1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Looking for gamer feedback

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Cullen9, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Cullen9

    Cullen9 Member

    Hey guys,

    I was hoping to get some feedback on this gamer. This was written for a daily on deadline. After looking at it again, I have already noticed a few things I wish I could have back (I won't mention those things now, perhaps after feedback), but hey, that's what happens. I don't consider this my best gamer, or my worst, but I would say it's about average for me.

    Any feedback is truly appreciated.


    (NOTE: All names have been changed, my name has been omitted and all that good stuff.)


    LARGDON -- It’s only been nine games, but Mike Johnson is a world away from where he began this season.

    The senior guard started the season on the bench, shaking off the rust of not playing basketball for Otter Creek since the 2008-2009 season. He’d come off the bench this season and look to pass, but rarely took charge when the ball was in his hands.

    Now? Well, just try to get him off the court.

    Johnson scored 12 points and had six steals in the Otter Creek boys basketball team’s romping over Masonville last night, 77-18.

    “I think I was just a little rusty,” Johnson said. “It took me a little while to get into it, and after a few games starting, I feel a lot more comfortable with the ball. It just feels right now.”

    Seven of Johnson’s points came in the first quarter, while the remaining five came in the second. The Wildcats (7-2) didn’t need him -- or the rest of the starting lineup -- for the majority of the second half as they outscored the Wolves in the final two quarters 44-7.

    “His confidence is going up every day and you can see it,” Otter Creek coach Jason Marcus said of Johnson. “He wants the ball in his hands and everybody knows that he’s the one that’s going to do it. The beginning of the year he was trying to fit in and looking to assist, and now he’s looking for his offense. He plays incredible defense and now he’s starting to score for us.”

    That dominating second half was highlighted by a 33-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters. The Wolves (0-9) dropped the first bucket of the third quarter, but wouldn’t grab another point until Isaiah Page hit one of two free throws with 5:04 left in the game. Lonnie St. Thomas and Demitris Jackson led the way in the third as each scored nine points.

    While the offense clicked, the defense was just as good. The Wildcats racked up 30 steals as a team, with St. Thomas leading the squad with seven, while Blake Peterson had six.

    The Wildcats also owned the boards and second-chance opportunities. The team had 21 offensive rebounds on the game. Jackson led the team by pulling down four offensive boards, while also scoring 11 points.

    Otter Creek lost its first game in a month last week against Mascenic, 60-52. The Wildcats led for the majority of the game, but couldn’t keep the lead in the fourth quarter. The loss stung the players -- so they unleashed their frustration on the Wolves out of the gate last night.

    “I don’t think they were happy losing that game,” Marcus said. “Especially since we led the whole way and just kind of gave it away.”

    Marcus’s squad opened the game with a 17-0 run, highlighted by six points from Peterson and five from Johnson.

    The Wolves finally broke the streak when Joe Mattson hit a jumper with 1:44 on the clock.

    “I just think having a week off,” Marcus said, “these guys were ready to play.”

    Last night’s victory gave Otter Creek seven on the season -- just as many as the team had last season. The biggest difference from last year’s squad to this year’s? Experience.

    “We only lost one senior, so pretty much everyone came back,” Marcus said. “Those close games that we lost last year -- and there were a lot of them -- this year have kind of rolled our away. We still have a tough remaining schedule and a lot of those games can swing the other way.”

    While the Wildcats’ starting five did a lot of damage through the first quarter, their bench didn’t slouch either. Thomas Kane, John Carroll and Nick Perham each scored six points, while Tyler Ramirez chipped in four and played tough defense.

    “Last year we didn’t have that (depth),” Ramirez said. “But this year, we have six seniors and six juniors. We definitely have much more depth than last year.”

    “They did a great job,” Marcus said of his players off the bench. “They busted their butts tonight and worked hard defensively.”

    The second quarter was the only time the Wolves made a game out of it. The Wildcats outscored Masonville 14-9 in the frame, with the visiting team pulling off a last-second three-pointer to even make it that close. Thomas Kane scored four of his six points in the second.

    Also doing damage offensively was St. Thomas, who had 11 points, Peterson (eight) and Kaian Wilkes (seven).

    Otter Creek will look to make it two wins in a row when it hosts Conant (6-2) on Tuesday.
  2. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I'll bite. All in all a solid effort....I really like that you found an angle and focused on the kid working his way back into game shape because obviously the game was a stinker. It does feel a little rushed and there seem to be details missing....was he hurt, suspended, why didn't he play last year? And how does sitting on the bench help him work off the rust? Obviously he's doing that by being a sixth man type guy but by saying "started the season on the bench, shaking off the rust" it sounds like he's shaking off the rust, literally, on the bench. So just reword that sentence. I'm assuming the kid's story/comeback is common knowledge in your area, but I have no idea....don't assume the reader knows the background. Even a throwaway line like "returning from an ACL tear" or whatever it is would help.
  3. Cullen9

    Cullen9 Member

    Jimmy -- Thanks a lot for getting back to me.

    I toyed with the idea (perhaps, a half second) of putting in why he didn't play last season, but couldn't find the right place for it. But now looking at it, it definitely needs that and seems silly without it. (And he actually just decided not to play last year. He got a job instead. He was never even that good at basketball until something clicked this year...)
  4. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Good that you know the reason he didn't play last year has to be there. It does. Leaving it out leaves an unanswered question in the story. Sometimes you don't realize you're doing that when you're writing, and it takes someone else looking at the story to ask. If you don't have good editing, or there's simply no time for a good edit, it slips through. So as you're working, always be asking "why," and try to fill in all the unanswered questions in a story.

    As for where to insert that detail, I think it needs to go high in the story, since it's central to what you're saying about him. Maybe like this:

    “I think I was just a little rusty,” said Johnson, who got a part-time job <<WHERE, DOING WHAT?>> last winter and decided not to go out for the basketball team. “It took me a little while to get into it, and after a few games starting, I feel a lot more comfortable with the ball. It just feels right now.”

    In your other thread, last week or the week before, you mentioned trying to figure out ways to do features. You might have been able to do this one as a straight gamer, and then save the piece on this kid coming back to the team as a second-day story. If it had been a closer game, that probably would have been a good route to go. All depends on the situation.

    I do think it's good to featurize the leads of game stories, as you did here. It just depends on how much space you have to fill each day.

    Speaking of leads, for something like this one, you might think about writing a lead that paints a picture of this kid. Take me to what you see when he plays. Do you see evidence of his rust? Write a lead that shows the reader that. Everyone has their own preferences, of course, but I'm a sucker for leads that show me what you saw. If it's not there, don't force it, but if you see a moment that encapsulates what you're saying in your story, use it.

    Solid story, though ... as Jimmy said, good job finding an angle in a 77-18 blowout.
  5. Cullen9

    Cullen9 Member

    Great tips, Hacker. Thank you very much.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page