Is Blogging A Team Sport Or A Return To The “New Games” Of The 1970s?

I originally wrote this as a response to “Blogging Is The Ultimate Team Sport” on Grow, Mark Schaefer‘s blog. While typing my comments, I realized it was too long for the comment section. And, his post became the springboard for my thoughts that went in a different direction. So, I decided to share my reflections here.

Mark wrote, “Blogging is the ultimate team sport.”

Blogging, The Ultimate Team Sport says Mark Schaefer

Blogging, The Ultimate Team Sport says Mark Schaefer

Is blogging a team sport? I love the image and the allegory that blogging is a team sport. It’s rich with meaning.

There are the spectators, the crowd that cheer and boo from the stands in the privacy of their own skybox (home). They arm chair quarterback the entire blogosphere from the comfort of their own desk chair. They talk out loud to their computers and never stroke the keyboard. They are engaged but as a follower, a fan or a frienemy (friend-enemy).

There are the players that sit on the bench, watch the action, wish they could play, and pat other active players on the back when they are doing it successfully. These self-benched players have the skills and stamina to play but lack self-confidence. Their minds paralyze their bodies with the “What Ifs Syndrome.” What if I write the wrong thing? What if my comments are misread? What if I make a typo? What if my customers read this? What if it backfires? What if… Paralyzed, sitting on the bench, unable to participate actively. They prefer to be passive. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. It’s easier. What if became the stopping place for failure.

There are the active players that choose to engage with each other and leave a comment. They read and guffaw, laugh aloud, pound their keyboard with force as their words come alive with passion. Some ponder their next move like a chess match thinking through each step in the process. They craft their reply starting down one path and maybe changing directions midcourse, leading the reader down a trail of words that eventually come to a crescendo. These are the real active players of the game.

Then there are those ego-laden players that scream “look at me because I’ve got your answer.” They cloak their actions as team playing activities. Yet their actions are naked before all and as people snicker and whisper about their ineffective ego-driven steps. They think they are VIP material when actually they are obnoxious self-promoters.

Some sell concessions and hock their wares from the sidelines. Luring you in with the smell of popcorn and drinks, acting as the carnie vendors to come spend your money. Asking you to buy logoed products and get the next nifty tool to increase your game strategy.

Some act as the cheer squad. Some play instruments adding musical scores to the words. Some are the videographers capturing their actions and others with sound and image. And some keep score.

For me, I’m looking forward to the half-time entertainment. What’s scheduled? ;)

So, I guess that makes the blogger the coach. And would the audience/spectators also serve as referees crying foul or you’re out?

But now that I think about it. Team sports means there are winners and losers. Are their winners and losers in blogging?

Perhaps blogging is actually similar to the “New Games” movement that appeared in the 1970s. Yes, I’m showing my age. (I was a teen camp counsler in the late ’70s that taught New Games!) These games were set against a backdrop of climate change concerns, a controversial war, political upheaval and complex gender issues. The “New Games Movement” had a different philosophy where everyone that played the game was a winner or everyone lost together. It was a shared experience of meaningful play, with shared contexts.


Stewart Brand, author of the “Whole Earth Catalog” and “The Clock of the Long Now” theorized “You can’t change a game by winning it, goes the formula, or losing it or refereeing it or spectating it. You can change a game by leaving it, going somewhere else and starting a new game. If it works, it will in time alter or replace the old game.”

H-m-m, is blogging a team sport or the digital arrival of the “New Games Movement?” Or is it some other form of game, sports or play analogy? I’ll have to explore that concept more in future posts.

What say you?

I recently stumbled across Mark’s blog and find his posts to be extremely engaging and inspiring. He’s a gifted writer and has a knack for luring people into his thoughts and reflections. He makes you want to leave a comment! His ponderings are usually open-ended, with just enough information to engage you and then get you to respond. He doesn’t claim to know it all yet. He asks provocative questions and I see him as one who is willing to ask the tough questions on the jouney. Check him out!


  1. says

    Hi Jeff,

    You really put a smile on my face with this one!!

    First, as you know, I am a blogger, but secondly I am a diehard football fan, and thirdly I played football for many years, so you hooked me.

    Seriously, your metaphor rings truth, as there are folks that fit all the descriptions outlined above. However, I think the real truth is that blogging is a team sport in the sense that collaboration is what gives an article its life. Motivating players (readers) to contribute their thoughts adds points to the overall impact (score)

    The only loser is the player (reader) standing on the sideline that did not speak up and offer their contribution, instead choosing to quietly watch others play the game.

    As usual a great article and I love the artful way you deliver your content!



    • Jeff Hurt says

      Thanks for dropping by Mark and thanks for all the great writing you do! It gets me thinking!

      Great additions to this post Mike. I should have known you played football!

      I really like what you wrote “Motivating players (readers) to contribute their thoughts adds points to the overall impact (score).” That’s a great statement there!

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