First off, let me tell you that I’m no English major when it comes to writing but enjoy writing as an outlet for the very little creative side I have. I also thoroughly enjoy seeing my self addressed letter in the mail which I look forward to when coming home each day (aside from my wife and child of course!). Here are a few ideas to cover if you’re writing to a current or former player.
While this may not be for you, I like to prepare on what exactly I want to write to the player about. I generally think about things such as:
- How have they affected me (did I happen to have passed by them at a previous meeting)
- What things have affected them recently (trades, overcoming medical issues, awards, olympics, world junior tournaments, etc)
- How they’re playing (are they performing really well at their level?)
- If they’re retiring (congratulating them on a great career)
I prefer a personal statement opposed to the “You’re my favourite player for these reasons..”. Not that that won’t work, it might and likely will. I’m assuming after reading 100s of letters having a bit of personality and thought into what you’re sending can’t hurt anyone. It’s a hobby and if we wish to have players continue to sign, we need to give them a good reason to (hopefully!).
I usually start off my letter as a “Hi <Player Name>”. I don’t want to be too formal, although some of the older, retired players may appreciate the sign of respect if you refer to them as a “Mr.” or “Mrs.”. Pick and choose how you want to open the letter to the player.
The body I typically write anywhere between 5 – 10 sentences as I don’t want too lengthy of a letter to the player. As discussed above, be creative, personal and a fan when you’re writing. I wouldn’t chance the money I send in stamps on a letter I could have spent an extra 5 minutes thinking about if that what was the difference between what I got back vs the letter / card being thrown out.
At the end of the letter, a typical signoff is sufficient and in the past, I’ve usually included a note such as “PS – if you have some time to sign the enclosed cards, that would make my day!”
That’s basically it! I keep it simple, don’t try and write generic messages or too lengthy. I’ll do my best to keep this page up to date, with any new ideas or creative ways to catch the players’ attention.