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Writing about Sports – Short Essay

21W.015: Writing about Sports

Karen Boiko

Essay 1 (3-4 pages)
Write a short essay that grows out of a memory related to sports.

Your goals
• To write an essay in which you discover and make meaning for yourself;
• To make the essay as interesting for readers as you can;
• To write clear, energetic sentences, and well focused paragraphs;
• To write with specific, sensory details that make your stories and ideas come alive; and
• To create an overall shape or structure that adds to the clarity and power of your images and ideas.

Basic options
In your essay sports may be the main focus of your essay: Why you stuck it out in Soccer league; discovering a talent for a sport; becoming a fan of a player or team; a coach who played a significant part in your life… Or, sports may be a vehicle that leads readers to consider some larger idea—family, ritual, discipline, a need for heroes, why we root for a team, the creative aspect of being a fan. . .

Further options
• This essay should be informal (conversational, familiar) in approach. The tone is up for grabs; it may be serious or humorous, nostalgic, ironic, puzzled, persuasive, or….
• You may make reference to any of the texts we’ve read so far, as well as any other text that comes to mind; you may also include references to plays, movies, songs, comments by your best friend, your grandmother, the school lunch lady… In other words, you may enrich your essay by including other voices.

• Your essay must develop an idea—not just be a series of memories, scenes, reflections and/or allusions to texts. (See “Idea” on Stellar under Resources.)
• It must be 3-4 pages double-spaced (approx. 1000 words).
• It must follow the format given in “Format for Essays” on Stellar.

• The best essays do not tie up their ideas into too neat a package—i.e., they don’t look or sound like “5-paragraph” essays. Rather, they build in the writer’s own sense of exploration and discovery—they invite readers along on a journey.
• Because this essay is so short, you will want to pay particular attention to proportion and pacing—i.e., beware the tendency to let scenes and stories become so long that they don’t allow the essay’s ideas to fully unfold.