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Busting the WW cherry

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by amraeder, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. amraeder

    amraeder Well-Known Member

    OK, this is something I've been meaning to do for a while. Sadly, like getting my oil changed, it's also it's something I only think of when I don't have time or ability to do that. So, in honor of the fact that I'm about to run out the door to the office before heading to a football game, here's my last football gamer.
    Hopefully I'll find the time to do this more often, since I don't get the constructive criticism I need at work.
    I figure this is just like sex, it's my first time, so feel free to be rough, since I won't know any better. (If calling me a "Dirty whore" helps in your criticisms, have at it.)
    Jokes aside.....
    (Oh, PS, the transition from NewsEdit to web to here left it with some formatting issues. What were bullets are now "*" and, umm, there are no indents, and long dashes are now apparently normal dashes, and maybe some other stuff I didn't notice. Such is life.)

    Kenny Lewis' smile was as wide as the football field he'd turned into a personal playground.
    Hoisted up on the shoulders of a teammate, Lewis surveyed the scene built largely on his back, his legs. His fellow Malemutes were jumping up and down in the far end zone of West Valley High School football stadium, a jubilant swarm of purple and white contrasted against the early-evening dusk, chanting "Whose house? Our house!"
    They made it theirs Friday. Thanks to the man with the radiant smile.
    Lewis was the Lathrop offense against the Wolfpack, running for 306 yards and scoring five touchdowns to become the unquestioned alpha dog of the second annual Dog Bowl, a 63-10 Lathrop victory.
    "This was like the biggest game of the season," Lewis said. "They got us last year. It's the Dog Bowl, we've got to bring it home."
    For Lewis and the Malemutes, the win - and the chant - was payback for last year's 35-3 loss, one that came on their own field.
    "They came over and tagged our car, and we was pretty mad about that," Lewis said. "So, we came over and showed no fear."
    Using his speed to get to the outside and deadly stiff arms to break free from would-be tacklers, Lewis gave the Wolfpack defense plenty of reason to fear him, including five big ones:
    * A 9-yard sprint between the tackles for the first score of the game.
    * A 35-yard touchdown run that that saw him get to the second level, then juke past Wolfpack safety David Eastman, the last man between him and the end zone, to make it 14-0.
    * A 75-yard scamper out of the shotgun that he took outside the right tackle before cutting up field and breaking two Wolfpack tackles for a 41-10 Lathrop advantage.
    * A 53-yard slash through the Wolfpack defense to give Lathrop a 46-point advantage heading into halftime.
    * A 10-yard score on his last touch of the game before head coach Pat Romans called timeout on their next drive to send Lewis off the field to an ovation from his team.
    "Kenny has really matured and bought into the system," said Romans, who later said he thought the senior's performance was a Lathrop record. "The first three games, he was putting 50, 60, 70 yards on the board, but we just couldn't bust him loose. Today, we wanted to reward him for all his hard work and get him the ball as much as we can."
    Lewis praised the hard work of his offensive line for the breakout day, but the line turned the spotlight right back on No. 31.
    "It was mostly our speed - mostly Kenny running it up the middle, A.J. (Allen) taking it on the side," said senior guard Peter Aumau after planting a kiss on the metallic Dog Bowl trophy.
    For their part, the Wolfpack answered Lathrop's quick 14-0 lead by marching down the field for a touchdown and a field goal on their next two drives. But a litany of mistakes - an Eastman touchdown catch called back by a penalty on West Valley's first play of the game; a dropped pass in the end zone; a fumble and interception, both inside the red zone, and two missed interceptions that later turned into Lathrop scores - proved their undoing.
    "That's what comes with a young team, though. It's growing up," said Wolfpack sophomore quarterback Sam McKinstry, who finished 9-of-27 for 210 yards and three interceptions. "We were in the red zone a lot. We've just got to capitalize when we're down there."
    It's those types of growing pains that head coach William Russell expects his team to grow out of eventually.
    "There's a point in your life where you've got to step up and learn to overcome adversity. And they will. I've got all the faith in the world in these kids," he said. "It's easy to step up when things go right. But I think you become a stronger man and stronger woman when things go wrong and you keep your head up high."
    The Wolfpack had a hard time keeping those spirits up after a pair of teammates were taken off the field in ambulances. Eastman, their top receiver, was taken off the field after coming down on the back of his head following a hard tackle on his 49-yard reception, and offensive lineman Parker Rogers was taken off the field at halftime after suffering a blow to the sternum.
    Russell said that Eastman was moving his feet and hands and wanted to get up before being removed from the field, while Rogers' injury may be to the muscle or to an organ.
    "A 74-yard touchdown called back because of holding, losing your key players … but that's part of adversity and you've got to move on," Russell said.
    Friday, the adversity was one-sided - something Lewis did his best to make sure of.
    "I achieved my goals today," he said.

    I deleted your name and number. -- jgmacg (Thanks jgmacg! -AMR)
  2. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Well, since I received so much help on my recent story, I'm going to try to do a bit to critique some other stories -- particularly this one, since it's sat here for days with no comments.

    Anyway, I think the story is fine overall. Nothing too fancy, but it's a gamer and gamers don't typically need much fancy. And I like how there's not too much play-by-play. That would get boring in most stories, let alone a blowout like this. Also, you've got some good detail, what with the chant and the image of the kid smiling atop his teammate's shoulders.

    I personally don't like your use of 'deadly' to describe the guy's stiff arm, unless he really did kill somebody with it and if he did, your story is missing something pretty important. That's one of those words I think we as sports writers should try to shy away from in most instances, along with 'kill' and a host of others.

    Overall though a fine gamer.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    AMR -

    Thanks for posting with us, and thanks for your patience. The Workshop oldsters have been swamped lately - what with our shuffleboard tournament and the active-seniors tai-chi class we all signed up for - so we've been even slower than usual. My apologies.

    I think this is a sound game story, and makes all the right noises.

    My tips would be these: Tighten the lede by a sentence or two. Right now there's a little too much going on and a little too much color. And a couple of images - smile/playground, scene/built/arms/legs - colliding. And the dusk image needs to be dialed down just a little. So trim a bit.

    Then take what you've trimmed from the scene of the hero being carried off the field, and use those leftovers as your story's ending. Right now the piece doesn't really end, so much as it just stops.

    Beginnings and endings are fantastically important. No matter how rushed the deadline, give them their due.

    Thanks again for sharing your work with us.
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