In my opinion, there is increasingly less well written, intelligent, and thoughtful sports writing than in most other genres of writing. Maybe I missed the memo on this one; maybe sports are supposed to be aimed at the “common man,” and maybe this “common man” likes only four things: short sentences, simple vocabulary, beer, and chicken wings. Maybe a sports writer was the one who created this cliche in an article at some point, in which case maybe the majority of sports writers today are catering to a self-created stereotype.
Or maybe not. Whatever.
Regardless of the reason, the most common form of “intelligence” found in sports writing comes across in humor, attempted or achieved (*this blogger guiltily raises hand*).
Rarely is there introspection, thought for rationale, or a tangible sense of care about more than the highlight, the end result, the historical implication or place in the Record Book.
So, when some actual deep thinking presents itself to me, I am thoroughly refreshed, as well as a little more hopeful. I don’t want to have to write solely about base hits in the bottom of the 3rd, post game quotes, or fan attendance numbers for the rest of my attempted journalistic career.
If Chuck Klosterman can write with a psychological lens and damn sharp power of observation (as well as a sarcastic tone that makes me borderline high school girlfriend jealous) and still remain popular, perhaps I can find a niche as well.
Check out his article on ESPN.com that comes from the latest edition of the Mag. He writes about the Kobe/Shaq feud and makes me feel like it’s the first (obviously not) and last (obviously won’t be) piece I need to read on the situation. Brilliant.
Sports hatred is situational and generally metaphorical. Play-by-play announcers remind us that the Raiders hate the Broncos and the Sox hate the Yankees, but those alleged on-field enemies share the same agents and eat in the same restaurants and tip the same exotic dancers. If sports hatred feels real to the hater, it’s a self-styled fiction: hatred for the purpose of play. About 99% of the time, it’s a totally constructed emotion.