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College Student looking for tips and opinions

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by djsquid06, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. djsquid06

    djsquid06 New Member

    Hey everyone, as an inspiring sports journalist, I am looking for any and all tips on how to improve my writing. I'm going to post a feature I recently wrote for my internship. I hope you all can critique and advise me how I can make my writing a little better.

    I know my writing is missing that flash and originality that separates the good writers from the great, but I'm hoping to attain it within the next two years in school.


    It's hard to consider the Capital Region a wrestling hotbed when no collegiate wrestling programs exist within 65 miles.
    No programs? No problem. Frank Popolizio will get them to visit, and just maybe, a few young wrestlers will be inspired by what they see.

    Popolizio's efforts have attracted some of the best collegiate wrestling programs in the country to the Capital Region. In addition to founding the Northeast Collegiate Duals, now considered one of the top early-season meets in the country, Popolizio made arrangements for 34-time NCAA champion Oklahoma State to hold its summer training camp at SUNY Cobleskill, where the Cowboys are wrapping up today.

    So just how did a 37-year-old insurance salesman become the Don King of amateur wrestling in the Capital Region?

    It's simple, really. He loves the sport and will do whatever he can to spread its gospel.

    "It was about the process and the journey for me," Popolizio said. "I was infatuated with mental preparation and weight control that was needed. The process makes you strong. You learn life lessons that make you a stronger, more prepared person."

    He wrestled at Niskayuna High under legendary coach Joe Bena and later wrestled for Springfield College before quitting to focus on academics.

    Though no longer competing, Popolizio stayed involved with the sport. He would often give his brother and cousins pointers while home on college breaks. They gained the nickname "Cellar Dwellers" for their frequent practice sessions in the basement.

    Popolizio's brother, Pat, went on to wrestle at Oklahoma State and currently is the head coach at Binghamton.

    "Frank was a good wrestler that absolutely loved to coach," said Bena, now the wrestling coach at Duanesburg High. "He was always coaching those guys. You could tell it was something he loved to do."

    And most of the wrestlers he taught became successful. While his brother was at Oklahoma State, Popolizio founded Journeymen Athletics, with a goal of creating wrestling competitions and clinics in the Capital Region. He started Journeymen Wrestling Club in 2004, teaching and training amateur wrestlers in the area. The club now has 350 members.

    Popolizio, who's also an assistant coach at Shenendehowa High, said he was inspired by what he saw when he watched his brother wrestle in a match against Iowa, another perennial power.

    "There were 14,000 people in attendance," he said. "It was amazing to see that kind of energy at a wrestling match. I knew it wasn't a tradition back east, but I thought it would be awesome to have something like that."

    He organized the first Journeymen/BRUTE Northeast Collegiate Duals in 2002 without much support. The meet, held at Niskayuna High, drew only four Division I teams.

    "People used to say that it wouldn't work at first," Bena said. "They thought it was a good, passionate effort by Frank and that it wouldn't succeed."

    Only 300 people came to the event, volunteers included, and Popolizio cleared $123 at the door. But he persisted, and the local wrestling community started supporting the event. It outgrew the gym at Niskayuna and last year was held at Hudson Valley Community College. The 2008 event, slated for Nov. 28 at HVCC, has commitments from four of last year's top-10 programs.
    "It's amazing to see how much this event has taken off," Popolizio said. "We've gone from four Division I schools in our first year to 17 in this year's competition. This is what happens when many people collaborate on a single effort."

    Popolizio organized another tournament in Binghamton on Nov. 23, which means, as he points out, "Within seven days, one-third of all Division I wrestling programs will be competing in New York. That's incredible in an area that does not have a wrestling program."

    The tournaments get the most attention, but Popolizio said it's the training camps, such as the one Oklahoma State is concluding and the one Iowa will hold July 13-17 at Binghamton, that have the most influence on the area's young wrestlers.

    "At the New York Giants camp, you go and watch the guys do their thing. At these training camps, the kids actually interact and train with the best of the best," he said. "They do the same thing these guys are doing. It's a very valuable experience."

    Bena said of his former student, "It's amazing who he has gotten to come to the area. He's convinced Olympic athletes and historic coaches to come and help out these kids and promote wrestling."

    And Popolizio does not plan to let up.

    "The program is merely trying to help these kids out," he said. "If they understand the discipline that's required in becoming a great wrestler and apply that to everyday life, they will be the best at what they want to do. That's what we're trying to instill here."
  2. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    This is a pretty good piece, a good read, but nothing real exciting. I'm from this area, so I know popolizio and journeyman and the whole thing, so maybe it's my familiarity with the subject.

    Definitely a good job for someone just starting out though.
  3. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    yeah, agree ... it's well-written. I just am not sure what it's about. i read it three times and i'm not sure what the nut graph is.

    I'll tell you what though, if Oklahoma State's wrestling team actually holds its preseason camp in Cobleskill, N.Y. - which is what i gather - that would be a hell of an interesting story to me.
  4. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Squid, check your private messages.
  5. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Master Squid,

    I'm inclined to think that the stuff in your first graf could have gone in your third graf. Show a wrestling vignette, establish personalities, whathaveyou, and then hit with the idea that all this comes in the absence of a wrestling program. While I'm at it: Rhetorical questions as a way to advance a storyline? No.

    YD&OHS, etc
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