Watching a Sporting Event as a Journalist
I was given the opportunity to write a “textbook” chapter over at the Bleacher Report blog. I picked the topic of “how to watch a game” because it was a struggle when I first started in sports. T.V. (and radio before it) has trained us to watch the result instead of the process. Because of that, sports fans miss 90% of what actually goes on! As a writer, it’s my job to tell that story as well.
The setting of picks and off-ball screens in basketball can provide a myriad of information while the point guard is idly dribbling in one spot. The infield shift in baseball can be infinitely more important than the pitcher shaking off his catcher’s third sign. In football, following the ball leads to complete ignorance of what 20 of the 22 men on the field are doing.
Train yourself to watch different players at different points of the game. Focus on a defensive end/offensive tackle matchup. Watch how the center posts up his defender in anticipation of a pass that may never come. Notice the infielder hustle to back up a throw that he hopes will never get to him. You’ll learn more about the game and have more to tell your readers!
I also touch on the importance of immediacy and uniqueness which amateur writers often overlook in attempts to be thorough and “one of the herd.”