you probably are aware that I receive mail from the readers of the column.

I never expect people to agree with what I have to say each week -- in fact, I'm surprised that some of them do -- but often I will write something that will get under a reader's skin. So much so, that they feel the need to take some time out of their Sunday (or Monday...or Tuesday) to fire me off an email.


I make a legitimate effort to answer every piece of mail I receive. Sometimes it turns into quite the task. I do this for several reasons: 1) They took the time to write and I feel I at least owe them some type of a response; 2) They're usually surprised to death to discover that I actually respond (their surprise is directly proportionate to the amount of insults they hurl) and 3) I'm a woman. I like to get the last word in.

Anyway, I thought I would offer up some tips to those who get pissed, fire off an email looking to feel better about themselves, only to find themselves in a battle of wits without a weapon. Here you go.

1) Use quotes. I hate to cut and paste, and I can't stand to see it done, but it's the only way to be sure of what the other person is saying. So often I receive emails, and they've paraphrased what they think I've said. Quote, and then make your point.

2) Be succinct. For God's sakes, this is so important. I don't have time to sort through blithering missives that begin with an argument about the Argos that somehow morphs into insulting the Senators. (Not kidding -- I received one like this yesterday.) Which leads us to No. 3...

3) Stay on topic. Guess what? This isn't about you. It's about me, and what I wrote. If your beef with John Muckler is really eating at you, or if you hate this city in general, save it until I write about it. If I write about the Lynx, may I suggest that you bite your tongue for the meantime.

4) Don't read between the lines. I've proven that I possess enough bravery to say what I feel. I won't hide it. Don't go looking for it, because it isn't there.

5) Check for grammatical and spelling errors before you send. My opinion of a reader that doesn't do this drops about ten stories as soon as I see a blatant error. Seriously, it's just asking to be mocked.

6) Don't insult or threaten a writer. Firstly, they'll likely make a fool out of you and you may not even realize it. In short, you'll end up looking like a dumbass. And threatening will set into motion a rather ugly course of action involving the employer. Don't do it. Trust me.

7) Finally, do feel the need to relax. What writers produce is extremely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It really doesn't need to be taken so seriously.

Hopefully this helps. And for the record, and although they don't realize it, I'm always complimented when readers assume I'm a guy. (Although hopefully, not due to the column photo. Ack. I hate that bloody thing.)

9 responses to "How to pick a fight with your local sportwriter"

  1. Hmmm.

    Me thinks that the stereotype about guys knowing more about sports and mechanics than women is from an age gone by. An age when Moose ruled the earth, ... Oops, Freudian slip.

    Ricky the plush moose.


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    The Universal Cynic

  3. Six words, all of them pointless? Try harder next time, RC. I expect better from you.

    The Universal Cynic

  4. OMG! And I thought you had a sense of humour! I thought this blogspot was entitled "How to pick a fight with your local sportswriter". I guess I unwittingly did! Sorry! Not much in the way of good subject matter lately, especially with hockey down to three teams right now.

    On an entirely different and pointless matter, I just finished reading the Red Fisher autobiography (an interesting read!) and I'd like to send it to you. Can I do so in care of the Ottawa Sun? It comes with a coupon for two free cans of Red Bull! (Just kidding!)

    reality check

  5. Oh, come on RC...like it put you to sleep. It's a relevant subject -- you should see the stuff I receive (well, you do, because I post some of it).

    And not everything needs to revolve around hockey. The Ricky Williams story is an intriguing one. Did you hear Garry Galley attempt to compare Ricky's plight to that of Barry Bonds on yesterday's show? High comedy.

    P.S. Word verification: fentdigy.

    The Universal Cynic

  6. And do I have a sense of humour? Hmmm...:)

    The Universal Cynic

  7. No I don't catch Galley, but do a post on it! I'm not an Argo fan, but I hope Williams does well. I'm that rare bird that prefers the CFL.

    My insight into things other than hockey are not that strong - I am interested to an extent, but not passionate. I still read all I can get my eyes on. I can't always comment on what I don't know well. I suppose that is when I should shut up,listen and learn!

    Sidenote: Thanks for the Pulley references. I downloaded lots and I am enjoying it. I gather you do not want the Fisher book!

    reality check

  8. Unfortunately RC, the likelihood of the book getting to me through the Sun, is about as assured as the Boo Boo avatar ever losing its hilarity.

    The Universal Cynic

  9. Gotcha! Harder than nailing Jello to a tree or shovelling smoke with a pitchfork in the wind!

    reality check