General Sports

Escape of a Sports Writer

I want to write this article; I really do. I want you to click on it, to read it, to laugh, maybe cry, maybe cringe, maybe email me about how much you hate it. I really do.

But I have nothing, nothing at all.I tried – God knows that I tried. I tried much harder than I should have tried.

I tried writing about the summer, about the year, about how much I was looking forward to the Olympics. Nothing.

I tried writing about change, how I repress it, fear it, avoid it, about how it dictates my sports life, my life. Nothing.

I tried writing about anything. I looked through obscure newspapers. I walked around the block. I banged my head against the wall. Not an ounce of anything.

Heck, I even tried to write about wanting to write and not having anything. No avail.

Until now.

I’m watching the clock, eyeing it as it eases towards midnight. August 2nd. For the past two months, no matter where I was, no matter when I was, I had a story. It was in me.

Brett Favre, Esther Vergeer, Oregon Wrestling, Roger Federer, Marat Safin, Marat Safin and Roger Federer, Tiger Woods – everywhere. I could not get away if I wanted to.

And now, here I am, wanting to write and I have nothing, burnt out.

Three days without an article really would not classify as writers block, but when you’re on the best streak of your life, it’s forever.

Do you think Kenny Perry wanted three days off in between tournaments over the past two months as he was contending in almost every PGA Tour event that he participated in?

Do you think the New York Mets wanted the three days off for the All-Star break after their remarkable nine-game winning streak to move them to the front of the National League East Standings from fourth?

Of course not. And why should I be any different?

Here I was, rattling off stories like Perry or the Mets rattled off victories, and I took a breather. And now I have nothing.

But also, I don’t want to fall back into a slump.

Before two months ago, I went five months writing just one article. I’m really not sure where that one article came from. I had nothing. Every day.

And I showed it.

I free-fell into a mild depression, nothing too serious, but enough that I sought counseling. A few bad breaks and me not having anything to write about derailed me. And I don’t want that to happen again.

I realized that I write because it releases myself. I feel free, I feel content. When I don’t write, the best I can hope for is complacent.

When I write, it is as if nothing else is happening, and it should be that way. Each story becomes my life, whether it is Brett Favre or Esther Vergeer.

I don’t know how I can relate to either, but it doesn’t matter. I become the story for those 45 minutes that I am writing.

When I wrote the Vergeer story, I became her. I become a person who has been paraplegic since I was eight due to a botched surgery, overcoming every obstacle to become the most dominant athlete in the world, even though in reality the worst thing I’ve ever had to overcome was the death of my great-grandmother due to natural causes.

Yet, for 45 small minutes, I was something more. And I am something more each time I write.

So maybe I’m selfish. Maybe I’m writing because I want someone else’s glory. Maybe I’m writing because I want someone else’s happiness. But that’s fine with me. I need the escape.

I need the release, the escape, that writing provides me as much as Brett Favre needs attention.

I need the release, the escape, that writing provides me as much as Marat Safin needs to crumble every time he gets a bad call or makes a bad shot.

I need the release, the escape, that writing provides me as much as Tiger Woods needs to show up and give himself even when he only has one leg.

It is the only way that I can live with myself.

So I write, for better or for worse, telling a story and hoping that you will enjoy it as much as I have let myself become a part of it. And tonight I let you down.

You clicked on this story because you wanted to read it. You wanted to laugh, to cry, to cringe, to reminisce. Maybe you wanted to browse, hoping something would catch your eye. Maybe you just mistook or misread the title for something else.

And I gave you nothing. It’s all I had to give.

But you did click on this story, for better or for worse, because you too wanted an escape. You too wanted to forget what drew you here in the first place. I hope you did.

Heck, as I wrote that last line, I no longer can remember what drove me to write this article in the first place. And that is the way it should be.

I might have had nothing when I sat down at my computer tonight; I might not have had the story that I longed for. And God knows I tried.

But in the end, I earned my escape, and I hope you did too. I worked my butt off for this escape.

Hopefully it is just a tad bit easier the next time I need one.

By bsd987

I have written for since 2004 and was named a featured writer in 2006. I have been Co-Editor of the site since January 1, 2009. I also write for where I am a founding member of the Tennis Roundtable and one of the chief contributors to both the Tennis and Horse Racing sections.

I am "Stat Boy" for's weekly podcast, Poor Man's PTI.

I am currently a Junior at Rice University majoring in History and Medieval Studies. My senior thesis will focus on the desegregation of football in Texas and its affect of racial relations.

Please direct all inquiries to [email protected]

Burton DeWitt
Co-Editor of

3 replies on “Escape of a Sports Writer”

Sports and writing And sports-writing exist for the same reason. They are an escape, and they are liberating. I try not to force anything I write, because I adhere to the theory that writing is an artistic activity that requires the utilization of sensitive, subconscious levels of our mind completely unreachable in everyday, “normal” life. For me, trying to force visits to that amazing place results in a headache. Try not place expectations on yourself or your work. Avoid self-imposed “deadlines”. Expectations are confining, and writing is all about being free. This is why I personally feel I’d be a waste in the daily, newspaper business. My personality isn’t suited to that grind. But if that’s my only option… well, it’ll be tough walking away from a frame of mind which has served my work so well…

Anyway, such a great article deserves a comment. We are indeed dealing with complex, ocean-deep, infuriating, mystical shit with this whole writing thing. It was my dream ages ago to be a baseball player. But I wouldn’t trade writing for the world. No matter how crazy it makes me sometimes.  

yup Thanks and I agree. You should try to work for Sports Illustrated. You have the feature-length feel down and the tone. I’m currently working on a piece I’m going to try to sell to SI and I have ideas for future projects as well.

I’m not cut out to be a newspaper writer. If I don’t have anything; I’m not going to force something unless I need to write like I did the night I wrote this piece.

Aericle  I am trying to become a column writer to do as a hobby but I still need practice. Reading your article makes me now rtealize I need to fell what I write and go all out. My first column recieved some heat because it turned into a newspaper article that anyone can write. Now I know to put more into my writing. Thanks and great article

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