Sports Fan 101

Sports Fan 101

Something I have come to appreciate over the course of the past two plus years here at Loyola is the diversity of classes that are offered.  In fact, I find myself writing this fully willing to admit that my favorite class this semester is something that I picked spontaneously after I realized I would have to drop another class for time conflict purpose.  The class: is called Communication 364 Sports Journalism, but it may as well be called Sports Fan 101.

As made apparent by some of my earlier posts, I would consider myself a sports fan.  Though, I am partial to St. Louis based teams, I always enjoy a good game, even at the expense of my favorite teams.  So, I felt like sports journalism would be a good class for me to take, as I might be able to gather an understanding of how the trade works.

I knew from the first few minutes in class that I would be enjoying this section very much.  My teacher is Dan McGrath.  If that name sounds familiar, it is because he was the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune for 13 years.  One of my philosophies is that when teaching, first-hand knowledge of the field is nearly essential.  It does not get more first-hand than Professor McGrath.

Professor McGrath began by outlining the purpose of the class: to learn how to analyze a game, write a column, support an opinion, and look for a story line, among other things.  He explained that the format of the class would be mostly conversational, and that homework would include reading and writing articles on various topics.

I do not hesitate to admit that the five other students in the class probably know more about sports in general than I, but Professor McGrath made it clear that this class would meet each student where they are at.  He was also very good to acknowledge we all have different interests and therefore we will be able to choose from an option of writing topics.

The assignment for the first week was to watch the Bears-Packers game and write a column about it.  That’s right.  The homework was to watch Thursday night football.  After watching a grueling game, I wrote on my article on dropped balls and penalties being the reason for the loss.  I felt like a write for a major sports network because I applied to tips he had taught me and followed the format he gave.  I felt good about being able to construct a logical argument about a subjective topic.

Class the following week consisted of conversations about the game, our thoughts and opinions, and a chance to talk about important turning points in the game.  As a sports fan, I felt like I was having a well-informed discussion about a game I enjoy watching; I had forgotten that I was in class.  Those are the best type of classes.

In future classes, we will be covering concussions in sports, steroids, lockouts, and various other sports-related topics and as a sports fan, I am happy I found this class.

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