Why Play BlogNomic
- By Brendan
In 2002, at a press conference following a painful loss, NFL player-turned-coach Herm Edwards delivered an extemporaneous and soon-famous speech on the topic of victory in sports, transcribed here from WikiQuote:
The most direct way to make a personal mark on the recorded history of BlogNomic is to become Emperor, something in turn most directly achieved by a successful declaration of victory. That in turn leads many players to align with the same philosophy Edwards seems to espouse: if you want the time you invest in BlogNomic to matter, you cannot "play it just to play it." You must play to win, and only to win.
But given the context in which Edwards delivered that quote–amid a losing record; set against the growing practice of "tanking" to abandon an imperfect season and secure better draft picks the following year; and followed by a tremendous turnaround which saw his team win that year's AFC East championship–it is not solipsistic or reflective of tunnel vision. It's a declaration committed to the betterment of the game for all involved, including not just his own team and their fans, but other teams as well. In that, it connects to a very different concept laid out by one of the great athletes of the twentieth century, Celtics basketball player Bill Russell. He wrote it first in his book Second Wind, but I quote it here from its use in his friend Bernie De Koven's game philosophy book The Infinite Playground, coauthored by my friend Holly Gramazio:
BlogNomic is neither basketball nor football (American or otherwise): it is an incredibly niche, deliberative hobby that rarely incorporates anything in the physical world, much less heated physical competition. But the sense of intuition, elevation, and coming to know one's competitors is no less an opportunity in gameplay that proceeds over months or years. A victory is respectable and enjoyable, but few people outside the tiny base of BlogNomic players will even understand what it represents. And the impact one makes on that base is orthogonal to the number of dynasties in one's name.
When it comes to regard for my fellow players, I agree completely with Herm Edwards on one thing: I don't care if you don't have any wins. As of this writing in October 2020, nothing in the Ruleset says you can't play BlogNomic for whatever reason you choose. But after sixteen years, the feeling Russell evokes–committed pursuit to the shared mastery of a select skill–is why I keep coming back.