The creed of the sports columnist

Lately in the sports world, it seems fitting that the only way to get press is to call your cohorts out. With the release of Jose Canseco’s new book, Juiced, the cool thing to do is exploit former friends and future enemies.

Let’s give that a shot.

Since the beginning of the spring semester, the sports page has gone through some heavy revamping.

The layout has improved, fit with new bright and shiny pictures for students and Ralph Wiggums alike. There is aimless trivia that floats around the bottom of the section, enticing the reader to turn the page. And finally there has been an influx in the amount of columns run on our beloved sports page.

Now, being a former sports writer who has migrated to the news staff, I find it only fair for current and future sports writers to get a heads-up on the creed of the sports column. We could have called it, “Everything you wanted to know about writing a college sports column but were afraid to ask,” but we don’t want Woody Allen suing us for title rights.

In that case, we’ll go with the simple “College Sports Columns: Where clichés live and breath.”

Ok, let’s begin.

Step one: Getting past the editor.

You can’t just submit a column and expect it to run. First you have to butter up the boss. This may seem to be a daunting task at first, given our red card-carrying captain Sports Editor Mike Camunas. Once you get past his rhetoric and conspiracy theories, compliment him on his smirk and the press pass that constantly dangles from his sleeve. After this, you should be ready to write.

Step two: It is important to make fun of your institution’s sports program as much as possible.

Let me stress this point. You can support your team, but having an overall sense of angst is the only way to navigate a sports column. Sports columnists in the rah-rah business, visit

It doesn’t matter if your women’s basketball team breaks the school record for wins in a season — if one of them stubs a toe, you had better call her out for it.

If your football team wins by 21, then you say they should have won by 22. Go for a two-point conversion next time, jerks!

Step three: If you ever get into a bind and can’t think of what to say, just fill space with a quote from a cheesy ’80s flick.

Examples of this would be: “Why did it have to be snakes?” “Let’s see if this baby can do 90!” or “E.T. loves Elliot!”

Step four: If all else fails, crack jokes at things that have nothing to do with sports.

Nobody likes the Olsen twins, so why not take pot shots at them? For examples of this, look no further than the trusty UCF Future. The columns seem riddled with schlock regarding the sports editor’s lack of a love life and his affinity for said twins. On four occasions in the past two years, the sports editor has used the twins, so I guess this works.

Give the Future’s archives a search for the Olsens if you need help placing them in your story. They have been printing for some time without complaint.

Step five: The final step in the process of becoming an elite sports columnist: Burn as many bridges as humanly possible.

This seems to work for Major League Baseball, so why not the rest of sports? Granted, steroids are not rife within The Oracle, but nobody can prove Canseco’s claims.

If you really feel the need for a good column and can’t come up with anything else, then just fabricate drug claims against your former employers and employees.

With all this information, you should be able to write a funny, outgoing column with no aim or basis. Now that I have revealed the secrets of “the game,” I’m sure 60 Minutes will come calling as well as every other media outlet that has bitten on Canseco’s claim.

I’m just trying to get my fifteen minutes.