Tales of a Teenage Sportwriter

Curt HoggCorrespondent IIMay 22, 2010

Article ideas hit me over the head at random instances—in class, on the couch, while shooting hoops, on a run, or even lying in bed.

They often appear when I'm not even contemplating article ideas.  In this case, less is more. When a concept strikes, it feels like a flare just ruptured in my brain. There are hundreds of sparks just waiting to pop, and eventually they all will.


Balancing Act On Life

I'm not always able to follow up on every lead because I live in a world that needs constant balancing. I am currently balancing school, sports, writing, and a social life, all of which require a certain amount of time. Being indifferent to one disturbs them all.

My balancing act at times gets in the way of a good story.

I can't see everything the same way as some of the senior writers and featured columnists.

I'm only 15-years-old and still receiving expereince as a journalist. I have yet to uncover a ground-breaking piece that garners tons of hits or achieved the esteemed Article of the Day.


Few Resources

My family only has one television. The channel is mainly secured on ESPN when there isn't a game on elsewhere, such as TBS, FOX, or FSN.

Up until a week ago, my computer was the slowest in town. It took 10 minutes to load the Internet.

Consistently writing about sports at an elite level is not the easiest thing to do as a freshman who has limited resources.


Growing Up

I first found my love for athletics as a child in Ecuador. Sports were scarcely on television, and if there was a game on, it was merely soccer. This is where, around age four, I learned how to hit.

A few years later in Peru, I was able to watch Monday Night Football. Aside from the weekly checking of scores, this was my dose of football.

Baseball was never avaliable. My team has always been the Brewers, but I knew little about the team, besides that fact that they were awful.

A move back to Milwaukee in second grade changed my view of sports forever.

I became a peewee junkie. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel fed my love with game recaps of the Bucks, Badgers, Brewers, Packers, and Golden Eagles.

I went to six Brewers games in 2003, my first summer back in the states.

This pattern has continued all the way up to my current days, when I lug my six-foot, skinny, lanky frame to Miller Park.


Bleacher Report

My love for sports was further nurtured as my youth continued. In December of 2008, I stumbled upon a treasure, hidden in the vast World Wide Web, called Bleacher Report.

My intuitiveness caused me to explore, and I picked up an immediate interest in sports writing.

Now, after almost 18 months on B/R, I have decided on my desired future occupation—sports journalism.

Any teen on B/R wants respect from the elder, more experienced members—the senior writers, the featured columnists, the analysts, even the 20-something-year-olds. These are the people that can receive 2,000 reads per article.

Gaining recognition has not been the easiest thing to do.

Only one writer, Leroy Watson Jr., has had the graciousness and taken the time to comment on my profile more than once about my writing.

Just a small compliment goes a mile in pushing a young writer.


My Writing Progressions

Bleacher Report has done marvels in my writing. Looking back at my old works, the recent ones clearly illustrate my development.

They are much more fluent, precise, and captivating.

I have recently received eight lead stories, three "hot reads," but my read total has yet to reach 2,000. Compare this with the best, and I don't look so hot.

None of the "Kiddie Korps" (Watson) has taken a journalism class in college.

No one has decades of experience under his or her belt. We haven't been on B/R for a relatively long time.

Our sports memory dates back no further than 1997 or 1998, and that is for the older teens. The first sporting event I distinctly remember is going to a Brewers game at County Stadium in 2000.


My Education, Technique, and Weekly Newspaper

The furthest literature education I have is ninth grade Honors English.

No class, book, or teacher has guided me through basic journalism. Techniques have been picked up on my own by reading the works of the best, such as Peter King, Chris Ballard, Hadarii Jones, Jameson Fleming, Grant Wahl, and Watson.

Not all of my thoughts go online.

Loose-leaf paper takes the majority of the impact from my constantly thinking mind. Paper and pen create a world of words, numbers, and names.

The paper could be filled with a list of the NBA's best dunkers or 1,000 words on why I love sports. Brett Favre might take up a page, or it could be Kevin Durant. The fireworks explode in my mind when I write.

As if notebook and pen and B/R aren't enough, I publish a weekly sports newspaper.

The Cheesehead covers multiple sports and is a hit amongst my peers, which are possibly the harshest critics. The first year of the newspaper is wrapping up and I'm just getting started. I was named Editor in Chief for the school paper next year as a sophomore.

When I write, I can be Buster Olney or Bill Simmons. And then I realize I'm a 15-year-old writing on loose-leaf. So I keep writing. How else will I improve?


Aspiring Teen Sportswriters

I guarantee that there are other teen writers like myself.

We take in hours of ESPN, dozens of articles online, and every sentence in Sports Illustrated.

We are on Bleacher Report, whether you notice us or not.

We strive to get better and to earn more exposure.

For this to happen, support from fellow writers has to be evident. You don't know the power and motivation initiated with an encouraging comment.


Inevitable Passion

While writing a draft for this article, the Brewers were losing 15-3. I watched every pitch from the third inning on—that's how much I enjoy baseball.

Even when watching my beloveds getting walloped, the crack of the bat and the pop of the glove remains still intriguing. 

Frustration mounts during this 1-10 streak the Brewers have going. It sucks to watch them go out and lose every day, so I put my thoughts on paper.

I'll admit to crying after a couple of losses, specifically, Packers vs. Steelers (2009), Packers vs. Eagles (2004), and Badgers vs. Davidson (2008). Sure, I'm not all too proud of it, but all men cry about losing something they're passionate about.



Coming into this article, I wasn't sure on how to vividly describe being a teen sportswriter, so I'm giving you all I know. My experiences are in this article. My hopes, thoughts and words have all been reveiled. 

It will take time to progress into an advanced journalist. Honors English is nice, but I'm not settling. I have to continue learning, watching, and writing.

So read my words. Listen to my voice, my opinion. Understand what it's like for teen writers and watch me go.


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