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Cheesy Sports Writing

Do you want to be told that the Gophers let a storm loose on the Highlanders, or do you want to know exactly how the Minnesota Men's basketball team effectively re-energized their game and soundly defeated UC-Riverside 75-38 to extend their record to 4-1?

After reading William Zinsser's "On Writing Well" I agree with his description of bad sports writing, "The ego of the modern athlete has in turn rubbed off on the modern sportswritter. I'm struck by how many sportswriters now think they are the story, their thoughts are more interesting than the game they were sent to cover."1

The question I proposed above could be asked of the sports desk at the Star Tribune. The article covering the latest Gopher basketball game tries to integrate cute parallels between the excellent three-point shooting of the Gophers and the blizzard happening ou
tside of the arena. the piece's title is "On chilly day, Gophers heat up from outside" and the article later reports, "They kept the blizzard from the three-point line going well into the second half," and "The storm started early in the first half after a personnel change," in reference to the three-point shooting streak.

This is not reporting, this is compensating for not having reported.

In a more fresh and simple manner, the MN Daily wrote about the game in light of the Tuesday loss the Gophers suffered to Florida State, 75-61. The Daily reported, fter the senior trio of guard Lawrence McKenzie, forward Dan Coleman and center Spencer Tollackson went a combined 8-of-31 in the Gophers' 75-61 loss to Florida State on Tuesday, Minnesota's big three came to a mutual conclusion: "We must be more productive." The college newspaper later commented on a meeting in the locker room held by the players, and that this match-up between UC-Riverside and the Gophers was the first ever.

That is sports reporting. It gets to the point.

Though the story written for the Strib does exhibit the signs of good reporting, quotes, facts, etc., it relies on the weather to tell a sports story. The sports should be the news.



William Zinsser, On Writing Well, p. 184. Harper-Collins, New York.