MSU asks faculty & staff to volunteer in short-staffed dining halls; @MSU_Football tweets a photo of coach in a private jet

MSU, instead of asking your profs to volunteer in the dining halls, I think you can solve the short-staffing issue another way. Recruiting on the bye week! Looking for future Spartan Dawgs 🐶 ✈️ #TuckComin pic.twitter.com/2sS0gEzkIs — Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) October 22, 2021  

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In October 2001, I was blogging about nothing, apostrophes, the anthrax scare, and Boilerplate

In October 2001, I was blogging about Nothing Matters. (A teaching metaphor that had a big impact on my pedagogy… I’m glad I had the occasion to revisit it. Even when I blogged it 20 years ago there were a lot of broken links on the site, but the main idea is still completely valid) The Apostrophe Protection Society Job Hunting Tips (satire from The Onion) Walking Sports Database Scorns…

Brett Favre Urges Ban On Youth Tackle Football, Pleads For No Hitting ‘Til 14

Concussions in sports often a topic my students pick for their researched term papers. Most seem to put their trust in mandating better training for coaches, funding for better equipment, education to make sure players are wearing their equipment properly, or better treatment for players who end up disabled. The idea of fundamentally changing the sport to make it safer (at least for kids) rarely comes up, so here’s a…

Why are sports in trouble in the U.S.? Because we didn’t do the work.

Hard-hitting column from Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. Baseball is facing a new crisis not even a week into its pandemic-delayed season. It’s an axiom in sports: Your results speak for themselves. The scoreboard says more than a dozen major league baseball players are sick after just five days of play, and the only record this country is leading in is the number of deaths. If there is one…

How “Hail Mary” Became Inextricably Linked to American Football

I am revamping an existing “News Writing” course so that it becomes “News, Arts and Sports Reporting,” and am thus trying to educate myself about sports writing. Good writing is engaging no matter what the subject is. This is a great example. The headline is written for an international audience. Without assuming that the reader already knows what a “Hail Mary pass” is, and without assuming that the reader knows…

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The Rhetoric of Anthems and the Drama of Kneeling

I don’t follow sports, so I don’t feel fully equipped to comment on the issue, but when a friend raised it via an email I thought I’d share my thoughts about the rhetorical and dramatic nature of patriotism and protest. I have often wished I could attend a concert/literary discussion where singers performed the national anthems of countries from trouble spots around the world, and then people from those countries…

Former NFL receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football

“There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.” […] Randle El is not naive to the profitability of the sport or the impact it has on society, but with the concussion and life-long injury issues getting more attention than ever…

Sports writing: Once a passion, now merely a job

Once, working for an online sports section, it was immediately stressed that the rule of thumb was to churn out six articles over an eight-hour shift for studies showed quantity resulted in more hits than quality. And beyond that, there is even a growing model in some newspaper titles where a league table exists for journalists based on who gets the most clicks and, by extension, they are deemed to…

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Key and Peele sportscenter teacher parody: New sketch imagines teachers as athletes (VIDEO).

Oh, how I wish we lived in a world where this was NOT a spoof. A spot-on parody of SportsCenter’s hyperbole-laden talking heads, busy CGI ticker screens, and obsessive play-by-plays, the clip cleverly reimagines athletes as the educators we entrust our children to every day.Unsurprisingly, it’s a biting critique that says a lot about the economic and symbolic power we assign to an industry in which men are considered exceptional…

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The 3 Scariest Words A Boy Can Hear (“Be a Man”)

Former NFL player and current pastor Joe Ehrmann reflects on the power coaches have over the identities of boys. There’s two kinds of coaches in America: You’re either transactional or you’re transformational. Transactional coaches basically use young people for their own identity, their own validation, their own ends. It’s always about them — the team first, players’ needs down the road. And then you have transformational coaches. They understand the…

The Case Against High-School Sports

“I’ve been in hundreds of classrooms,” says Singleton, who has spent 15 years as a principal and helped turn around other struggling schools. “This was the worst I’ve seen in my career. The kids were in control. The language was filthy. The teachers were not prepared.” By suspending sports, Singleton realized, he could save $150,000 in one year. A third of this amount was being paid to teachers as coaching…

Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax

Great example of investigative journalism, piecing together a coherent narrative from conflicting bits and pieces culled from various sources. A reminder that journalists — even when they are fighting deadlines, and even when they are writing more-fluffy-than-the-crime-beat pieces — must verify claims before going public. Too many sports journalists reported unconfirmed bits and pieces of a long-term story that turned out to be a hoax. Upon receiving the news of…

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SportsWorks Adventure at the Carnegie Science Center

I confess that I have never been all that physical. I do try to take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I let my daughter talk me into auditioning for a community theater musical (and while my dancing was definitely in the bottom third, or maybe the bottom tenth, I didn’t humiliate myself). I did enjoy playing pick-up volleyball in college, and I did enjoy spending quality time…

Obituary: Les Banos / Spy against the Nazis, longtime sports photographer

My son and I heard Mr. Banos speak just last week at a Holocaust memorial ceremony. There was one evening a few years ago when someone browsing the television channels could see Les Banos’ face and European accent in two unrelated historical documentaries demonstrating the breadth of an unusual life. In one made by the BBC, the Hungarian-born Mr. Banos was interviewed about the German occupation of his homeland during…

NBA Players Scoff at Mathematical Model Suggesting When to Shoot

Interesting application of math to sports. In analyzing teams’ shot quality, shot rates and shot percentages, Skinner found that the average NBA squad has a 4 percent probability of shooting the ball when left with 15 seconds on the shot clock in their final possession. The ideal rate is 12 percent. Skinner didn’t offer guidelines for exactly when a team should shoot. So many variables exist, particularly the subjective nature…

Virginia Home-Schoolers Make a Play to Join High School Teams – NYTimes.com

My old college roommate, Rob Bell, is the state legislator behind this bill. Robert Bell, the legislator who is sponsoring the Virginia bill, said it represented increasingly nuanced parental thinking as home-schooling has evolved into a more mainstream activity, up from 850,000 students nationally in 1999 to 1.5 million in 2007, the latest figure available from the Department of Education. In Virginia, the number has risen from 3,800 students in…

‘Robot Journalist’ Out-Writes Human Sports Reporter

Sports journalism is full of colorful figures of speech, invented by writers who wanted to put a little variety into their writing. When given objective data about the game, a computer program has done a fairly good job of emulating sports lingo. The following story starts out by critiquing a sports news story that some skeptics assumed had been written by a machine. The writer of that story — it…

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The Hidden Feminist Messages in ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’

Hidden? Sure, but certainly not accidental. I didn’t notice it when I was a kid, but it sure jumped out at me when I watched the Schoolhouse Rock videos with my kids. And even small details are pro-girl. The nameless character who shows up in a mini-skirt and platforms in “Interjections!” is unbelievably excited not about a boy, but about an A+ in a report card:Some of this consistent, cleverly…