Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blogs: Players write like they play

by Unknown at 12:31 AM

Jake Gibb celebrates a pointThe personalities of the U.S. men's Olympic beach volleyball teams couldn't be more divergent.

World champs, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, are reserved, methodical, cool. This whole volleyball thing is clearly all business for them. Can't be bothered to get too worked up lest it interfere, you know, with winning.

Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb, on the other hand, play with their hearts on their sleeves. Gibb, especially, is an enthusiastic guy. He clearly loves the game and relishes every second of the whole experience. As a photographer, I love to shoot him because you're guaranteed to get a great emotion shot.

Now, the beach volleyball world isn't exactly the most wired bunch. But we're lucky enough to have both Rogers and Gibb actively writing on their respective blogs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, their writing style somewhat mirrors the way they play.

Rogers, for example, describes his matches as a kind of third-person narrative, like a news story, breaking down play-by-plays with an analyst's detachment.

Todd Rogers. Cool as a cuke.Gibb's blog entries are no Shakespeare, and a bit fleeting, but they're a lot more fun to read because you actually feel what it's like to be Jake, blasting balls and taking in the Beijing spectacle. Somehow his enthusiasm comes through unfiltered.

Each style has its merits: "The Professor" (Rogers) gives you a dissection, and "The Big Nasty" (Gibb) gives you a visceral reaction.

How appropriate.

Personally, I like reading the adventure aspect of their experiences. Like bartering for silk suits in China, or bribing striking cabbies in France during a quest for Russian visas.

It's the stuff you can't find on TV that makes for the most engaging read, no matter who's writing it.