Becoming A Great Sportswriter: Where to Begin, and What To Say?

Greg MarshCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2010

MIAMI - DECEMBER 06:  Wide receivers Sam Aiken #88 and Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots sit on the sidelines while taking on the Miami Dolphins at Land Shark Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 22-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

I absolutely LOVE sports, particularly hockey. I grew up in the era of Gretzky, Lemieux, Trottier, Bossy, get the picture. The 80's were a great time to be a kid loving hockey. 

Like many kids in Ontario and other parts of Canada, hockey is life. Basically, if we weren't eating, sleeping or going to school, we were playing hockey in some way or another. Whether on the neighborhood rink, the parking lot of a nearby school, or on someone's street, occasionally interrupted by the made-famous "CARRRRRRRRR". Thank you Wayne's World. The game was forever imbedded in our hearts, with the dream of someday breaking in on net, deking one way, then another, and burying the game-winning goal to win the Stanley Cup. Hockey, you had me at HELLO. Playing the game comes naturally to me, 

On the other hand, writing about hockey, takes a lot of thought. Remembering all your facts and supporting them with valid points, are important if you want anyone to read your articles and take them seriously. I am still learning all the time about what it takes to be a good sportswriter, and I love the challenge. 

I have written a half-dozen articles ranging from Aging players seemingly at the end of their careers, to Paying a huge price nowadays to see a Major League sporting event, to saving long-time traditions in sport. I just write what's on my mind, and someone usually edits the format, no big deal right?

Well, I aspire to be better. I pay attention to most of the current events happening in sports. One thing I still cannot stand is the ridiculous salaries athletes are paid. I'm not going to get into specifics, but I really respect the pioneers of every sport, that played for the love of their respective sport. Recently, watching the Legends of Hockey DVD, different players like Gump Worsley, Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe to name a few, were all in agreement that they all would have played for next to nothing, just to continue doing what they loved for a living. I'm sure the same holds true for every sport, or every career for that matter. If you love what you do for a living, it's not even like "WORK".

Another thing is the "coddling" of pro athletes. Recently, Randy Moss was quoted as feeling "unwanted" by the New England Patriots, simply because he wasn't signed to a longer-term deal. Well, maybe that's because players like you Randy, sign multi-year deals, and then after a year, sit on their derrieres. Back in the days of old-school team owners, if you didn't play, and were upset at your contract, you were gone! There were 100 or more players just chomping at the bit waiting to take your spot. I heard a story once of a hockey player back in the 50's, that was traded. Before the season started, he approached the new coach about getting a raise, and said: "Coach, I was told before I was traded, If I had a good year, I'd get a raise." The coach responded, "You think I'm paying you to have a Bad year?"

I like writing about sports because I love sports. Growing up athletic, and constantly being competitive made me this way. Telling it like it is, also just being me. I try not to get into arguments about things I know nothing or little about. And this is the way I believe you should govern yourself when writing. Know your stuff, and support it. I cannot stand talking to someone spout off how so and so did this one year, and this guy won this trophy, all along knowing that they're wrong. My best advice, is to write what you know, and what you're passionate about. And leave the editing to a pro...