Notes for Watching a Sporting Event

Choose a high school or university game.  You must observe a live game; you cannot watch one on TV. And you cannot play in a game and cover it at the same time. Also, be sure to pick an actual game, not a practice game or "fun" event, like a charity softball game or an intramural game. Please ask me if you have any questions about your choice of game. It is possible to watch a university or city club sport, but this will mean you will most likely not have any sources for stats or other information.  You will have to get all information from watching the game and from interviews.  Have a back-up game in case this does not work.

You will need to take thorough notes when you watch a sporting event. Remember, you will be a sports reporter for this assignment, so you will need to have information and details in order to write your game story. If you take information and ideas from other sports reporters, you are plagiarizing, and you face the consequences for plagiarism.

Be sure to get/buy a program so that you have background information to use for your game story.

Begin thinking about what game you will watch and make appropriate plans. See the syllabus for deadlines.

Don't read or listen to accounts of the game you watch!

Games can be crowded, so try to get to the game early and find a seat that you can observe from. Bring a small notebook that you can write in. Be sure your pen/pencil works. Bring two, especially if you are watching a game outside. Cold weather/rain can be a problem, so plan accordingly. Dress appropriately so that you are comfortable.

Notes should include objective details and your subjective impressions. You can use stat sheets/programs so that you do not have to record every factual detail.

What to consider for notes. (You will need several pages of notes.)

  1. Summary of the game. Be sure to include key plays or moments that define the game.
  2. Setting and situation. Where is the game located? Who is playing? What is at stake for both teams, if anything? Past history of the teams? Rivalry? Key statistics? (You will be allowed to use stat sheets for some info., so don't worry if you cannot record everything.) Key match-ups? Final score? Playing conditions? The crowd? (Attendance? Behavior?) Weather?
  3. Key moments of drama or action. What plays stand out? What players stand out? What is the "story behind the story?" In other words, what is significant about the game besides the score? Record your impressions, not just what you are literally observing.
  4. Quotations from players and coaches. If you know players or coaches, you can conduct interviews before/after the game. (See Course Notes for advice on conducting interviews.) If you cover a pro game, you can get quotations from other sources, but we will discuss this in class. (And you will have to document your sources.)
  5. Finally, be sure to go over your notes right after the game or as soon as possible while ideas are still fresh. Fill in any gaps and add your own observations and ideas. What are your main impressions and overall thoughts?? Don't forget sensory details--sight, sound, movement. (See reading in TSGW--Ch. 15.)