‘Up From Leeds’ and ‘Charissa Thompson on her career path, women working in sports media’ Analysis

Charles Barkley and Charissa Thompson are both sport broadcasters. They’re both very popular among viewers. They’re both also misunderstood.

Barkley is an African-American man born and raised in Leeds, Alabama – the Deep South – at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. With that background alone, you think you might have him figured out.

Thompson is a blonde West Coast girl from Seattle who made her name in Los Angeles. At least on the surface, she sounds a lot like someone entering a particular entertainment industry.

Read more

‘The One And Only’ and ‘Career Arc: Tony Gonzalez’ Analysis

When I first clicked on the links to Greg Bishop and Robert Mays’ pieces in an email sent to us for class, I did not know what to expect. All the email said was the name of the writer and the publication of the nameless story, nothing more of major significance.

With that being said, it might come as a surprise to say that I knew almost immediately what each story was most likely about without reading a single word. Unlike in the email, a relatively small detail was all I needed. I looked at the headline photos in each – Dan Marino in Bishop’s Sports Illustrated story and Tony Gonzalez in Mays’ Grantland article – and thought what everyone with prior knowledge of the two players thinks of them:

Zero Super Bowls.

Read more

‘Redskins Rehash?: A Cross-Media Analysis of Broadcasts and Tweets on a Controversial Native American Name’ Analysis

Washington Redskins

 

Technology can come in a number of ways, but it’s often up to the discretion of its consumer on how it’s used. For some, it may be implemented simply to make matters more effective and efficient, or in some cases, come up with a solution to a problem.

Specifically speaking, though, it can help make sense of communication, particularly in sports. Television broadcasts, advertisements and social media are among the few technological advances that helped expand our knowledge in how we communicate in sports.

During the “Technology & Identity in Sport Communication” session at the third annual Alabama Program in Sports Communication symposium, four different presentations discussed their research findings on various topics using some sort of technology as their text. But it was the first one, the one about the Washington Redskins name controversy titled “Redskins Rehash?: A Cross-Media Analysis of Broadcasts and Tweets on a Controversial Native American Name,” that stood out to me.

Read more

‘Blood, Sweat and Teeth: Wild Nights with an NHL Dentist’ Analysis

Hockey just doesn’t do it for me. It really doesn’t. I have been to several games before and they are entertaining enough, but I just can’t latch onto it like I can with the other big sports – football, basketball, baseball and soccer – of the world. If I had to cover hockey at all in the future, I would be severely intimidated by the task because, for one, my knowledge of the game isn’t nearly as high as it is for most other sports.

That’s why when reading Matt Crossman’s “Blood, Sweat and Teeth” story from a hockey perspective, I don’t care much for it. I already follow too many sports too attentively, so I will gladly do without one. If I’m being completely honest about it, I would have likely skipped this story had it not been required for this class.

But when I read it as a human interest piece that just so happens to be about hockey, my interest suddenly piques. Good writing is good writing, even if the sport of choice doesn’t appeal to you.

Read more

‘My story: What happened when I decided to run for FIFA president’ and ‘Dylan Favre’s Roller-Coaster Life in Uncle Brett’s Shadow’ Analysis

As soon as I heard that Grant Wahl and Jeff Pearlman would be joining our class, I knew I could expect some fascinating anecdotes and beneficial advice. Not that I’ve ever had a negative experience with any of the many writers that I have had the opportunity to interact with before, but I already knew these are two guys who really stand out from the crowd.

Wahl is fully ingrained in the world of soccer, which I not only appreciate as a big fan of the sport, but because its media horde is so much different – at least in America – than the more traditional sports, like football, basketball and baseball. Instead of the usual never-ending congregation of writers and personalities that come with the other aforementioned sports, every soccer media type in the United States knows every other soccer media type in the United States – or at least that’s the way it seems to me – because it’s really a pretty small group. Chances are you’re not fighting 10 other guys for the same story.

Pearlman, on the other hand, is in his own world. I don’t say that as a bad thing; in fact, I admire it. Especially for a sportswriter, the path he has taken has been a bit unusual to say the least. I think I would be hard-pressed to find another prominent journalist who left a big-time job at Sports Illustrated to go do something completely different, which he did when he left for Newsday. But from my previous interactions with him through Skype (and reading his blog), he’s not one to follow norms. That’s why he will do a story from an angle no one else will.

Read more

‘Something Went Very Wrong At Toomer’s Corner’ Analysis

I have to say I was a little mystified when Tommy Tomlinson said he took a week’s worth of vacation to go cover a story that he had no guarantee of ever getting published anywhere. Who does that? Why would anyone go on a “vacation” where you work?

Then, I heard what he had to say.

In June 2011, Tomlinson went down to Auburn from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina to report the story behind the poisonings of Toomer’s Oaks perpetrated by diehard Alabama fan Harvey Updyke. For Alabamians, the significance of the story did not need to be explained. The same applied to Tomlinson, who, though not from Alabama, is originally from the region of SEC country known as Georgia.

Read more

‘A triumph of imagination: The last golden season of Army football’ Analysis

 

When I was, I think, maybe 10 or 11 years old, I took a trip up the East Coast from my home in Virginia to stay on a battleship for a few nights up in Massachusetts with the Cub Scouts. I remember my adventures there with my friends well.

But what I don’t remember too well, unfortunately, is a stop along the way on the trip – a visit to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Read more

‘Terror, Tragedy and Hope in Tuscaloosa’ and ‘The Curious Case of Rolando McClain’ Analysis

I know that my time in Lars Anderson’s classes has been worthwhile each and every semester, but I don’t know if I can fully explain all that I have learned. After all, it’s a bit of a tricky question because you aren’t really learning facts or trying to work out the solution to a problem.

But the one thing that has stuck with me from him that I can recount off the top of my head at any given time is that “losing is always more interesting than winning.” That might not be verbatim, but I think I get it. When you lose the purpose to win is bigger than it will ever be for a continuous winner. Losing builds character, while winning maintains the status quo. (I mean, which would you rather write about?)

From what I have been told by him personally, Anderson’s “Terror, Tragedy and Hope In Tuscaloosa” and “The Curious Case of Rolando McClain” stories for Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report, respectively, are two pieces that particularly give him pride. I already knew both well from previous reads, but it didn’t occur to me until re-reading them that they are strikingly similar.

Read more

My favorite sporting moment

Woodgrove Soccer 2012 Team Photo
2012 Woodgrove Boys’ Soccer Team

As I sat down to write this blog, it may have taken me close to an hour before I could manage to put a word on the page.

What are my favorite sporting moments? Or, why are sports so special to me? Sure, the opening paragraphs of any story or essay is always the hardest part (at least that’s what I like to think), but the answer to either one of these questions escaped me.

Read more

Sarah Patterson: Alabama’s persistent coach

Sarah Patterson Judy Bonner
Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson speaks at the dedication ceremony of the champions plaza named in her honor on Oct. 4, 2013.

My experiences with University of Alabama gymnastics Sarah Patterson had been limited before she came in as a guest speaker for my JN 418 class on a recent Tuesday night.

As someone who covers University of Alabama athletics as a staff reporter for The Crimson White and an intern with The Tuscaloosa News, I already knew plenty about her on what she has been able to accomplish in her remarkable career at Alabama.

I knew things like how she has won six national championships as the gymnastics at Alabama and that she had a humble beginning to her career compared to what the program is now. I knew things like how she was the last coach hired by legendary Alabama football coach and athletic director Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, but I have never really gotten a chance to really get to know Sarah Patterson for who she really is.

Read more