Improving the Online Sports Article

I am having particular trouble finding a genre with a form that needs improving. I would think that the form that most writers use would be the best there is, otherwise why would they continue to use it?

A large portion of the pieces that I read are about sports. I have found that I enjoy reading about sports, which would make sense because of my passion for sports, but I do feel that the experience associated with reading online sports articles could be improved with a minor addition to the current format.

As it is now, sports articles can simply provide the reader with an adequate illustration of the situation by using strong imagery while also not taking away from the substance of the article. One way to give the reader a fuller picture of the situation would be to simply show the reader what happened. Fortunately almost every sporting event is broadcast and recorded by a camera to ensure that each and every play is captured for the ages. Integration of these videos into the normal article would significantly help the reader to understand the situation and grasp the significance of any specific play a writer decides to highlight.

I can see how this might be a distraction for the reader, to have to switch from reading to watching, so one way to avoid this becoming a problem is to make the videos an optional component to the reading experience. Present the reader with the opportunity to watch the video, but don’t make it necessary to watch the video to understand the dialogue.

This addition wouldn’t work for print articles for obvious reasons.

Who can you trust? Definitely not me

How would my portfolio be different if I had chosen a different piece to repurpose?

Thinking back to the start of the semester, I remember the struggles I went through to choose a paper to repurpose. I considered a couple of papers from my English 125 First-Year Writing course and the papers I wrote in my English 225 Argumentative Writing class. I ultimately chose the final paper I write for English 125 which was centered around the topic of Empathy. I am confident that my portfolio, would not have been drastically different from what it is right now had I chosen a different paper to repurpose. When I chose the paper, it set the grounds for a collection of works that all had some ties to empathy. My Repurposing and Remediation show this relationship more explicitly than my Why I Write, but my Why I Write still has the underlying connection to empathy.

If I had gone a different direction with the paper, I still believe that the portfolio would be related to empathy and connecting with others. I strive to be as empathetic and caring as I possibly can be, and this shows as much of my writing, even before this portfolio, are closely related to empathy.


Claims that I think are true (persistent, consistent) – would be true regardless of what else is going on in the portfolio

  • I feel that all the claims I make would have been made regardless of the rest of the portfolio
    • I wrote this essay largely independent of what I did with the other projects.

Claims that I was prompted to make because of the rest of my portfolio

  • I do not feel that any claims I made were made just for the sake of consistency with the rest of the portfolio
    • This might prove to be a bad thing if the Why I Write essay seems out of place when juxtaposed with the whole portfolio.


How much do I trust myself in my assessment of why I write?

I feel that what I wrote is true as I do write for these reasons, but this paper does not feel like it is totally trustworthy and true to who I am. This largely is due to some internal conflict regarding my own view of myself. I feel that I am not actually a writer.

I am a person that possesses many abilities. I like to believe that I am a good volleyball player, but I would only claim that I am a volleyball player in a volleyball setting. I play volleyball to get better and to showcase my talents, which I find to be fun and is ultimately why I play.

I hope that in the future I will be a great Athletic Trainer, but that will only be true if I possess the skills to be one. I plan on pursuing a career as an Athletic Trainer, and if someone pays me to be an Athletic Trainer, then I would feel comfortable calling myself an Athletic Trainer.

When it comes to writing, I do not feel like I can claim I am a writer. I do think that I have some writing skills, and when I write I get to showcase these skills. This product that I can showcase is a big reason of why I write.

I do not discuss this logic at all in my paper, so I guess it turns out I am very untrustworthy.

Categories and My Portfolio

Ranking (strongest to weakest):

1. Idea

2. Voice

3. Composition

4. Prose

Thought Process Behind the Rankings and Hopes/Fears

My best case scenario for the above categories combining together and complementing each other to create a symphony in writing form is a well executed portfolio where my ideas are original and innovative in a way that allows me to showcase who I am as a writer (voice). In this perfect situation, my voice is powerful enough to evoke emotion and inspire the reader (composition). The quality of my writing (prose) should also contribute to boost the composition. My Repurposing Essay does a good job embodying what I want to do. The format, a letter to the refugees affected by the Muslim Ban, is the idea that gives me a phenomenal platform to use powerful language (prose) and express my own values (voice). For this piece, I want the formatting to be a significant portion of the composition, as I want it all to read and look like a letter. My greatest anxieties about the portfolio and these categories involve concerns that the inconsistency in topic between the Repurposing/Remediation and Why I Write will affect composition of the portfolio. I am always concerned about the quality of my writing, no matter what I am doing so I do have some prose related anxiety.

