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If you could write a 5,000-word takeout on one athlete, who would it be?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Take it all into account. Their sport, achievements, their personal life, quote-worthiness, whether they actually have a good story to tell, whether their story's been too played out. They can be active or retired.

    One thing: You actually have to speak to them. And they actually have to speak to you.

    So..no poetic, quoteless essays, no eulogies, and no giant piece about how, in the end, they actually refused to talk.

    After you pick the athlete..what would be your angle?
  2. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I'm actually writing just such a thing now. 5,000 words is a lot, turns out. Choose wisely.
  3. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Joey Cheek (who should have been the SI sportsman of the year, BTW)

    Giving his Olympic gold medal winnings to a foundation for Darfur and inspiring others to follow. Now he's quit the sport (for the time being at least) to concentrate on college.

    At least that's the guy that came to mind first. I know there are plenty of others equally as worthy of the Jones-Esquire treatment.
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member


    It is indeed a lot. Who's your athlete?
  5. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    On second thought, I'd love to profile David Zabriskie. He's a current athlete, best buddies with Floyd Landis, had some very harsh words for anyone doping the last time I talked with him and recorded the fastest average speed time trial in TdF history.

    Plus, the guy is a Grade A nutjob in a lot of ways.
  6. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    Ah, I think I have to keep that secret for now, Alma -- not being coy, just being careful. It won't be out till April, and I don't want to get beat on it. But I've written about him before, twice, so I knew I'd be okay.

    Last athlete I wrote five grand on, cold, was Matt Leinart. Luckily, he was pretty good. You get assigned more than 2,500 words on someone, you better hope for something good.

    I mean, the success of these things is almost entirely dependent on how good the athlete is as a quote, and what kinds of "scenes" you get with him. Spinning 5,000 words from a locker room sitdown is tough as hell. Get them at home, or out and about, and at least you have some color to lean on.

    I think this has the chance to be a great thread, by the way. I'm going to stripmine the shit out of it for ideas, and I'm not joking.

    1) Joey Cheek.
    2) David Zabriskie.

  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Do enough people know who Joey Cheek or David Zabriskie is to warrant 5,000 words.
    I doubt it.
  8. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    This was a good one.

    My first thought was Mario Lemieux. I would think it would be interesting because not only was he a top player, but also was an owner and it would make an interesting story about the last 20 years of hockey. I don't know that he would be especially interesting or compelling, but I think it would be a really interesting story.

    If we include those not living, I think Joe DiMaggio might be the best if he would open up. But the reason it would be interesting is because he never really told his story. The son of an immigrant, a high school dropout, married to Marilyn Monroe, and a legend to the point where he was part of a Hemingway book and a Paul Simon song.
  9. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    But they should.

    My thought is a 5,000-word story should not only be about someone many people already know virtually everything about. A big piece of work can very well be about a person out of the general spotlight. They've usually got better stories to tell anyway.
  10. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Agreed, Idaho. But that person has to have at least enough name recognition to draw people in.
    Personally, I have no idea who David Zabriskie is and very litle idea about Joey Cheek. I'd have no desire to read 5,000 words on either one of them.
  11. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    I'd interview Nick Saban, then give him a takeout with a swift kick to the nuts.

    Or I'd just interview LeBron James and try to find out what it was like growing up without an adolescence.
  12. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    That Terrell Owens guy. You never hear much about him.
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