You watch players sprint on the field, shoot on the court, skate on the ice. Athletes leave blood, sweat, and tears throughout all of the physical battles and the hard hits all in the hopes of victory. The thrill of scoring in the last second, the upsets, and the excitement of winning. It is all available to the fans’ eyes.
But everyone wonders what happens at home, on the road, and in the locker room. Everyone wonders why decisions are made.
You don’t see is the hard work, the dedication, the relentlessness of playing 82 to 162 games in a year all while figuring out life itself. The stories of some of the nation’s best players have gone unnoticed for years. Until now.
It is becoming increasingly more common for players to interact with fans via social media. Before Facebook and Twitter were around, you could write a letter or try and catch a glimpse at the park, but the odds of your favorite athlete ever hearing you weren’t great. To do the same now, all you need do is send a quick Tweet or post on Facebook.
But, a new medium is emerging for those who want to read about the ins and outs of the game. Player-driven media. Sites like the Players’ Tribune, where athletes can write articles, and they’re the only one’s contributing.
Even with today’s technology and seemingly endless possibilities in terms of seeing what athletes are up to, there is still the whole other issue of seeing the personal side of your favorite athlete. Knowing what it is like behind the scenes, or what is really going on in their head when they hit the ice. This new wave of media is slowly becoming the fastest and easiest way for fans to interact with their favorite athletes, all be it indirectly.
Whom can a fan trust more than the players themselves? No one, which is what makes player-driven media so useful to those who want in-depth looks into sports. Grantland did their job and they did it well, but the Players Tribune perfected it in a manor that no one expected. With the Tribune, you can read why Milan Lucic loved Boston, and how naive he was when he arrived. You can read about John Scott and his incredible story of how he got to the All Star Game.
The world of professional sports needs more of these stories. Athletes are considered idols, and people always want to know more even if it currently isn’t possible. Sites like the Players’ Tribune allow athletes to interact with fans in a whole new light. It is a process that goes beyond conventional social media, and it’s only going to continue growing from where it is now. Fans like reading it, players like writing it, and for those who complain that sports aren’t open enough, this content offers a refreshing change to the regular rants the media produces.