Thinking About My Reading Behavior and Figuring Out Why I Write

From my behavior as a writer, I am now aware that I believe that all writers have bias. As a writer, I do not necessarily attempt to avoid my own bias, but I hope that I am at least always clear and upfront with my writing and bias. I do not want to hide my motives for writing. I try to lay out my ideas in a logical and easy to understand order with the intention that readers are not overly complex.

I also admire creativity and innovation from writers. This admiration comes from the belief that not all writers and writing is creative. I want to be original and bring ideas into my writing in a fashion that has not been seen before.

Finding a balance between these two concepts, understandable clarity and innovation, can be difficult, but that is simply part of the writing process.

Reading Experience – Mixed Feelings

Admittedly it has been some time since I have had the opportunity to read a book for entertainment. If I’m not reading a textbook, my main source of literary stimulation comes from reading about sports. Currently, my favorite writer, Shea Serrano works for a website called The Ringer that produces pieces on a wide spectrum ranging from sports to popular culture. I was first introduced to Serrano’s twitter account, which I found especially appealing because of his comedic takes on NBA players and games.

The latest piece of his that I read was an article titled “If You Could Change NBA History, Would You?” which can be found here:

I enjoyed the premise of the article. I found it deeply creative and innovative. He doesn’t just ask the question that is the article’s title, he goes further and creates a somewhat plausible situation that makes the question relevant while also adding in some comedic value.

Throughout the article, and in most of his writing that I have read, he has an incredibly relaxed, conversational tone. He has a very informal tone throughout, which is fitting for the genre.

I do not have many qualms with his writing, but if I was forced to choose a negative reaction I had while reading his article, it would be that he is not totally clear about his bias. If you are a long-time reader of his, you understand that he is a huge San Antonio Spurs fan. Some of the comments he makes are more understandable if you have this knowledge. If you are a first time reader, some of the sections won’t make a ton of sense (though using context clues you might be able to guess at his bias).

I cannot say that I have too many negative feelings toward any of Serrano’s writing, so this blog post might not be exactly what was asked for in terms of mixed feelings.

Why I Write Examples and Analysis

I began my journey to find Why Everyone Else Writes by simply Googling “Why I Write.” Unsurprisingly, the number of examples I had to choose from were intimidatingly high, so I panicked and immediately typed “sports” behind my previous search term because that felt safe to me. This yielded an interesting article by J.A. Adande, a sportswriter for ESPN who I vaguely knew of from previous experiences watching sports. His article was titled “Why I Write About Sports for a Living.” As I read it, I realized that sports are the author’s main passion and from that the author was able to justify his actions, including becoming a writer.

I found two other articles off of the internet and found a similar underlying effect. In an essay titled “Why I Write” by Tom Schachtman, he writes about a more profound, or rather less tangible, passion that he describes as “curiosity.” He uses a number of anecdotes to explain how curiosity was so fundamental to his development as a writer and how his greatest breakthroughs in his work was due to his curiosity.

The second article I found online was written by Zetta Elliot. In her piece, her main passion relates to her difficult childhood. She writes to recover from her youth and to make sure her voice is heard.

The two MiW “Why I Write” essays I read were written by Sean Anderson and Tommy Lewis. I found that both of the pieces were actually less personal than the three pieces I found on the internet. They took more of a technical approach rather than rely on anecdotes to entertain the reader. Anderson came across as a product-minded kind of writer, while Tommy seemed to be more about the process. I was a little disappointed reading these two as I didn’t really see the passions that I saw in the other “Why I Write” essays, though I do understand why these two may have gone more technical after reading and discussing Didion and Orwell.

Boilerplate Examples and Discussion

Hello everyone –

Below are some examples of boilerplate I found in my letter for the Minor in Writing Application.

