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Gary Smith piece on the Lamoureux hockey family

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Shaggy, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest


    I thought this was a great article. Not only did he dive into the family and how he got where they are, but he really dove into the issue of parents trying to groom their kids to be scholarship athletes. I thought it was well done, as Smith pieces usually are. I'm not even a hockey fan and never heard of the Lamoureuxs, but I breezed through this story.

    Anyone else get a chance to read it?
  2. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I just read it, and it's fitting that you would say you breezed through it.

    Because so did I, and "breezy" is exactly how I would describe it.

    That's not a compliment. I'm disappointed that I couldn't get as invested in this story as I wanted. Unlike you, Shaggy, I am a hockey fan and I wanted to like this piece once I realized what/who it was about.

    The research here is very thorough. There's plenty of wonderful colour. But the overall presentation is lacking. It feels disjointed. And there's simply not a great deal of substance in this telling.

    Smith wouldn't have needed to change much in order to make this a far more readable story. Actually quoting someone without making it seem apocryphal would have been a good start.

    Based on this article, I'm left only to conclude that the Sutters are still, by far, the most interesting six-sibling hockey family.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I thought it was an OK piece.

    The best part I liked was reading about the two brothers who decided to play a game of one-on-one during the wee hours of the morning while everyone else was sleeping.

    However, I would have liked Smith to have gone a little deeper with the one kid's depression. To me, it read like you have this nice, cute story of the six siblings, then out of nowhere, one of the kids nearly kills himself.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I agree. Although it was an engrossing story overall, and of course well written, there was not nearly enough material on how the one kid's depression issues affected the other members of the family. Did it cause them any doubts over their hockey-oriented lives and the demands (both parental and self-generated) for success?
    Or was that kid just the only introspective member of the family?
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Liked the story but found it a bit confusing. Found myself having to go back and reread parts.

    I too found the stuff on son with depression a little lacking. It seemed like a huge jump to now be a candidate for Hoby Baker award from where he was.

    Makes you wonder in this day and age if he had had suffered undiagnosed head injury.
  6. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    That's kind of where I was going with the suggestion that it seemed disjointed. It felt like I was suddenly reading a very literate "Afterschool Special." Perhaps this bit would have been better off as a sidebar. But Smith still would have had to, you know, use some quotes to properly illustrate how the kid's mental health issues affected everyone around him, and the family as a whole.
  7. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    I started it and plan to finish it, but I was bugged by the opening. I was bugged that he inserted himself into the story and bugged then that he switched from first person to second person. I love Gary Smith as a reporter and writer, but when it feels gimmicky it really feels gimmicky. I'll start over and get through it, but I'm still bothered by the lede/opening. If you can tell me why I'm wrong, I'm willing to listen.
  8. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I just ignored the opening, to be honest, once I realized that it didn't really pertain to the story at all.
  9. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    Interesting. If it wasn't written by Gary Smith, would you have kept going? Seems to me that you'd want that lead to grab you and make you clamor for more, especially a story like that. I mean, I enjoy college hockey and live in Minnesota. I know a bit about this family and want to know more. Now, what about all of the readers who don't live in the upper Midwest, who don't care about college hockey, women's Olympic hockey or hockey at all. Don't you want to pull them in? It seemed like the lead ended up being less important than the picture of the family on the ice.
  10. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    You just singled out the main reason I dislike many of Gary Smith's pieces. I didn't see the byline on this one, but once I dragged through that lede, I knew who wrote it.

    Skip to the graf that starts "Meet the Lamoureux family," and read from there. You won't have to be a hockey fan to be glad you did. (There I go using second person, even though I usually strongly dislike when journalists -- Gary Smith included! -- do it in their stories!)

    The stories on Harvard basketball player Jeremy Lin and Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf in the same issue are also outstanding.
  11. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Agree with all these. I found myself asking, "Did I misread the names? The kid with the depression issues isn't the one at Air Force, is he? How the hell'd he ever get into the Air Force Academy?" (Smith does explain that he was rejected at first, but eventually let in, but doesn't explain why, or if he was admitted with conditions --- such as, for example, he'd never be allowed to fly fighter jets).
  12. umiami06

    umiami06 Member

    It's kind of strange to see a topic on here from one of my beats -- never thought that would happen.

    To answer your questions, yes the kid at Air Force is the kid with depression. He was rejected at first and went to Northern Michigan for a year. He got a 4.0 while playing hockey for the Wildcats. He got a bunch of profs, friends, high school teachers, coaches, etc., at Northern Michigan to write letters to AFA and he re-applied. Then, they let him in.

    His older brother Phil, who led his Lincoln team to the USHL title the year the depression came to head, told his family that he would give up hockey to be with Jacques.

    Jacques only had like 2 points the whole year he was at Northern Michigan, so when he transferred to AFA and had 33 goals and 53 points as a sophomore, it was a huge eye-opener to say the least.
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