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Saturday, October 18, 2008


Lazy Fall Afternoons = Sports Writing Opportunities

by LuAnn Schindler

I enjoy Saturdays in autumn. College football games fill the day and evening. For a sports lover, every Saturday is a football frenzy at its finest.

I went to my first Nebraska football game when I was in the fourth grade. My parents still have those season tickets, and now, I attend and sit in those seats. (Thanks, mom and dad!) Growing up, we not only attended the home games in Memorial Stadium, but we would travel to cities in the Big 8, and eventually the Big 12, to watch this team of young men play for 60 minutes. I witnessed rambunctious routs and lousy losses. And in the Cornhusker state, I learned about pride, tradition, honor and dedication.

Yes, I grew up living and breathing college football.

So what does that have to do with writing?


How many sporting events do you attend? Are your kids involved in club or high school athletic competitions? If so, you have plenty of sports writing material in front of you, waiting for your experiences to be shared. Think about it. There's the atmosphere of the game or a lesson you learned while in the stands or your child learned while on the field. Write a personal essay and share your insights. EXAMPLE: I am writing a YA novel about an unscrupulous coach who ruined a young girl's basketball dreams. Part fiction, part truth, but I'm taking lessons I learned with my own daughter and applying those to the book.

There's the possibility of a gender gap in learning the rules. Why not write a Football 101 for Females. Or if you know someone who is into fantasy football, how about explaining that phenomenon to a female audience. EXAMPLE: I once wrote an article about joining a fantasy baseball league. Since I didn't really know how to play and didn't change my lineup very often, it was amazing that I finished first in the league.

Where are the best spots to eat or grab a brew before the game? Write up the best spots and submit it to a magazine or newspaper close to one of the opposing teams that will visit your college town. What sets these places apart? And why are they fun to attend. EXAMPLE: I wrote a blog post listing the top five restaurants in downtown Lincoln and the top five "hot spots" with pre- and post-game specials. It got picked up by a regional sports magazine.

And it wouldn't be fall or football season without some kind of tailgate party. Have any recipes that would be a hit at a gathering? Think recipe writing, food and food safety articles, with a sports-season twist. EXAMPLE: I came up with some recipes that are family favorites when we tailgate before the game or at "the spread at halftime" during out-of-town games. Several have been published, and one finished 5th in a state-wide cookoff.

Know a player that makes a difference off the field? What about a profile for a local paper or magazine? EXAMPLE: Last year, the regional newspaper I write for asked me to interview a young man who led his team to a state football championship. Interestingly, his years of service at his church were what really stood out.

The possibilities are endless!

Don't let the world of sports writing intimidate you, especially if you aren't a huge sports
fan(atic). There are plenty of other sports-related sidebars and stories to pen. And then, you'll score and be on the board!

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Blogger Alison said...

Great post! Nebraska was one of the teams I rooted for in years' past as well, but no one comes between my 'Noles and me come gameday! Although I do like the ideas for writing in the mix. Fall is not just for falling leaves and writing with a hot beverage on your desk; it's for tailgating bbqs and going hoarse trying to be the backseat/bleacher sitting coach!


6:01 PM  

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