There is no question that sports are a major part of our culture. They bring people together and create excitement and passion. But what should sports articles be about?
Some would say that sports articles should be about the games themselves, providing play-by-play analysis and highlights. Others might argue that they should focus on the athletes, profiling their lives and careers off the field or court.
And still others might say that sports articles should cover social issues in the world of athletics, such as doping or racism.
I believe that all of these topics have their place in sports journalism, but I think there is one overriding focus that should be at the heart of every article: The fans themselves. After all, it is for us – not for players or coaches or team owners – that sporting events are held each year.
We are the ones who buy tickets and jerseys; we are the ones who make stadiums loud with our cheers; we are the ones who keep professional leagues alive by tuning in to watch games on TV.
Sports journalists have a unique opportunity to connect with fans in ways other reporters cannot. They can provide insights into games and athletes that go beyond what’s happening on the playing surface; they can give us a window into how sport affects our lives both individually and collectively; they can help us understand why we care so much about certain teams and players (and sometimes despise others). In short, they can tell us why we love sports – even when our team loses miserably!
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