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Yet another gamer.

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Sean Smyth, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. Sean Smyth

    Sean Smyth Member

    There are two issues I struggled with when putting together this story, and I'd appreciate any feedback you want to provide.
    1. The lede. Mentioning a high school coach with a cigar... is it too much?
    2. Notice the kid's quote. I was torn on cleaning it up. The fact that a copy editor debated changing it but didn't raises my eyebrows, too. If he even considered it, it makes me think that it went over the top.

    TIA, folks.

    Saturday, Sept. 29, Boston Herald

    George Farro had a loose grip on the cigar in his right hand, holding it behind his back.

    For Charlestown High’s football coach, that cigar was sweet - just like his team’s 28-16 win against host East Boston last night.

    Farro, an East Boston alumnus who later spent a decade on the Jets’ sideline, relished this victory for more reasons than a win against his old school.

    It allowed Charlestown (3-1) to knock East Boston (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten and put the Townies in first place in the Boston North.

    “When I prepare my kids to play East Boston, I know I’m going against the best in the city,” Farro said.

    While the Jets have top-flight offensive players - senior running back Tyrone Figueroa gained 211 yards in the losing effort - Charlestown may have the city’s best return man.

    Senior Kareem Cutler scored twice on returns, including a key fourth-quarter score that put Charlestown in front for the first time, 20-16.

    That 65-yard punt return came with 6:16 remaining in the game. Cutler took the ball at the far hash, crossed the field, burst up the sideline for about 40 yards, then back across the field.

    “I seen an opening, and I went to it,” he said.

    In the first half, it appeared East Boston would dominate. The Jets controlled the clock, thanks to the efforts of Figueroa (174 first-half yards) and Frank Brown. East Boston led 16-6 at the break on two touchdowns from Figueroa.

    Charlestown’s lone first-half score was a hint of what would happen later: an 83-yard kickoff return by Cutler.

    The Townies made it a 16-12 game 46 seconds into the final quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Denneal Falconer (13 carries, 75 yards).

    East Boston failed to garner a first down on its next series, setting the stage for Cutler’s game-changing play.

    The Jets’ next drive stalled at the Charlestown 42, leading to a five-play, 58-yard scoring drive ended by a 1-yard Jonathan Turner touchdown with less than two minutes remaining.

    East Boston made one final push for the end zone. Cutler sealed the outcome when he picked off Jets’ quarterback Chris Dos Santos inside the 5-yard line.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Sean -

    Thanks so much for posting your work for us to share.

    Just a couple of quick thoughts this morning. First, the cigar.

    I have no problem with the mention of the cigar as a matter of principle. What I think you struggled with - and what I struggle with as a reader in consequence - is how best to paint the picture of it. Right now, as written, I'm not seeing it. Or at least I'm not seeing it clearly or colorfully enough to merit writing about.

    Loose in the coach's grip isn't descriptive enough. Nor is "sweet." Was it lighted? Unlighted? Did he have it clenched in his teeth for 3 quarters, then relax once the game was in the bag? Does he light it, a la Mr. Auerbach, as the horn sounds? Was it a big, fat stogie? A slim cigarillo? Is this his trademark? Or the first time he's ever tried one?

    Hard as it is to inventory even a few of those telling details in a sentence or two - especially without tipping into caricature or overwriting - that's the reality of what great writers must do.

    As to the kid's quote, I'd say this: I have no problem with the quote itself. I think the awkwardness you sense with it may come from what surrounds it. How you lead into a quote, or transition out of it, often determines how the quote itself is going to sound. In this case, I'd have tried to give that same quote a half-sentence worth of context before and after.

    My two cents on a Monday morning. Thanks again for posting.
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