  • “I want to graduate with a broader perspective and as a well-rounded and critical thinker.”
    • Reading this statement doesn’t really tell you too much, other than that I know and can apply some “keywords” that sound good. I am conflicted because I feel that this statement is accurate, but it comes off as cliche. This sentence serves as a topic sentence that goes into further detail in the paragraph, so I’m not sure if this should be taken out completely or if it might serve a purpose.
  • “I learned that the minor is a true college experience as students are granted autonomy to write about their interests.
    • This would be textbook boilerplate if the sentence just ended after “experience.” That would say something about the minor, but it would say nothing about the minor at the same time. I feel that continuing the sentence makes it a little better, but even then, the use of the word “autonomy” makes the latter portion of the sentence boilerplate.
  • “I hope to complete the Minor in Writing because as an Athletic Trainer, I will be interacting with human beings and these interactions will only be more meaningful if I am able to be an articulate, well-rounded individual.”
    • There are a couple problems with this sentence. The discussion of “interactions” doesn’t really say all that much, especially considering there isn’t really a job that doesn’t involve interacting with others. Secondly, the word “meaningful” is fuzzy in a way as it fails to really say anything that the reader would be able to connect with in regards to their lives. Again, “articulate, well-rounded individual” is simply cliche and doesn’t convey anything meaningful to the reader.

Reading my application letter again has been pretty eye-opening. (<—An extra boilerplate at no extra charge!) I now realize how difficult it is to write boilerplate-free pieces.


– Justin

Remediation Idea – Empathy Letter

Hey everyone –

Early in the writing process I decided I was going to take the main topic of empathy my final paper from my English 125 and apply it to today’s issues arguing against the nominations for the president’s cabinet members. Specifically, I would use the topic of empathy to inspire constituents to call their senators and voice their disapproval of Senator Sessions as the Attorney General.

While I think this would be a worthy discussion, the recent executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. has gained my attention and inspired me to change my paper again. As it stands now, I want to translate/adapt my original paper on empathy into a letter directed to the those refugees who are being turned away because of Trump’s executive order. I hope to achieve a couple of things with this translation. First and foremost, I want to make it clear that this is not America. America does not turn away those in need, Trump’s America does. I want to apologize that Trump’s America ever came to be. At the same time I also want to inspire hope in the refugees and those who are unfairly being excluded from America and show that the protests and dissent is powerful and will lead to true America coming through.

I will write this letter to the refugees, and they will be a part of the intended audience, but I also want the citizens of America to be a part of the audience. I plan on taking the empathy piece from the first paper and using it as inspiration to create a call to action among Americans to continue to protest and resist Trump’s America.

Thanks for reading!

– Justin

Writing 220 Repurposed Essay Idea – Justin Bockholt

Hey everyone,

I’m still trying to figure out exactly which paper I want to repurpose, but have a couple ideas of papers that I could use. The main paper I am considering is the final paper I wrote for my English 125 class. It’s a paper that discusses empathy in great depth by relating one of Obama’s speeches with a photograph of a sit-in during the Civil Rights Movement.

As for things I would change about this paper, I have one that I’m sort of embarrassed about; the entire paper is written in first-person. To be fair, my GSI encouraged me to try writing in first-person so that I could easily walk the reader through my logic. While it does do just that, reading it again only shows me how simple and almost “high schooly” the paper is in terms of diction and syntax. If you don’t have a good understanding of what I mean when I say it was too simple, just look at two of the sentences in my introduction:

“To explore the importance of empathy especially, I will focus on President Barack Obama’s speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma and Fred Blackwell’s photograph of a sit-in at a restaurant in the South. In addition to those two sources, we will gain deeper insight from relevant sources regarding empathy and the Civil Rights Movement.”

To me now, that’s very much cringe worthy. This essay has potential to be much better than it is currently. As a result of the very explicit directions to the reader, I have a well-laid out, logical argument that could use some tinkering. I also think that I need to develop a more complex thesis. As it is right now, my thesis is as follows: “Empathy, I will argue, is a trait that can be difficult to grasp in the multiethnic United States, but if captured, is the single most valuable trait in improving the quality of life for all.” I think that I could tilt my argument to add more on to the discussion, but as of right now I want to stay true to the theme of empathy.

So there is what I have, but I still have very little clue where I want to go with it. I know that is kind of a very important piece for this paper, so if you have any ideas of directions I could go, I’d love to hear them.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to clarify anything that may be unclear.

Thank you for your time!

– Justin