As several readers may already know, I regularly write opinion columns for the sports section here at The Daily.
For the most part, they tend to function as ways to amuse myself, though lately, I have also had the enjoyment of receiving consistent feedback that has been both positive and negative.
On rare occassions, I and fortunate enough to get feedback that appears to have been angrily scribbled in crayon on a used cocktail napkin, though I usually deserve it.
With my time at the Daily winding down, I figured that I would take this opportunity to share what I have learned about writing sports columns, so that you too, may also learn to make enemies and annoy your friends.
Writing about sports is easy.
In my experience, it doesn't even require much knowledge of sports.
I try to make it a point to shy away from writing about local high school sports, since that's what I cover for the paper. Sharing an opinion in regards to my beat would be inappropriate since it would expose bias, and believe me I have plenty of bias.
My approach tends to be something along the lines of picking a particular topic that has some remote relation to sports then shutting down that part of my brain that keeps me from writing things that may offend people.
Then I just type away whatever comes off the top of my head.
For instance, we're on the cusp of a new football season, and I'm struggling to find a team to care about. The obvious choice would be the Falcons, but with our local hero Harry Douglas on the injured list, I'm not sure who to watch. I could watch Michael Vick on the Eagles, but I don't really like him. Frankly, I would most likely laugh if I was able to witness him receive the "Jack Tatum" treatment. For some strange reason "Tatum" reminds me of tater tots, which have been scientifically proven to be delicious.
Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn't, yet I still found a way to write something objectionable.
Frankly I'm lucky if I can write in complete sentences.
Another tactic I'm fond of, is the insertion of politics.
As I have already argued in a previous column ("Of Sports and Politics") I firmly believe that what passes for political commentary fits into all aspects of life, be it faith, work, hobbies and sports.
To be fair, when I write about politics it typically amounts to me bringing up an issue and finding a way to write about it through cheap jokes and picking a conservative pundit or politician to call deranged.
Nevertheless, it's a pretty good method for getting responses.
Zack Huffman is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com