Over the last decade, I’ve mostly written about technology. Among the hundreds of magazine articles and thousands of blog posts published, some cover entertainment. Some science. Some travel. And rarer still, some sports. (All topics that personally appeal to me.)
Of the latter category, these are the stories I’m most proud of, along with the backstories that created them.
- Six computers, three employees, endless controversy: How the BCS ruled college football. This story was published in Wired Magazine in 2010 and syndicated to CNN and Gizmodo. It was my first and most popular sports story to this day. I got the idea after hearing about “The Computers” anytime I watched a college football broadcast, mostly in the context of “what do the computers think about this team?” After hearing about them for the umpteenth time — always referenced like a proper known or collective authority — I decided to look them up. What I found is that no one had ever written a story on how they work, let alone published pictures of them. The editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated originally accepted the story, then backed out because “it didn’t turn out” like he expected. I then pitched the manuscript to more than 20 other top sporting outlets, all of which declined. Wired Magazine, the last one I pitched, accepted the story, gave it the ink it deserved, and paid me more for it than any other outlet in my career. Moral of the story: Don’t quit until everyone in the room tells you “no.”
- How fantasy sports have changed how we cheer. This story was first-published in the Seattle Times (print and online) and syndicated to a local NBC affiliate. I wrote it after watching a conflicted friend simultaneously cheer for his team and even some opposing players.
- Banned but awesome: Self-correcting golf balls that always fly straight. New York Times scooped me on this story. But my Fox News version may have been even more widely read, given all the old white dudes that read and watch Fox News. This was a fun story to research, write, and react to with all the fan mail I received.
- How visitors beat the home team. Reporting for my local paper, this story was largely inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant New Yorker piece on a related subject. Although not nearly as scientific, my story attempts to articulate home-field advantage and how visiting teams can overcome it.
- Fair-weather fan: I cheer for these football teams for these reasons. Many years ago, I decided there is no dishonor in embracing fair-weather fan status. That realization coalesced into this blog post: an ordered list of my favorite football teams and the reasons I cheer them on. All subject to change, of course, so long as they don’t lose too often.
- History repeats: How USA finds World Cup success. I like watching the U.S. national team compete in world soccer but become quickly frustrated whenever they play to stale conventions. This short story outlines my armchair quarterback approach to winning the World Cup someday. (See also Diving is un-American)
On that note, thanks to all the sportsball editors that commissioned, accepted, and published my work. I hope to write 5-6 more in the years to come.