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Jul 13 / Ralph Longo

For the Love of the Page: Turning sports fandom to sportswriting

Welcome to a new weekly series of essays by current Bleacher Report sportswriting interns. B/R puts writing interns through a battery of assignments, special event coverage and brutally honest feedback sessions. Now we’re letting them tell you why they do it. First up is Ralph Longo.

I’ve loved sports ever since I can remember. Growing up, I played football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, golf, hockey, and even a little soccer. Now, at the age of 20, I’ve taken up boxing, and have my first fight in August. Clearly, sports are a very important part of my life.

I knew that I’ve wanted to write about sports for quite some time now. I can recall reading sports articles and thinking—and this may come off as conceited—that if those guys could write about sports, I could too. Maybe not as well, and definitely not without a heck of a lot of practice, but it was something I was passionate about and something I wanted to pursue.

So, one day early last summer I was reading an article on Bleacher Report. I don’t know why, but I told myself that day was the day that I would submit my application piece and see if I could become a B/R writer. I can’t recall what I wrote, maybe something about Floyd Mayweather, but I submitted it and hoped for the best.

A couple of days later, an e-mail came telling me that I had been accepted and I could start writing right away. Perhaps I overreacted, but I sprinted downstairs and yelled to my parents, who had no idea that I’d applied and had never heard of Bleacher Report, that I was now a sportswriter, a “Contributor I” to be exact.

As I go back and look at my early articles, I can’t even believe that it was me who wrote some of them. Honestly, I struggled early on. I had no idea how to format. My content and reasoning were flawed. I didn’t even know what the acronym SEO meant.

Basically, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I kept plugging away at the keyboard as often as I could.

However, as I go through different pieces that I’ve written about virtually every topic imaginable, I can see that I’ve come a long way. I’ve become so much better at writing that it isn’t even comprehensible to me at times when I look at where I started.

The B/R Writing Internship has helped me take my skills to the next level. It’s made me grow as a writer by allowing me to view topics from totally different perspectives than I customarily would. But that’s what makes the internship so great: It forces you out of your comfort zone and pushes you to succeed, and write about sports you may have previously known nothing about.

It’s strange for me to look back at the past year and see how much I’ve improved. I started out like everyone else, with 0 reads and 0 articles. Now, with over 275,000 reads and nearing 150 articles, I’m still not satisfied.

It’s been a long road, but I know I can still get better and sharpen my skills. I’m thankful that Bleacher Report has given me this opportunity and for their continued assistance in helping me become the best writer I can be.

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Follow Ralph on Twitter @rlongo924, and check out his B/R profile.

“For the Love of the Page” is a series of essays by current Bleacher Report sportswriting interns. Learn more about the writing internship.

  • Ian Hanford

    I’m with you Ralph. After going through the internship I found it hard to believe that I’d written some of my early stuff.

    Great tribute to an excellent program!

  • Greg Pearl

    Nice write-up, Ralph. We’re glad to have you aboard!