Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lists, lists and more lists

In the world of sports writing today, there may be no greater crutch - simply because of the feedback it naturally elicits - of a list.

Lists used to be top 10 on the most simplistic subjects - best players by position or best teams are easy examples. Lists are fine for what they are, within reason. With the advent of more and more sports blogs, though - not that their existence is a negative, mind you (it certainly isn't) - there are seemingly more and more lists, and the subject matter is just getting out of hand.

It could be anything:
-- Top 14 defensive left fielders who hit above .260 and had a uniform number below 30 in Pirates history
-- Top 11 forechecking right wingers who had more than 125 career points and wore a certain brand of skates in Canucks history
-- Top 17 most attractive WAGs (European phrase that stands for wives and girlfriends) of left outside midfielders starting in European domestic leagues whose teams have qualified for intercontinental competition in the last seven years

You get the point.

With respect for the old school, it makes me cringe a little to think about lists seemingly out of nowhere and just how much of a crutch they are in writing. In the end, though, they're effective, because if people look at it and completely disagree, they'll send a link to their friend to tell them how ridiculous the list is, and so on. At that point, the website has them hooked. Outlandish generates hits, and hits generate revenue.

Personally, if I do a list every now and then in my writing, I will promise to keep it simple. Now if we ever have a list of the 27 best central defenders from a CVC school who scored less than 10 career goals and were never assessed a red card in area high school soccer history, then we've got a problem.

The point here being, lists are a crutch - and sometimes a shameless crutch at that. No matter how off the wall the subject is, though, they can (perhaps sadly in some cases) prove effective.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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