Monday, March 08, 2010

Reactions to the Jake column

By now I've written a couple thousand columns, and one thing I've learned is that you can never predict how readers will react. People have loved some columns that I thought were barely publishable, and hated some of my favorites. And a few columns I've felt great about have landed on the page to the sound of crickets. There's nothing worse than no response at all.

But I've never been more surprised at how y'all responded to a column than I am about my Sunday column on Jake Delhomme.

The column was about Jake's tears at his farewell press conference, and my take that he cried because he knew his prime as an NFL player was past.

I'm used to some people agreeing with the column and others disagreeing. But y'all took this column in two entirely different ways. It's like you were reading two different columns.

Let me try to sum it up through some of your comments:

From Carol Connor (mother of Panthers LB Dan Connor):

Wow. I've never written to a sportswriter before about an article, but this was such a meaningful one (Saturday's paper). I'm sure he cried again when he read it, we all did. It reminded me of the recent animated movie, Up...life keeps moving on and we don't even know how quickly it's passing us by. I am saving this article. Loved it.

From Rick:
The article you wrote, "The Real Reason Behind Jake's Tears" is a really good piece. It touches on what every human being experiences at some point in their life. It was not ill-spirited toward Delhomme...just an honest portrait of real life.
From Nanit:
Could it be that he was crying because he hates saying goodbye? I tend to believe him that he was blindsided. If he never saw it coming after getting that contract, I can understand it.
He is the kind of guy who wouldn't hurt a fly. You are cruel to someone who doesn't deserve it.

From mrbernz:
You are saying he was crying because he realized he was past his prime? Are you really saying that? Tell me you only wrote this trash to get comments, otherwise you are a fool. Delhomme was a Panther at heart. He may well be past his prime but if you really think that's why he was crying, well, never mind i think i said it already.

So... yeah. Two very different reads.

I sure wasn't trying to be cruel to Jake, although I can see why some folks see it that way. I opened up with a couple of lines that I'd heard from people ripping him that day, as a contrast with the more meditative ideas later in the column. Some of y'all were in tune with that; others weren't.

What I was trying to do was make that moment about something bigger, about something that all of us might feel at some point in our lives.

That's a stretch, of course, and for some of you it was a stretch too far. Which is fine. Part of my job is to make you think, and one of the best parts of my job is when the comments make me re-think the whole piece. Today was one of those great days. Thanks.

And for the record: I loved watching Jake these past seven years. We should always celebrate the people who bring joy to our lives. He took us to the Super Bowl and dang near won the thing. Let's never forget that.

25 comments:

Rusty Hellenthal said...

Tommy, quit insisting on yourself. You aren't that much of a writer. Are the 3 or 4 clowns over at the sports desk not enough to cover Jake Delhomme's embarrassing blubberin session?

Anonymous said...

What a joke! Football is a business.

David said...

Enough...let it go with Jake. People really think he took us to the Superbowl and NFC Championship game, but I remember he couldn't get us down the field and John Casey and his golden leg won MANY of our games that got us there. The day when John Casey leaves the Panthers, that will be sad. He won games for us when Jake couldn't get us down the field and Casey was kicking 45+ yard field goals. Many games, we never scored a touchdown and we still won our game. So stop writing about Jake and move on!!!!

Anonymous said...

Misery loves company was my interpretation of that article. It wasn't worthy of comment. It sounded like a hasbeen rubbing it in to another he was deeming a hasbeen.

Anonymous said...

I think we'll miss John Kasay even more than John Casey.

Anonymous said...

Rusty Hellenthal, you just proved you're not very smart. Tommy is one of the finest writers in America.

me_first said...

It's Obama's fault!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your column...please ignore mrbernz, he hates everything and everybody and has never been right about anything.

Anonymous said...

John Casey, while a darn good kicker and a great man, cost of the playoffs twice on missed FG's and one could ceratinly argue that he cost us the Super Bowl with his errant kickoff.

I only mention those to show davod that John Casey isn't perfect either, and he'd be the 1st to tell you the same.

Thanks for the memories Jake, I hope you play for another 10yrs!

