Welcome to my website
Who am I?
I’m one of those journalistic oddities: a writer not employed by any newspaper, whose column appeared weekly in one of the papers he wasn't employed by.
Now that we’re clear on that …
I came to column writing serendipitously. The opportunity arose shortly after I was hired to coach varsity baseball at New Hope-Solebury High School in Pennsylvania’s fabled Bucks County, a scenic locality whose literary tradition – James Michener, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufmann et al. – was about to be cheapened by my arrival.
When the editor of the New Hope Gazette learned that I write, he suggested there might be a column for me, naively thinking I’d provide a coach’s-eye view on community sports.
Not exactly what I had in mind.
I sent him some pieces I’d written. None came within a Yankees pinstripe of the community sports angle, but he liked them and saw in them the promise of … something local … eventually … maybe? It remains a promise unfulfilled.
The coaching job lasted two years or thirty disgruntled parents – whichever came first. The column, though, made it through five years until the paper died, providing weekly commentary to a community and region long known for its artistic character and discerning judgment.
Intelligent, witty, literate, original … just some of the words that maybe someday they’ll use to describe me, as opposed to what I currently get: affable, spells correctly, doesn’t bother anybody.
No one wants to read four years’ worth of columns on a website, so I’ve selected mine sparingly. They’re grouped thematically, except for those in "Newest," which should be called "Endless Newest" because I never learned how to move them into "Recent," and those in "Recent," because I never learned how to move them into "Gone."
So take a look and stay awhile. There’s a What I Do page where I tell you about the kinds of services you can pay me for. There’s also an About the Writer page filled with salient facts about That John Shields – like what he’s done with his MBA degree and why he’s ingested oh, let's just round it to 80,000 pills in the past 25 years. Read it for starters, or for laughs. Then pick a theme and dive in.
I appreciate that you’re spending some of your valuable time here, and I hope you enjoy the visit. Spread the word if you feel the word merits spreading and please come back.
Simple. My name’s already claimed on the Web. Seems my doppelganger is an expert chef specializing in the cuisine of the Chesapeake Bay. I’ll give him this: His site is more mouth-watering than mine.
Choosing a domain name can be a bottomless, yes, bay of possibilities, and before you know it, you’re on Medicare. So ThatJohnShields.com it is. Feel free to say it with an air of recognition, resignation, or even exasperation.