Using cross country to introduce ways to write about sports

I’m addressing ways to cover live sports events today, focusing more on cross country after having hit golf last week. We are reviewing sports that are currently still taking place in here in east central Illinois so they can better prepare for their own live coverage assignments. I like to start this class with cross country because the rules are simpler: The runners who cross the finish line the fastest win. No doubt, the sport requires strategy and nuance, but there’s no need to address baffling pass interference rules or reactionary match-up zones in basketball.

I also like to include stories I find online, such as the two below, that include essential basic elements and address a few good angles, even if not fully developed. I do not name authors of the pieces, mostly because these writers might also be learning. For most sports, I also include coverage that is polished. Unfortunately, cross country is a sport that receives little coverage, and, thus, there’s a dearth of high-quality stories. 

In class, we read the chapter in the Field Guide To Covering Sports on covering games and on addressing cross country. Here is another resource on covering cross country.

Afterward, I review scoring, using numbers, researching, asking questions and writing stories. Finally, I have students write a cross country story based upon a few exercises that I have developed through the years. I offer feedback similar to the comments included in the two cross country stories reviewed in class.

Send me a note if you would like a copy of an exercise.