Against Pelicans, everybody pushed Thunder through (and sportswriting help, too)
Here’s what I do.
If it’s a high school event, I keep all I can.
Basketball, that means shots made and missed, 2s and 3s, free throw makes and misses, offensive and defensive boards, steals and assists for every player who steps on the court. And a running score, because you can’t be missing any 10-2 runs to close a quarter.
Soccer, it’s shots, saves, fouls, corner kicks, goals and assists and lots of detail in the margins because sometimes you must write 600 words from a 1-0 game because the game deserves it
Football, everything you’d find in a newspaper boxscore and what happened every single play. Baseball, the same, though the diamond’s much easier than the grid.
Wrestling’s not hard. Write down points, when they were scored and take notes, because you may have to recreate it.
All of that’s why covering the high schools is so much harder than colleges and pros, because colleges and pros give you everything you could ever want and dinner, too.
Covering them, if it’s hoops, I still require my own possession-by-possession play by play.
Maybe you’ll catch on to something in progress, put a star next to it, pay more attention going forward and if it pans out, you’ve got the focus of your story.
Wednesday, charting Oklahoma City at New Orleans in the first of two play-in games each team must win to enter the “regular” playoffs?
No detailed descriptions.
None of the things that are supposed to make writing THE story* so much easier.
Confession: I kind of see every story I write as THE story. If I can’t, what’s the point? Aspiring sportswriters, you should, too.
That’s why, before striking the first key on this column, I stared at the screen for a whole two or three minutes.
* I’ve never known writer’s block. I hardly understand those who have. In my head, you suffer it when struggling to figure out how to say what you want to say. But if you know what you want to say, say it. Easy.
Quickly, I had the through line of Oklahoma City’s 123-118 triumph:
It was everybody.
I mean, mostly, it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander*, Josh Giddey and Lu Dort.
* Gilgeous-Alexander’s short streaking baseline jumper from the left baseline — a “layup” in the Thunder’s official play-by-play — the one putting OKC up for good with 28.3 seconds remaining, totally deserved a star. It was amazing. I just couldn’t take my eyes off the television in the last minute.
Still, it was everybody.
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