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Why am I a poster at THN website?

By Mark Solway | August 11th, 2006

Why am I a poster at THN website? Let’s face it: I have not sent several thousand messages to any members of my family, friends or anybody else in my life. I have not sent more than a few hundred messages to any of the very few other specialised professional boards to which I am subscribed to. So, what is it that attracts me to come back again and again to THN website? Let me try to answer this question below in different forms that come to mind in no specific order of preference. Democracy First of all, to a new comer to a sports fan forum like me the experience was, well, strange to say the least. One of the first experiences I had was one of a profound -democratic- sense. THN does not recognise its members based on their ages, genders, religions, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities or any other cultural factors. You could be exchanging views intensely with other members that probably would be impossible to meet in person and become acquainted with otherwise. Members seldom share the same preferences for hobbies, literature, music or anything else, let alone political views! We often find truly interesting exchanges about the NFL and the Redskins among any combination of posters who could be decades apart in age, miles away in economic and ethnic background, and who could have any or no religious beliefs whatsoever. What you will find here are people that have the opportunity to stand on the same level and with the same rights under the rules of the board to exchange their views with anybody else. If there was ever a true expression of free speech conceived in any culture, this board is a perfect example of democracy in action. Knowledge What differentiates one fan from another in this board in my view is only their knowledge about the game of football and the Washington Redskins. We are fortunate in this regard here. We have posters and staff whose views and insight truly surpass anything else anybody can find in the commercial news market. While the Orwellian tenet made in Animal Farm is correct: all posters are equal but some are more equal than others, there are differences in my regard of their equality. Respect is earned in this board based on the strength of our arguments and not the tone or the frequency with which they are made. While posters with greater number of posts can show the scars that experience has given them, numbers of posts alone are not an absolute indication of the qualitative weight of one poster in my mind. Surely there are some posters that I am interested to read on and on. Some know the histories of the game and our team as if it was written on the palms of their hands. Others have a great knowledge about football strategy and execution from experience. Yet others have a great sense of humour and enormous wit. I wish I had their many talents. The previous version of the board had avatars and quite frankly, I knew whose avatars I was going to pass on without reading at all and which ones I was going to stop over and read from beginning to end -several times-. Call it my bias and prejudice if you might. Some posters have the ability to shine in one part of the message boards but not in others. A few posters make a living in the Lounge talking about politics or cracking jokes. Yet other posters have different “virtues”. One useful “virtue” I sorely lack is any ability whatsoever to engage in hearty exchanges in the Smack forum. Whenever I have had to go at it, I regret it later with good reason and even inner personal shame. Independence One of the greatest values of this board is its independence from the NFL, the Washington Redskins organization and any other interests. Anything can be written within the Rules and the only requirement is to support any opinion with information and facts. Passion for our team and the principles of our coach are not synonymous with a lack of constructive criticism when we believe that it is warranted. If sports can become a paradigm for other activities in life, and we often quote our former coaches and current coach beyond this board in our daily professional and family lives, it goes without saying that independent and impartial opinions are warranted. The common Washington Redskin fan needs a voice and THN is the perfect vehicle for it. Content Where else, I ask, could anybody find a compilation of news, informed exclusive articles, posts, and numerous other features that you find here in a single location? Nowhere else, stop looking, this is it. I find it simply amazing that there are cap experts (capologists is the new term coined here, I think) capable to create an interactive section to highlight the “what ifs” of any player transactions. There is something for almost everybody. In fact, there is a potential tendency to bye-pass several important parts of the board entirely while rushing to the message boards. This is unfortunate because the site contains a tremendous wealth of information and data. Think of it as ammunition to engage the discussions held in the message boards. Ah! and then there is the famous Hognostications! The place where knowledge meets luck. The place where statistics may mean something, or not. The place where pride and bragging rights become challenges among posters and we confront the predictions for game winners made every week by professional sports writers. I love to have the opportunity to measure up against people whose knowledge of the game I truly challenge in a certain sports magazine. With one season in my pocket, I feel good. Let’s see how the second generation of Hognostications pans out. Add to all of the above that the board is entirely free of charge to its members and we should feel guilty and embarrassed not to contribute economically or to try to help in any other ways more often. Personal touch Every once in a blue moon, there is a chance to send a personal message to somebody in a way that touches each other’s lives one way or another. Sometimes it might be related to work, family or a particular state of mind. This is rare but when it happens, you know you have found your home away from home. Sometimes posters come and make their presence known and, like lost childhood friendships, they just simply fade away never to be read again. One day, it might happen to me for one reason or another. I hope to have the chance to say goodbye if I see that happening. The Redskins There are also ways in which a fan can be reached by our team through interviews and articles posted in this website. Some of us strongly believe that for football to be truly meaningful, it is not only about winning. It is also about the process to get there. It is about character and personal sacrifice, win or lose. It is about the journey and the arrival with honour, pride and integrity. From Vince Lombardi to George Allen to Joe Gibbs, to name a few coaches, we have been fortunate to accumulate enough good memories that transcend to the daily lives of various generations of fans. The lessons taught by our coaches go far beyond football. The achievements and sacrifices made on the field by a good number of our players are also remarkable. For example, who can not remember with pride The Hogs and their history? But again, the roles of some players transcend the confines of the football field. While Art Monk in my view is a worthy NFL HOF candidate for his work as a player, his main achievements lie to be in a league of his own as a human being. I am a fan of the Washington Redskins simply because there is no other team like it in the entire NFL. Escape If your daily life, work and/or occupation become stressful at times, there is no better escape valve than an activity that challenges your intellect and knowledge of your favourite sport and team. This board has the right size and quality to be our home away from home. Let us support it in whatever form we can if you share with me one or several of the thoughts expressed above. Some members have developed true friendships in this board and others had them to begin with. Not me. Not because I would not like to. I might enjoy it enormously in all likelihood. But I enjoy the anonymity of the board in a way that makes it possible to avoid any interference with my work and my public life. It is difficult to explain but I hope you can understand somehow. I appreciate very much your respect for my choice to remain anonymous. I will read you around, Redskin in…

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