Reader feedback can be a scary proposition sometimes.
Of course, having a person come up to you in the supermarket and say they enjoyed last week's column makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The angry anonymous phone calls? Less so.
But one reader's feedback to last week's column concerned me. She said, "I loved your column. I don't follow sports, but it made me feel angry, too!"
There's just one issue: I don't consider myself an angry man. I've got lots of blessings and when I'm focused on them more than the things I lack, I think I am a pretty jovial fellow.
In response to that, I offer the following list of my favorite things, things that rather than grinding my gears, make my day.
I like pennant races quite a bit, particularly when the team I like (the Tigers) wins them and the team I don't like (the White Sox) face-plants just as I asked them to. Sorry, A.J. Good luck on the golf course.
I enjoy the fact that the baseball season takes a long time to complete, but a very short time to turn on its head. Ask the Rangers, who led the AL West for 156 days, but not the last one, or the Athletics, who are the worst-paid team in the American League, well, at least until their playoff shares come in.
I like that I'm going to be covering a hockey game Saturday night. I enjoy the hypnotic march of the Zamboni around the ice between periods, the crassness of the Pep Band (within limits) and the buzz that comes with taking a lap around the arena before faceoff to see the fans' excitement. If this is my hockey Saturday night for months to come, well, that's something I can definitely live with.
I like hitting a golf ball hard and straight, though I've learned it doesn't always have to be with the biggest club in my bag.
My favorite volleyball play is the slide attack, a near-balletic combination of grace and power. Though just about any other attack is fine, too. As is a great block or dig.
I like the visceral reaction that comes from a big, clean hit on the ice or the football field. There's no cheering allowed in the press box, but when Emmett Bjorn whacked that Grand Valley State player in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, the sound that comes from that is not something any of us media folks can control.
I'm happy the regular pro football referees are back, both because the probability of another botched game like Week 3 in Seattle has gone down immensely, and because thanks to the lockout, people actually understand my fantasy team name this year: The Ed Hochuli Gun Show.
I like the Red Zone Channel - it's like football concentrate, the game without endless commercial breaks or media pandering.
But if I have to watch with commercials, I do prefer the "Discount Doublecheck" ad with B.J. Raji, if for no other reason than he appears to be close to laughing throughout the whole thing.
I like this place on a day like Wednesday, when it's warm and sunny, the colors are out and everyone's in a good mood. It reminds of me of when and why I moved here. When January rolls around, I like that I can escape from the winter winds into a high school gym.
When the games bite, when the wind stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.