Being a sportswriter is easy, regardless of what those covering the PGA Tour will have you believe
My fellow magicians will likely be upset that I’m unveiling one of the secrets of the trade, but, hey, I’m a rebel so here goes:
Being a sportswriter is as cushy a job as you can find.
Not only do you get to watch sporting events for a living, you generally get to watch them from great seats. You have your own parking area. Organizers of whatever event will have a separate area set up just for sportswriters where they can file stories. They feed you. And there’s always an event PR guy running around making sure you have every last available piece of information they can find. And you really don’t have to be all that good of a writer.
I can say this with authority because I am a sportswriter. I’ve covered events ranging from the Little League World Series, to high school girls soccer, to UCLA basketball, to the Arena Football League, and all stops in between. I’ve interviewed athletes like Bo Jackson and Vince Young, and living legends like John Wooden. And sure, I’ve had athletes blow me off or disrespect me, but it’s a small price to pay. I’ve been a commercial fisherman and a truck driver, as well, so I have a fairly decent concept of what’s hard and what isn’t.
I felt it necessary to mention the ease of sports writing after I saw the following comment to my WorldGolf.com Magazine column “Vijay Singh may not coddle golf writers but with 31 wins on the Tour, he deserves his due”:
“Obviously, your web site writer doesn’t cover much PGA Tour golf. If he did, he would know that Vijay Singh holds the media with much more disdain than we could ever hold him. We have been bullied, ignored, insulted, cursed at and treated with utter contempt by Vijay for the crime of doing our jobs. We would love to give the world insight to a fantastic talent. Instead, we are forced to give the world insight to a bitter man,” wrote “Floridasportswriter.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, it would make a sportswriter’s job even easier (if such thing were possible) if every athlete you encountered was thoughtful and forthcoming at all times, but blasted human nature makes that an impossibility.
So when I read Craig Dolch’s scathing blog about Vijay Singh - one day after Singh won the Arnold Palmer Invitational - I thought just one thing: it was bush league. And Dolch is by no means the only one guilty of it, as several other reporters also felt it necessary to interject themselves into Singh’s win.
By all means, readers want to know what makes their favorite athletes tick. And one of the things that makes sportswriters stand out is the ability to develop an understanding of an athlete. But it’s not as though there was some great scoop in telling people that Singh isn’t overly fond of the press and then pointing out how you felt slighted and how horribly hurtful it all is and Singh is undeserving of respect. Trust us, it’s been made clear. Going off on a tangent about Singh the day after he wins on the PGA Tour is just plain unprofessional.
To me, you see things like this and you look at someone like Barry Bonds and have to agree that he may have a point - he’s a notorious jerk to the media, and reporters do have a penchant for putting him in a bad light whenever possible. So when reporters find rock solid evidence that Bonds is a cheat and Bonds shoots back with, “they’re all out to get me,” you can’t just disregard it.
There are a lot sportswriters out there who do amazing work and are a pure delight to read. But don’t think for a second that it’s some type of burden. Being a sportswriter is a cake job - at very least you can be professional about it.
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Models complain about their cake jobs too. They should try a couple of days as a commercial fisherman. I mean fisherperson.
If you had bothered to research the facts a few things may have popped out at you. Such as, Singh was unceremoniously botted off the Austalasian Tour for cheating. Talk about class, as he was leaving Augusta National on what should have been his crowning achievement, he paused and yelled at the top of his lungs, "you can all eat @#$%" in the direction of the media center. This certainly inspired those who were fighting the deadline to regard him in a less than glowing light.
All Vijay is doing now is reaping what he has sown. For the rest of his career and beyond he'll be remembered as a player who was fairly branded as a cheater and a champion with class, albeit the lowest form.
the sort of questions no one who'd bothered to set foot on the course would
ever ask. And BTW, Singh did not yell any comment, and especially not that
one. My colleague (who was actually there lklndjo, were you?) reported that Singh muttered, "You can all kiss my ass." Certainly not warm and fuzzy, but considering
that people of color have not always been accepted at The National, and that
the press questioned his major-winner status at every turn, it was understandable.
And BTW, I've covered majors, I've covered seniors, I've covered LPGA, and I've covered silly-season events, both with and without deadlines. And I will tell you that in
all of those cases, I was the ONLY member of the press to walk the entire course with players on all days of the events. And as Shanks notes, I got the best information
from watching and thinking, not relying on answers from tired pros to knuckle-headed questions from sportswriters who mainly carry their own cushions around in their pants with them.
This is by no means as hard as you'd like to make it out to be. Plus, did you notice that golf events end before it's dark? And it's really no grand achievement to have your story basically written in your head/notebook by the time the final putt falls. And everything happens in front of you. It's not like the Dow Jones falls 15 points and you have to analyze why, and get authoritative opinions before you post a story.
Aside from that, what Kiel said.
You're right. A blogger only has to show up, have an opinion and only a casual interest in the facts. Then type something, send it and go home. That is a great gig.
You sort of missed a main point I made early in the blog.
All Vijay is doing now is reaping what he has sown.
So you believe a sportswriter's job is to always make sure some type of karmic justice is upheld?
Hey, you'll get no argument from me, Wolfie. If you can do it, anyone can.
(Grudgingly) Well played.
Just as much as I do not expect a private audience with some famous people, I do not understand why the media think the celebrities owed them something. Last I checked, journalism does not have to go through vigorous certification/qualification test. Any Tom, Dick, and Jerry can do it as long as they are hired by a media outlet - On second thought, you don't even need to be hired if you are a freelancer.
Yes, above is my 'editorial comment'....Perhaps that makes me an 'editor'.
Leave it to Jim C to inject Bubbles into the discussion regardless of the subject of the blog.
Perhaps he has Bubbles in his head.
Being a blogger isn't necessarily easy...
I take my blog very seriously and the only reason I even continue to write about golf is because I really love it. For those people who think it only takes a few minutes to write a quality blog, think again. During my twelve hours/6 days per wk on my current job I am always thinking about what interests me this week and how to relay it to my readers.
I don't know how long it's supposed to take to write a blog but mine usually take several hours of writing, rewriting and then re-reading several times to make sure the details are in order. Hardly a "type it and then go home" ideology.
B) Sportswriting IS easy...who writes sports because "it's a living"? People work in fields, factories, and streets because it pays enough. They choose to write sports. If their language skills suck turpentine, then they get fired. If you don't know how to use Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, they you shouldn't be writing sports. If you don't know how to read the works of others in the time that you are not writing and watching events (and avoid plagiarizing) then you shouldn't be writing sports.
C) Sportswriting as Rick Reilly and Tom Chiarella have perfected IS difficult. There are others who write at their level, but redundancy and repetition are unnecessary (unlike most of my blogs)
D) Some of us who blog are mildly or severely inspired by blog thoughts at all hours of the day, and just poop them out into our laptops or desktops. If Stacy truly works at her blog with due diligence, then my toupee is off to her.
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