XCFeedsThe Johnny5: Nat Herz

Avatar Johnny KlisterMay 26, 2010

pp class=”MsoNormal”In terms of actually moving things FORWARD – advancing the cause – Nat might be my ONLY pick. The Johnny 1.span  /span– emZach Caldwell/em/p
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p class=”MsoNormal”Three years ago, the best one could do in procuring ski information was to be at an event and hope the important parts of the day happened in front of you.span  /spanWeb information was focused on Norwegian gossip, product placement or the type of generic, canned coverage that gets churned out by collegiate sports information directors, small-town newspapers and the unfilled spaces in the back of sports magazines.span  /spanAs recently as last year, there was very little American ski journalism, most of it practiced by Paul Robbins, and only in the wake of World Championship larger events.span  /spanBlogs and interviews were high journalism before Nat and fittingly where he got his start.span  /spanHe quickly moved passed the status quo.span  /spanIt was once written on this website that Nat is the most entertaining not fast skier ever to type, but since then he’s moved beyond that.span  /spanNow, Nat Herz is the only legitimate journalist covering skiing and as such makes his contribution stand out even more significantly than his employer, emFasterskier/emspan.span   /span/spanemFasterskier/emspan is part of the ski community, and makes a valuable contribution. But it doesn’t rise above the fray as an entity – in fact it pretty much reflects the fray in all its gory detail, and has come to characterize and embody everything that is wrong with the community, mostly by virtue of making no attempt to verify identities or demand accountability for the often outrageous comments for which it provides a soapbox.span  /spanAs recently as yesterday (May 25supth/sup, 2010), a commenter going only by the name /spanemGreater North/emspan, felt compelled to postulate that /spanemother nations are far ahead of us far earlier because they are not afraid to push their athletes earlier/emspan in response to one of Nat’s articles about USST skier, Liz Stephen. (Yet another nugget of ham fisted idiocy to help skiing along.)span  /spanShort sighted comments seem most myopic when they follow well research, well-informed writing on American skiing.span  /spanIn doing this work, Nat single-handedly legitimizes the sport and the people working in it by virtue of the even handed journalistic treatment that he provides. He approaches his work professionally – a standard of expectation that we should all hold ourselves to and a standard that if left to percolate could combat the collective inferiority complex that permeates skiing.span  /spanNat writes about skiing and doesn’t apologize for it. He pushes forward with even expectation and focus that is rare throughout the rest of skiing.span  /spanWhen fellow Johnny5 nominee Simi Hamilton was interviewed by Nat following his qualification at the U23 championships, the Coloradoan was more professional and formal than previously seen on the bandwith of Fasterskier.span  /spanFor that interview, in addition to the skiing expectations on Sim as an athlete, the expectation on him as an ambassador was pushed up.span  /spanThis is the most important work Nat is doing.span  /spanThe largest impediment to great cross country results in the US isn’t a lack of training and focus.span  /spanIt isn’t a lack of passion or drive. (More on this as we work through other nominees.)span  /spanRather, it is the nearly insurmountable cultural block that keeps skiers from /spanembelieving /emspanthat winning races is possible.span  /spanIt is the New York Yankee-like dominance of the European nations.span  /spanTo beat this, the skiing country will have to rise above smarm and criticism (founding principles here at JohnnyKlister.com) and become more pro.span  /spanFortunately we have a great model in Nat Herz and his willingness to shed light into the darkest parts of our sport. /span/p
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