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Summer prep column

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by LemMan, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    Hey gang...again, any and all feedback is desired.

    Megan Dzikas loves basketball. Loves it.

    Manatee High's junior-to-be loves all sorts of sports - softball, volleyball and her newest endeavor, golf. But there is something about basketball, about the teamwork and the family environment it creates, that won her over when she was 11.

    You just can't see that she loves it. Dzikas, 17, knows how to laugh at herself (on why she's managing Manatee's volleyball team instead of playing on it this fall: "The short shorts ain't cutting it"), but she is miserly when it comes to on-court smiles.

    Wednesday night, Dzikas and Manatee hosted Venice and Sarasota for two summer-league games. And the guard was her usual self, flinging passes to open teammates, draining jumpers off the dribble and landing two rows in the bleachers while lunging for a loose ball.

    All the while, she looked about as happy as a bulldog.

    Summer ball has a beach-like vibe. The referees wear shorts, and the gyms are about a third full. There are no quarters, just two 20-minute halves played with a running clock.

    But Dzikas approached each game as if it were March and Manatee's run through the playoffs hung on every dribble, even shaking off an ugly collision with a Venice player that twisted Dzikas' left ankle and left her sprawling on her back.

    "A lot of people were like, 'Megan, this is just a summer league game,' " Dzikas said. "But I'm a very competitive person."

    That won't change any time soon. And no one in Hurricanes colors wants it to.

    Who needs a laid-back Dzikas when Manatee can have the one it had last year who averaged 12.9 points a game and sank 55 3-pointers as the Canes reached the Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinals. And Dzikas' play-to-win approach isn't bothering her teammates, who voted her a co-captain last season.

    She plans to keep her on-court scowl as a junior, and Manatee will need every bit of it - the Hurricanes, who came within three points of dethroning Southeast during last season's district title game, will enter the winter with one senior on its roster.

    They'll need Dzikas to be a leader. No longer will people marvel at her precociousness. Instead, they'll expect the steady hand of a veteran.

    "I challenge myself. I really love being a leader," said Dzikas, who occasionally stood alongside Manatee coach Flo Brazukas on Wednesday night and barked instructions. "I honestly do. I just love it."

    Like everything else, she wants to get better at it. So when Manatee recently attended coach Pat Summitt's basketball camp at the University of Tennessee, Dzikas paid close attention to Summitt and the Volunteers. She marveled at how positive and humble they were, how they cheered a girl after she scrambled for a loose ball but lost it on a traveling call.

    Ask Brazukas, and Dzikas was simply looking into a mirror.

    "She's already there," the coach said. "She's serious, she wants everybody else to be serious. She'll push you to be better."

    Judging by her hatred of volleyball attire and her self-deprecating approach to her fledgling golf game - during a recent trip to a driving range, the head of her driver went further than the ball - Dzikas is more than the machine-like player Manatee has learned to lean on.

    But she'll always be scowling, always be lunging, always be throwing herself into the crowd in pursuit of a loose ball.

    Most importantly, she'll always be loving every second of it.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest


    Thanks for posting. I did a quick line edit above.

    Tighten and reorder your lede for maximum effect. Keep like ideas together - don't split them up with asides. Remember, it's the ideas and the scenes in these pieces that are important. The words are just the handmaidens to the ideas. The rest is self-explanatory.

    I like the way you landed the piece where you began, with a clever little nod to her scowling love.

    Good job. Hope this helps. Keep posting.
  4. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    Good comments. Points well taken. Thanks for responding...I though everyone on this board was ignoring me.

  5. pallister

    pallister Guest

    This story looks familiar. Where have I seen it before?
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