|Sgt. Tony Valentn, left, and son Anthony.|
If there is one comment my readers make most frequently — well, after some variant of “you suck” — it is that they are fans of the print newspaper, the log of dried tree pulp tossed at their homes every morning and spread with a sigh of pleasure over the breakfast table.
I like that too. But at the risk of apostasy, I have to confess that, as a writer, I prefer the online edition, for two reasons.
First, errors can be easily corrected. If, say for instance, a careless writer’s right index finger falls short of the “Y” and hits the “U” instead, converting the J. Tyke Nollman Field into the J. Tuke Nollman Field, it’s a moment’s work to set it right, not counting responding contritely to all those print readers solemnly pointing out the gaffe.
Second, you can find older stories without pawing through filing cabinets and manila folders. Searching is a breeze.
Print, however, has one big advantage over online. It’s finite. With print, you have to cut, and cutting is good, because while the internet is boundless, attention spans are not. In print, my column should run 719 words, which means if want to go much longer, like Monday’s introduction to the joy that is rugby, I have to get approval ahead of time.
Even then, I lost marvels worth sharing. For instance, in rugby, referees are called “the Sir” — even women (though some female refs prefer “Ma’am”). Regular players may not speak to the Sir — that’s a penalty. Only team captains can. Here’s a line from the Nashville Grizzlies online “Rugby Primer”: ”If the Sir speaks to [a] player directly, it means the player did something bad. The ONLY correct response by this player to the Sir is ‘yes Sir.’”
Kinda makes you wish life were a rugby game.
Then there was Tony Valentin. I was standing on the sidelines Saturday, watching players tussle over the ball, and struck up a conversation. Turns out he is a sergeant, 20 years with the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the boat unit.
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