Writing & Fighting
Writing & Fighting
Combat sports has been around since the beginning of recorded history. What compels someone to fight? While there is usually a prize, fighters are often searching for honor, glory, redemption, and pride.

Writing and Fighting Assignment # 1

Write The Fight!

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Response Essay # 1: Writing the Fight

Write about a real or fictional fight in either boxing or MMA as a sports reporter. Your fighters may be from any background, and the fight can take place in the past, present or even future. The essay should be between 4-5 pages and is worth up to 25 points

· Monday, February 4: Assign Paper

· Thursday, February 7: Pre-writing Exercise

· Monday, February 11:Visit to Library with librarian Rachel Borchardt in Bender Library (T&E, room 150)

· Thursday, February 14:Email rough draft (2-3 pages) to Peer Workshop Groups

· Tuesday, February 19: Workshop drafts and submit critiques via Blackboard.

· Thursday, February 21 and Friday, February 22: Student Conferences

· Friday, March 1: Final Draft Due!

Becoming a Fight Writer

Over the past couple of weeks, we have read Gay Talese’s “The Loser”and Murray Kempton, “The Champ and The Chump: The Meaning of Liston Clay I.” As fight writers, these individuals comment on more than just a fight. Writer Daniel Okrent summarizes boxing’s appeal to prose: “Unrelenting aggressiveness: that’s the voyeuristic thrill, the breathtaking zing, the gasp-producing wonder that brings writers to boxing.”

Not only does a fight writer attempt to convey the turmoil inside the ring or cage, but he or she also uncovers underlying narratives. Sports reporting offers opportunities for commentary on cultural issues, including race, gender, social, class, politics, and other social conditions. Whether it's the rags-to-riches storyline of the fighter or a city’s new hope for redemption, we learn more than just the number of jabs and hooks. We learn about the human condition.

Now it’s your turn.

Pre-writing (Some ideas to get you started)

Due Thursday, February 7th (Submission on Blackboard)

· Is the fighter a boxer or mixed martial artist? Establish the age, gender, background of the fighter. Can you find a photo?

· Determine the time frame and setting for this match.

· Will you put yourself in the essay (1stperson) or maintain objective distance (3rdperson)?

· Will you cover the fight as it plays out? Or write it from before or after?

· What is the overall storyline or narrative arc of this fighter?

o Is it a beginning amateur match or is he/she challenging for a title belt?

o Or could this be the fighter’s comeback?

o Has this fighter overcome challenges to come to this stage (Rags to Riches)?

o Does your fighter on a Hero’s Journey to learn something about him or herself?

Basic requirements:

- 4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced

- 2 sources cited (popular or scholarly) and formatted according to MLA standards

- Clear, uncluttered prose

- A purpose and main point of argument that is thought-provoking and original

- Effective paraphrasing, quoting and summarizing

- Thoughtful introductions, identifying experts, synthesizing sources, analyzing the credibility of research

And one last thing:

If, at any point, you are stuck, confused, frustrated, uncertain, need feedback, or just want to toss around ideas before you get started, I am happy to meet with you during office hours or by appointment. Ask each other for help. Use the Writing Center. Don’t fret, just connect.

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Take A Shot!

What’s Your Opinion On An Issue in Combat Sports?

 Op-Ed Assignment

WRGT 101

Assignment 2: Take A Shot: What’s Your Opinion On An Issue in Combat Sports?

Assigned: Monday, March 4th

Due: Thursday, March 28th

An Op-Ed is an article that expresses the opinion of the writer as its main focus. These are typically written by people who are experts on a topic. These articles are a persuasive argument; something created to sway the reader’s opinion to the author’s point of view.

This assignment is a chance for you to express your informed opinion on a topic relevant to combat sports. Your job is to take an opinionated stand on this issue (claim), use techniques of persuasive writing (rhetoric) to sway your reader to agree with you, and back it up with facts (evidence.)

Your argument will also engage the “other side” on the issue you are discussing. For instance, if you’re arguing that MMA is a dangerous sport and should have more head trauma regulations, then you must include the argument for why it might be considered less harmful than other sports which use pads and helmets.

You will then press your evidence and rhetoric against this opposing argument, to sway your reader back toward agreeing with your claim. You will detail your sound reasoning and use solid evidence (citable facts, quotes from experts, examples, etc.) to show your “expertise” on this subject. Your credibility as an expert will come from the research and reading you do to situate yourself in this issue.


Your essay will be 4-5 pages and express your clear opinion on a topic regarding fighting. You will include specific facts and information, but make your own thinking the star of this particular show.

