Most sports fans have a desire to talk to their favorite players. Sending letters is one of the easiest ways to do this and it is often effective. Often times players will fulfill autograph requests through the mail and sometimes they will even correspond through a return letter. Follow some simple rules to get responses from athletes.
1. Keep it Simple
When writing your letter, make sure to keep it short and simple. Do not write a letter that is more than 200 words. Many athletes are interested in fan correspondence but few have the time to read lengthy letters. Here is a short list of things I have mentioned in my letters:
- I think you had a great playing career.
- I'm glad I get to listen to you as a commentator now.
- I got to see you play.
- You and "X" made a great team.
- Your 19XX season was amazing.
2. Ask Questions
Players will rarely engage in correspondence without first being posed a question. Questions will largely depend on if the player is still playing and if they are it is less likely they will return an answer. During the off-season the likelihood will increase, but many players are so busy during their season that personal responses take too much time. Here are some questions I have asked in my letters:
- Are you still doing analysis at ESPN?
- Do you have any interest in managing?
- Do you think the team will be successful this season?
- Was it difficult returning from injury after the 2000 season?
- Are you still involved in the game?
3. Be Honest
Some players are skeptical about signing autographs for fear that they are just going to be sold on Ebay. If you're a 30 year old truck driver, put that in your letter. Let the player know who you are in a couple short sentences. Most players are able to identify if you are genuine and will respond positively when they know a little about you.
4. Be Polite
Say 'Thank You." When I would send a card to players I would typically add the footnote: "If you're a card collector as well and you don't have this card, feel free to keep it." I have had players send me different cards with autographs in exchange for the card I sent them. These usually include a letter to explain which is a really special bonus. Also, you're asking for time from a stranger, it's appropriate to be grateful.
Hopefully these few tips will help you get some letters from your favorite athletes. They sure worked for me!