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Sportswriting. Let’s play handegg and jumpball !. What Are Sports, Anyway?. I mean, what makes a sport a sport? Why do they matter so much to us?. Let Me Be Honest With You. Sportswriting is painfully cliché much of the time.

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Let’s play handeggand jumpball!

what are sports anyway
What Are Sports, Anyway?
  • I mean, what makes a sport a sport?
  • Why do they matter so much to us?
let me be honest with you
Let Me Be Honest With You
  • Sportswriting is painfully cliché much of the time.
  • What are some of the most common clichés in sportswriting that you have heard? In pairs, come up with the worst offenders. Write a short sports story that is as cliché as you can make it.
how to avoid clich s
How to Avoid Clichés
  • Read about the sport and team to know what is already trite and overdone
  • Talk to the coach and players outside of the season and outside of game days to know them in a relaxed setting
  • Remember, sports stories are about people
  • Sports stories should ask why
  • Look for off-the-field relationships among the team that impacts what occurs on the field
  • Winning does not always make the best story. A team trying to win its first game could make an excellent one.
  • Sports is not always about playing the game; it goes beyond
what makes a good sports reporter
What Makes a Good Sports Reporter?
  • Know sports well: the rules, strategy, team and player records, etc. Become well-informed as possible, not relying only on prior knowledge
  • Work at detecting strengths and weaknesses of a team or individual
  • Don’t attend games as a cheering spectator; you might miss important aspects of the game
  • Support all opinions with facts
  • Be informal and original as possible!
develop a focus
Develop a Focus
  • Don’t simply go write a story about hockey. What aspects of the team and its achievements and failures make it most interesting? Focus on that.
sports slang and sports language
Sports Slang and Sports Language
  • Instead of this: “The 145-pound blazer rumbled through the giant grid of the goal line for a sweet six points,” …
  • …write this: “Senior running back Jonathan Belsher leapt over the defensive line from the one yard line to score the game-winning touchdown.”
sports slang and sports language1
Sports Slang and Sports Language
  • If a phrase is so ridiculous that no one would say it, then avoid it.
  • Nobody says, “grid mentor” to speak of a football coach. You shouldn’t, either. You don’t say “ice master” to speak of a hockey coach.
  • Use the specialized writing of the sport without getting too technical. For instance, a “jumper” wouldn’t need explanation, but a “swing backside on a lost post pick” would.
  • Stats are important to a sports story, but don’t get carried away.
  • Rather than say the running back “had a good day,” explain that he “ran for a season-high 220 yards and two touchdowns.”
  • Place statistics in context of the sport, too, so reader knows what they mean.
preparing to write
Preparing to Write

Consider these aspects when starting at your story:

  • Significance of event. Is title at stake?
  • Probably lineups and changes
  • Records of teams and individual players
  • Compare records of teams
  • Tradition and rivalry
  • Weather conditions
  • Systems of play and each team’s strategy
  • Rankings
  • Individual angles, like star players
  • Coaches’ statements
  • Who is favored
  • Crowd antics, new uniforms, etc.
  • Check pg. 105 in SJ
types of sports stories
Types of Sports Stories
  • Advance story: gives insight into upcoming game, builds anticipation, answers 5 W’s and H
  • Trend story: what’s gone on recently and why? While focusing on the past a bit, keep in mind the future is more interesting to readers
  • Sports news: what affects the sport beyond the actual game
  • Game story: tells story of game; looks for key moments, stats, or trends to weave this story
  • Sports feature: story beyond or behind the game; focuses on human interest; pg. 111 in SJ