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous 3:02 who said "cost of the playoffs twice on missed FG's and one could ceratinly argue that he cost us the Super Bowl with his errant kickoff" - you seem to easily forget that we would not have been in those games at all without Mr Kasay

Anonymous said...

DUDE I DIDN"T ENJOY YOUR STORY.....the man walked away with 12 million.....JAKE will be throwing ints for Arizona next year....boohoo

Anonymous said...

You used the word "column" 8 times in the first 8 sentences of your column.

Anonymous said...

jake cried because he won't be able to play football again most likely and because he got let go.
football was who he was, not its gone. he thought he was going rise back up.

Tyrone said...

Hmmm... I seem to recal Kasays Golden leg is what ended up losing us the Super Bowl, while Jake was what kept us in it.

RT from IT said...

Your column certainly connected with me. After leaving the Observer, I've been made to feel well past my prime, and you put words to feelings of my own that I could never express. Football brings one to that point much earlier than many other jobs, but as you wrote, most of us get there eventually.

Going slightly off-topic, I'll always be grateful for your help and encouragement. I wish more of your readers could know you personally. The experience would bless their lives, as it has mine.

Ryan said...

The comments that I thought seemed really off base were the ones that started talking about socialism and cooperate welfare. What the heck was that all about. I am not sure if Jake was crying for being past his prime but I thought the column was wonderful. I would imagine he knows he will not get another opportunity like the one he had here for sure.

Jumper said...

Maybe you should have spoken to him first. Other than that, even if you were wrong, the column was interesting.

chupacabra said...

Well I liked the story.

Why Jake was crying may not even be something that Jake can explain. Human emotions are complex.

That 12M is a heck of a send off though.

HAMBONE said...

Tommy - this column struck a deep chord in me. As a 50 something, laid off Queen City banker, I have had similar feelings that my professional prime passed without my knowing it at the time. As with Jake and football, I will likely work again in some capacity in financial services, but like Jake, it will probably in a diminished role. It's a sudden and rude awakening.... On another note, I am a big fan of your work - please keep it up and may your best writing still be ahead of you.

HAMBONE said...

Tommy - this column struck a deep chord in me. As a 50 something, laid off Queen City banker, I have had similar feelings that my professional prime passed without my knowing it at the time. As with Jake and football, I will likely work again in some capacity in financial services, but like Jake, it will probably in a diminished role. It's a sudden and rude awakening.... On another note, I am a big fan of your work - please keep it up and may your best writing still be ahead of you.

Kay said...

Ryan, don't be confused about the comments made about socialism and corporate welfare. Cowards use any means necessary to "blame Obama". It always comes back to our president, doesn't it? If these type people ever had to lose their jobs and have to accept help from the government, I wonder what rocks they would throw then. Anyhoo, Jake's future is not over. He can now do whatever he wants to do. As a columnist once wrote, "It's never too late to do what you love in life." Good luck, Jake! and thanks Tommie!

Anonymous said...

Jake cried because he lost his spot in a family that he loved being in. There was no feeling that he is past his prime. No way he believes that. It was just that he was very happy as a panther because he loved the players and the organization, and he felt loved by the players and the organization. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

To David and Anonymous's

The entire team got us to that Superbowl. Delhomme, Kasay, Steve Superman Smith and Ricky Thank God Da Bears signed him away Manning Jr were huge in getting us to the SB.

We lost because of a long string of coaching blunders. going for 2 twice, calling bad timeouts, and most of all, using a smaller rotation on the D line in the first half.

Jake was fantastic.

The Kasay kickoff gave them the ball at the 40 yard line instead of the 32 and 29 yardling that started started the prior two kickoffs due to great returns. I special teams were sliding, and I doubt an in-bounds kick would have mage much difference

Mr Bernz said...

Anonymous said...
I enjoyed your column...please ignore mrbernz, he hates everything and everybody and has never been right about anything.
2:55 PM

Way to post anonymous so noone knows which moron you are.

The GolfMage said...

Looks like the bottom line is we're paying for someone to help QB the Browns next season.