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(Ed. Note: I'm adding on to a post that originally appeared in May -- points 8 and 9. Enjoy. And hey look, it's Mr. Chi Pig! Do yourself a favour and download Cancer Sticks and Hockey Sticks by SNFU. It'll make your Monday.)

If you've been reading this blog for awhile (or even if you haven't), you probably are aware that I receive mail from 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 and fire off a snarky email, only to discover that they're in a battle of wits without a weapon. Here you go.

1) Use quotes. I hate to cut and paste, 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 the patience to sort through blathering missives beginning 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. If your beef with John Muckler is really eating at you, or if you hate the 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 always write what I feel. Don't go looking for something that isn't there.

5) Check for grammatical and spelling errors before you send. My opinion of a reader drops about ten stories as soon as I see a blatant misspelling. Seriously, it's just asking to be mocked.

6) Don't insult a writer, even if you want to. 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.

7) Relax. What sportswriters produce is extremely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It really doesn't need to be taken so seriously.

8) Check the byline before venting. My name isn't Don Brennan, Bruce Garrioch or similar. I don't expect for them to be held accountable for my work, and I can't comprehend being made responsible for theirs.

9) Understand the irony of slagging Sun Media, only to quote various pieces chapter and verse (sometimes from months ago) in an email. Some message board posters are guilty of this as well. To proclaim all Sun writers to be ignorant, low-brow and incompetent, only to have the reader prove that they ingest every last bit of the Sun's publication is highly amusing to me. If I hated Desperate Housewives (and I do), would I sit down to watch it every week? What kind of masochist does this?

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.)

1 response to "How to pick a fight with your local sportswriter (addendum)"

  1. That's great!

    Hope that your readers take these suggestions into consideration.

    I myself at times (all times)have been guilty of these things.

    Funny,it should be common sense for people to follow these rules.
    but, since you have to post it,I guess common sense has once again become special sense.

    In fact does you local sports writer really care what Joe/Jane armchair have to say? Really is it going to change your opinion or style, not likely.

    People who write to complain have nothing better to do or are trying to avoid work