‘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.
After actually hearing Crossman speak about the story, I found out that he doesn’t necessarily like or care for hockey, either (even though he’s from Michigan of all places). I have also done stories like that (i.e. swimming, track and field and tennis) and though I thought I did a decent job on them, I’ve never really heard from a writer who willingly did these sort of unfavorable pieces.
So because of the good quality of “Blood, Sweat and Teeth,” it reassured me that a good, or even great, story on any sport is feasible for any writer, even if you don’t a thing about it. And when I look at it that way, it suddenly doesn’t seem quite as bad if I am put in this type of position again. I’m not sure I ever had that perspective before, but I’m glad I do now.
It’s easy to spot after hearing him make note of it, but the hockey terminology is sparse. Admittedly, he may have intentionally tried to avoid delving too deep into that for his own sake, but certainly it didn’t turn out to be as necessary as one might think. In fact, he said it made doing the story easier for him, which is always a plus for the writer.
Perhaps I am over-analyzing the situation, but it seems to me that Crossman’s lack of fear for the language he did or didn’t use allowed for more time in how he conveyed the story through his voice. In my opinion, I think that should generally be the way all stories are approached.
In hindsight, that is something I would have asked Crossman for his opinion if I realized it at the time, and I would’ve expected nothing less than a straightforward answer. I appreciated his completely truthful and honest look at journalism. Sure, it’s fun a lot of the time but it has its negatives, too, which he, and every other journalist, has experienced in one way or another at some point in their careers.
Believe it or not, there are actually worse things in journalism than having to write about hockey.