Fantasy league

Get your mind out of the gutter. Sweaty Men Endeavors is not the type of Web site you might imagine. It has “a slightly gay name, but it’s still a sports blog,” says creator Ian Casselberry, 32. “I wanted something that would sound a little smart-assed and would attract attention when [people] see a link to it.” It seems to work.

Casselberry grew up in Ann Arbor wanting to be a sports columnist. That hasn’t happened — not yet, at least. But with the blog, Casselberry has become what he describes as a “fantasy newspaper writer.”

His blogging began as a way to keep in touch with friends while attending the University of Iowa, where he majored in creative writing. Along with info about his daily life, he’d riff on news stories or comment about pop culture. It was a way, he says, “to scratch a writing itch that wasn’t getting scratched in my classes.”

After graduating in May, Casselberry moved home to help his mom after his father died. Since then he’s been struggling to break into the freelance market, making ends meet by taking on temp jobs.

He kicked off Sweaty Men Endeavors in September, because he was worried about turning off followers of his original blog, Fried Rice Thoughts. “When I wrote about sports, that would definitely interest people,” he says.

Casselberry says sports are “almost a universal topic with people.” He finds Detroit teams interesting because “people really invest a lot in how the sports teams do around here,” he says. He finds this to be true regardless of how well a particular team is doing. When asked what his favorite Detroit team is, he replies, “Unfortunately, it’s probably the Lions. They give me a lot of material.”

Each of his blog entries features lots of photographs and links to names and places within the text. Credit for quotes and pictures is given where it is due. A look through the “Sweaty Archives” reveals entries with titles like “Are you #$@%ing kidding me??,” “How lame is this duck?” and “You’re a fan when it HURTS.”

He tries to update his sports blog daily, to “try to impose discipline on myself as a writer,” he says. It’s a way of keeping sharp until the freelance assignments start to materialize. And, who knows — there’s also the possibility some editor will see his work online and help turn his fantasy job into the real thing.

Sweaty Men Endeavors receives 40 to 50 hits each day. Occasionally he receives comments from readers outside of the metro area, even out of state.

This comes as a slight surprise to Casselberry, who has no delusions of grandeur. “If it has filled a niche, I’m not aware of it,” he says. “There are plenty of sports blogs out there.”

So is sports blogging the new sports talk radio? Casselberry doesn’t think so. “I don’t think it will phase out radio,” he says. But he does prefer blogging, saying, “I’d rather write than wait on the phone for 30 minutes trying to get on the air for 30 seconds.”

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