I always view my time at the Province as limited, like they’ll come up to me, tap me on the shoulder, and tell me the experiment is over any day now. With my second season as a Province blogger coming to a close, it has caused me to reflect upon my journey to where I am now in my writing career.
If you had told me when I was young that one day I would get one article published in the Province paper, let alone several, I would have called you crazy, spit on your shoes, and attempted to gouge your eyes out a bit. I would also have been extremely proud and happy of that accomplishment (the getting in the paper, not the physically assaulting somebody over a hypothetical future event).
Fast forward to today, and not only do I get to put my articles into the paper, I also get to interview players (when I think up a good question, which happens only occasionally) and basically get a large local platform to express my thoughts on the Canucks. It’s taken a lot of hard work on my end (from building up a gimmick twitter account based around an infamous Bieksa goal, to what it is today), but it’s also been helped by many people along the way. And while there are many people who have helped me on this journey (both people from the writing industry, and those within my personal life, and Bowman, always Bowman), Botchford has been one of the best supporters I’ve ever had.
Now, I don’t know why he’s supported me, or why he’s been helpful. It could just be his nature to help people out, so I can’t say for sure he’s helped me out because he believes in me. But what I do know is that I have never met a more helpful person in all of my time writing.
As shocking as it may be (not really) I am still terrible at asking questions. I get really nervous and will often shrink back from really getting into the middle of things. I still remember covering my first Abbotsford Heat game and being frozen, unable to ask a question to Steve Reinprecht, he of the awful contract. I tried for two straight games to ask one single question, and could not for the life of me do it. Finally, on my last night there, with the Wolves streaming out of the building, I saw Nolan Baumgartner walking down the hall. I ran up to him, asked him if I could ask him a question, then showed him a list of five questions on my phone that he could choose from. Truly a highlight of my journalistic savvy. Go me.
Fast forward to today, and I still don’t ask many questions (there are so many seasoned pros around me that spit out question after question that unless I have a super awesome question, I just let them do the asking. Even then, I like to “vulture” players by hanging out and waiting for them to be alone. As creepy as that sounds.) but the only reason I feel comfortable at all is because I have asked Botch so many questions, and he has been there to answer them.
With my lack of background in journalism, it was basically trial by fire for me. I had no idea on such basic things like when the Canucks held their practices. Or how do I get access to said practices? (I think I sent Botch about 192 texts asking him where I entered the building).
Basically anytime I found myself in an unfamiliar spot (of which there were many) where I didn’t know rules, I asked Botch and he always helped me.
This also goes further than just answering my questions, it has also been him going out of his ways to give me scoops on stories, one of them the biggest of my tiny little career. I have no idea why he gave it to me, but he did, and it was things like that, that helped put me on the map in my first year blogging for The Province.
I have no idea how comfortable Botch would be with me telling stories and such, so I will keep it short and vague, I just wanted to let people realize how helpful Botch has been, and even though he has an online reputation in some parts as being some big ass evil motherfucker, he’s honestly been the nicest guy I’ve come across, in an industry that has many established people that would rather look down on bloggers than help them out.
This is why I will always be a loyal Team Botch member. He had no reason to help me out, yet he did, and I can never thank him enough for that. The Provies, which he has made into must read articles (Honestly, I have had so many people describe them as “must read” and how they don’t go to bed until they’re done. Botch turned The Provies into the most “must read” Canucks post game recaps around. People on twitter talk about their appearances in The Provies. It’s amazing.), were graciously handed over to me for two games this year.
Again, Botch didn’t have to do that, but he put his support behind me and let me fill in for him. It might seem like a small thing, but doing The Provies gained me more recognition and respect from people in the Canucks beat world (people who never said hi to me were suddenly talking to me) then two years of blogging on my own did.
That’s why I always get a kick out of people who go after Botch like he’s some sort of asshole. The thing about Botch is he doesn’t back down. I back down all the time. I don’t like to get into confrontations a lot, even though many times I want to rip a persons head off. Botch just doesn’t take a lot of shit, and when people find him biting back at them, for some reason this just sets them off further. I enjoy living vicariously through Botch sometimes.
So while I am Team Botch 100%, I don’t go out of my way to defend him on twitter or get in people’s grills over their perception of him. One, because Botch doesn’t need me to, and two, I’ve never liked it when people gang up behind “their boy” at the drop of a hat. It just causes more high school reactions on twitter which is already very high schoolish as it is. People can form their own opinions of people, it’s not my job to fight them on it.
I did, however, want to at least once put down my lifelong membership on Team Botch, so people can understand why I am Team Botch. In a world in which I often feel like a lowly basement blogger (through both imagined and real beliefs), Botch was the first person to treat me as just another writer, and that is something I will always be grateful for.