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How do you prepare for games?

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Skylar, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Skylar

    Skylar New Member

    I'm a recent college grad working for a national media organization right now. I'm getting ready to cover a college football game this weekend. It's my first since I was in college and sparingly covered some college football games (I went to Kansas, so it was still D1 power 5 but the team obviously was terrible).

    To me, this is unique because I'm covering a game where I need to find a story from either team, whichever is best to write. I've always been pretty good at preparing for stuff, especially in the last year, but it's different to me this time because I don't have a particular home team I'm covering.

    So, how do you prepare for games? What do you read? Any go-to stories, stuff like that? This will help me this weekend but most importantly it'll help for years to come.
  2. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    Drink a few beers.

    Get on the conference call with the coaches.
    daytonadan1983, Vombatus and wicked like this.
  3. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I find my hat.
    Actually, it's pretty simple. Go over the notes the team's media people give you. Find out what the respective coaches said about the game ahead of time - what they needed to do (better pass blocking, rushing the passer etc.) - find some players who represent whether they did or didn't do it.
    I gather this isn't Bama/FSU - but every team gets a reality check in their first game. You can always just tag along and do what someone who has been around a bit does.
    Most reporters kind of talk with each other to feel out what "the story of the game" is before hitting the locker rooms. They don't want their editor to wonder why everyone else wrote one thing and you focused on some offside call in the first quarter and dubbed it a momentum changer.
    But the truth is - most fans who watch a game already KNOW what the "story of the game" is. Your job is to explain the WHY and what it will mean for the team going forward.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    DanOregon pretty much nailed it. Read as much as you can about both teams. Go over the stat sheets. Study the media guides as well (nearly every major school pdfs its book and puts it online). Listen in to the conference calls as well.

    Make note of tidbits you might want to use in a story in your notebook or on a file on your computer. But don't feel obligated to use it all.

    One thing I always tell young writers is, even though the sports information folks are keeping and distributing play-by-play sheets and running stats, you should keep your own too. There might be a story you won't see otherwise.
  5. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Do what Dan said. I've covered games cold more than I care to admit, and it made the experience a lot harder than it needed to be.
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Know your subject. Read. Get an idea of what each team's story is going into the season, then write the next chapter. The story has already been told to this point. You're telling what happens next.
  7. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    It's also significant to consider that you are covering for a neutral outlet and thus will have a lot of readers who are not fans of either team.

    You can look more for just what's the best story instead of what's the most meaningful story to fans of that team. They are often two different things.
  8. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    And then bet on one of the two teams. /crossthread
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  9. NNDman

    NNDman Member

    This is an excellent thread with some great suggestions. Thanks to all who replied positively
  10. Skylar

    Skylar New Member

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