Your assertions must be supported using credible evidence and a clear rhetorical strategy. Be able to answer: Who are your readers? What particular words will be effective with this audience? How will you “take down” the opposing position to yours? Is your approach emotional? Logical? Credibility-based? Some combination of the three? What do you wish to persuade your reader to conclude after reading your essay? How do you have authority in this area?

Some Things to Think About:

- Be well informed about your topic. Do plenty of research before beginning, so you know the issue well enough to put it in your own words

- Analyze your audience. To whom are you speaking? A sympathetic reader? An antagonistic one? Knowing to whom you are “talking” will ground your argument and keep it focused.

- Why should your reader believe you? How has this issue moved you or effected your life, specifically? (This is why I encourage you to choose an issue you actually care about. Let your voice speak to this not just to get a good grade, but because you care about what might happen around this issue.)

- Consider a thesis that is arguable. Who would oppose your stance? How would you win an argument with that “naysayer?”

- Consider Logos, Pathos and Ethos. How can you include these branches of rhetoric in your argument?

- Engage your readers with humor or drama or compassion – use devices to “wake them up” and get them to pay attention to your stance.


Your essay must be 4-5 pages long, typed, double-spaced and in 12-point Times New Roman.

You must include at least three different sources of evidence, but more are welcome. You may use popular sources that are vetted (Time magazine, yes; Wikipedia, no) and find at least one scholarly sources. You may use YouTube. Primary sources are also permitted. You must include an MLA formatted Works Cited page.

** Attempt a metaphor in your op-ed. This need not be an elaborate, extended metaphor, but could be the simple substitution of a word that calls up a vivid metaphorical image. Metaphor adds vigor to your writing by helping to simplify and make visual complex arguments. It lets the reader distill an abstract idea into a more easily understood concrete variation.

To Get You Started (for Thursday, March 7th):

· Write down at least three issues/conflicts that you are compelled by and write down some thoughts. Come in on Thursday with about a page of notes (bullet points and lists are fine)

Finding Your Topic:

§ Think about what we’ve been discussing through our readings, films, and class discussions? What issue in fighting has struck you? We’ve covered race, gender, class, morality, corruption, capitalism, geopolitics, the human struggle, etc.

§ After you choose your issue, write down some ideas on what you really think about it. Honesty is the best approach. Next, look for what “experts” in the field are saying about your issue. Find credible people with experience or knowledge in this issue and pull quotes from them you can respond to in your essay. You must put evidence behind whatever claims you are making.

· Find two op-eds that moved you and bring them to class. Start thinking about the rhetorical moves and choices the writers made. These do not have to deal with fighting. I am more interesting in the writing.

Publication Sources:

http://www.mmafighting.com Opinion pieces by Chuck Mindenhall, Luke Thomas, and

Jeff Wagenheim in the Washington Post

http://www.allopeds.com/ -- This site compiles op-eds from major newspapers around the world. Although it does not invite freelance op-eds, it can lead you to sources where you may submit your work. As with Newslink, you’ll need to research each source’s submission guidelines.

http://newslink.org/mpol.html -- You can link to hundreds of newspaper and journal listings through this site. From there, you’ll need to research each source’s submission guidelines. Don’t miss the links accessing international, local and state news sources.

http://www.ccmc.org/node/16090 -- This site provides basic guidelines for writing and publishing op-eds.

http://www.thestruggle.org/op-eds.htm -- Although this site is intended to mobilize support for Gaza and the Palestinian peace process, it offers contact information and basic guidelines for publishing op-eds that will help all writers.

oped.com – This is an open-access site that invites any and all opinions on topics of the day. The suggested limit is 500 words.

weoped.com – This grassroots site seeks to become the “premier online destination for political opinions, organization and informed debate.” You can link your blog or post an individual op-ed to the site, but be sure to follow the site’s style guide, “Tips for Writing Op-eds.”

huffingtonpost.com – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Contact scoop@huffingtonpost.com. Check out HP’s “Links” (bottom right corner) for other sources.

politico.com – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Use the “Feedback” link on the upper toolbar and then click on “Editorial Inquiry.”

to post your work, we'll try to let you know -- it's something we like to do.” Submit your work via the “Contacts” link.

huffingtonpost.com – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Contact scoop@huffingtonpost.com. Check out HP’s “Links” (bottom right corner) for other sources.

politico.com – The site publishes original exclusive op-eds. Use the “Feedback” link on the upper toolbar and then click on “Editorial Inquiry.”