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Gibbs column - help appreciated

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Hustle, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Hustle

    Hustle Guest

    This was from the Gibbs presser yesterday. I think it's one of the better things I've written in a while, so hopefully I stay on a roll... what do you guys think?


    ASHBURN -- High-profile coach resigns, claims he wants to spend more time with his family: joke and punchline all in one, as if family was a way to wash away the stain of an underperforming outfit. Perhaps, then, it's noteworthy when a coach steps away for precisely that reason -- and means it. Or maybe it just speaks volumes about our own cynicism.

    Walking out of Joe Gibbs' press conference on Tuesday, when he announced his retirement as coach and president of the Washington Redskins, there was no such reason to be cynical. The reasons, all the right reasons, really are family: spending time with them -- his 2-year old grandson, Taylor, who has leukemia -- and being closer to the other family business, a successful NASCAR operation.

    Though he didn't elaborate on any other potential problems, Gibbs said his mind was mostly made up after returning from a quick visit to Charlotte, where much of his family resides.

    "I had a really good visit with everybody. And at that point, when I started back to D.C., getting on the plane that afternoon, I kind of had a real strong feeling in my heart of what I felt like [I should do]," Gibbs said.

    The look on Gibbs' face was serious, though the event had its share of light-hearted moments. Gibbs cracked that and he wife Pat were lucky to have had only two boys; his list of grandkids' names was long enough as it was. He saved his greatest thanks for God, saying he couldn't believe an average phys. ed. major would be blessed with the life he's led. It was a moment of humility, since Gibbs had the wherewithal to use that God-given talent to its fullest.

    Gibbs looked rested and ready for something new; he didn't look worn down or broken down, as the brutal grind of the NFL schedule can do to a person -- especially with the most difficult season he most recently endured, dealing with the death of Sean Taylor, a mounting injury list and the two-timeout gaffe that contributed to the loss to Buffalo.

    His assistant coaches sat throughout the overflowing team auditorium; offensive coaches Joe Bugel and Don Breaux sat together in the second row, while assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams leaned against a door in the rear. Williams didn't blink even as Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was asked about the likelihood of Williams succeeding Gibbs as head coach.

    Snyder said the process of finding a new coach would begin immediately, though he hadn't yet given any thought to who his newest coach would be. Gibbs was indifferent about who would replace him, saying the decision was completely Snyder's.

    Gibbs surely will have some sort of input into the decision. He'll remain with the Redskins as a special adviser to Snyder, though what duties that role entails wasn't clear.

    What was clear about Tuesday's announcement: Joe Gibbs needed time with his family, away from football, away from the franchise he helped transform. He'll now get it.

    "I just hope that my heart came across to everybody here," Gibbs said, "on how I feel about this."

    He needn't worry. A good and decent man left the building on Tuesday for all the right reasons.
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    That's really good. A great lede and you tied it all together at the end.

    The descriptive touches really made this for me. The line about the assistants were all lined up for the presser spoke volumes about how devoted they are to Gibbs. And the Williams observation was outstanding and hinted at the uncertain future for the Skins. Was williams stoic b/c this was Gibbs' day? Was he stoic b/c it's eating him up inside that his supposedly guaranteed gig is no longer guaranteed? Was he stoic b/c he's already thinking about his coaching staff for '08?

    Along those lines, the descriptive touches are what's going to lift you--the writer who doesn't travel with the Skins and doesn't spend every day at the facility--and your work above the competition. if you're not there everyday and not traveling all the time and not on a first-name basis with the coach (and my humble apologies if you are), you need to pay extra attention to the little things to prove to the reader that you're working doubly hard to offer the same insight as someone with more resources.

    Columns like this do exactly that.
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think it's all right, and not speculating on why Williams didn't blink is OK, too. It's a good detail that lets the readers wonder what not blinking means.
  4. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    The only thing I would say is to watch your word choice. Some might find it a tad overreaching to describe an NFL season as exhausting, especially when you are talking about leukemia a few grafs earlier. On the same vein, attaching Sean Taylor's death to a coaching mistake and some broken/twisted/sprained body parts made me stop.
  5. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Hustle,

    Liked the lede a lot, liked it overall, but your last graph left me wanting just a bit more, maybe not even another sentence, just another clause, detail. Just an impression. Could you, would you, expand on it?

    YD&OHS, etc
  6. silentbob

    silentbob Member

    I agree. You did a nice job crafting the column.

    Two things:

    Gibbs looked rested and ready. How did he do that exactly? Could you tell through his eyes? Actions? Voice? In other words, show, don't tell.

    The Williams didn't blink line. My first thought was "Did he really not blink? How did this guy really see that, especially from a distance?" Of course, I'm one of those people who read every word and try to figure out why it was used, so take this for what it's worth. As BYH pointed out, it was a brilliant observation, but probably one that could've been worded better. Just my opinion.
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