08 May Why I Use Profanity In My Writing
“You work in youth sports. You shouldn’t have a potty mouth.”
“Watch your language. It makes you sound less qualified.”
“Your profanity takes away from the content of your articles. You don’t need it to write a strong piece.”
Now that I’ve been blogging for 3 years, I’m under a lot of radars. In other words, people know who the fuck I am.
And obviously, that I use profanity in my prose.
Though my language has calmed down compared to when I first began writing back in 2015, there are still F-bombs sprinkled throughout my work.
Some people dig the F-bombs. Some people don’t.
In fact, those who don’t, feel they’re watching an episode of Jerry Springer where they only hear “bleeps” and nothing else.
Instead of paying attention to the scientific methodology, coaching cues, biomechanics explanations, and soccer training philosophies, all they’re tuning into is “fuck this” and “fuck that” and thinking ‘omg-Erica-said-this-and-she-is-going-to-Hell-and-hates-puppies-and-is-a-terrible-human-being-for-cursing.’
Look, I’m a good human being. But hey, I get it. I say “fuck” a lot. Big whoop.
Alas, after hearing these complaints (I can only count 3 complaints out of my 10,000 readers), I still had to sit down with myself and ask: was I being too inappropriate? Is my career in youth sports doomed by tossing around F-bombs?
You can probably guess the answers to these: 1) No. and 2) Fuck no.
Why I Use Profanity
Taking the conversation back to the points above, let’s dive in:
1.) “You work in youth sports, so therefore, you shouldn’t have a potty mouth.”
Cursing in front of kids is icky.
But you know what’s funny? I don’t do it while coaching. Rather, I talk about unicorns, Disney World, funfetti cookies, rainbows, and Star Wars during my sessions. Heck, I’ll go as far as to give SAT test-taking advice, or predict Game of Thrones plot twists. It’s all good stuff.
Sure, on my blog, I do whatever the fuck I want, but when I’m on the pitch with a group of 8-13 year olds, you bet I’m using child-friendly jargon. Put another away, my focus is to teach soccer, exercise science, and youth physical development. I take my job seriously like any other coaching professional.
I do my best to not send kids home crying to mommy and daddy, saying, “coach Erica used the F word, and I got really scared and uncomfortable and kicked the ball out of bounds and tripped over myself and rolled an ankle in shock of her language, and then saw stars and the ending of the world.”
That hasn’t happened. Even if it did, it wouldn’t be this dramatic. The world wouldn’t end. Beyonce would still be a queen. And red wine would still be the nectar of the Gods.
After all, it’s just language.
Not all of my writing, however, is raunchy. To that end, I take my freelance work seriously, especially when writing for Stack or chiming in on articles with Women’s Health, Shape, and Livestrong. I follow the rules of their language and writing guidelines, and keep it classy. You can see me behaving in my articles for other publications here.
Alas, people still ask me, “but what if your players read your blog? That has a ton of profanity.”
Chances are, if they’re 8-13 year old athletes, they won’t read my blog. That’s the honest truth. Kids are busier playing Pokemon, perusing their phones, eating snowballs, or taking selfies.
And even if they do read it, it’s nothing they haven’t heard in the middle school hallway, or seen on their Instagram feed before.
2.) “Watch your language. It makes you sound less qualified.”
For some reason, profanity has been linked to being dumb.
Excuse me for sounding pompous, but I survived Johns Hopkins University as a student athlete, made Dean’s List several semesters, graduated with a degree in Economics, traveled to Brazil, survived the Amazon Jungle while eating maggots for breakfast, made a canopy out of tree leaves (thanks to my machete), escaped the Amazon jungle by talking to the natives in Portuguese, got out, and somehow made it back to the states and obtained my Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Performance Enhancement.
Oh, and this was all while having the words “fuck” and “shit” in my vocabulary.
Fuck outta here with the dumb argument.
Funny enough, I remember I had a conversation over the phone with a coach about this. He said, “your knowledge on youth training is amazing, but I don’t want your use of bad language to take away from your knowledge.”
Okay, fair. But…
I’d argue using profanity has allowed me to hammer home my main points. In fact, I wrote an article called How the Physical Improves the Technical and Tactical Components of Soccer and dropped the F-bomb several times.
I opened one point with, “here’s where soccer gets so fucking cool…” instead of “here’s where soccer gets cool.”
Which one grabs your attention more? The former, no doubt.
To my surprise, one of my 13-year-old girl soccer players read this piece. While you may think she pointed out my profanity first, she actually pointed out how much she LEARNED about soccer performance. She also mentioned she couldn’t wait to apply what I wrote in her soccer life.
It’s also worth mentioning that everyone has a short attention span. What profanity does is it grabs attention and delivers a message with conviction.
And not to blow sunshine up my own ass, but I write 800-1,000 word articles (which is pretty fucking long for someone to sit through), and you know what? People actually read my shit. <– a good book to check out on this: Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit (And What You Can Do About It).
So why do people read my shit? It’s 1) exciting 2) comical and 3) authentic.
3.) “You don’t need profanity to write a strong piece.”
The only way to light a fire under someone’s ass is to write with zest.
My best performing article You’re Not That Busy: No One Cares About Your Hustle proves this.
What I thought was just an article calling people out on their “busy-ness” transpired into a life-changing piece for thousands.
In fact, I was told by several people this line changed their view on being busy:
“Please spare us the Facebook status about your 12 hour day. Are you really that busy that you had time to compose a status about how busy you are?
Fuck outta here.”
The “fuck outta here” one-liner made people laugh, re-think their lives, and make time for loved ones. In other words, it hit home.
Isn’t this a good thing? That nasty language served as the impetus for someone to make positive improvements in their life? Methinks yes.
With that said, sometimes, people need a spicy call-out like this in order to take radical action.
The power of profanity is tremendous, no doubt. It delivers a needed punch.
Not only has it kept my readers interested, and eager to make life changes, but it has kept me sane.
Truthfully, I feel so immersed in the present moment when I write like this. It’s not forced. It’s not fake. It’s just me having fun and fucking around. In fact, I have profanity to thank for being able to pump out more than 380 articles in 3 year’s time, and write 800-1,000 word articles in an average time of 30 minutes.
Sure, not everyone will approve, and sure, people will criticize.
But yo. If people are offended by what they’re consuming, yet still consuming it, let alone bitching about it, what does that say about them?