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The Ivy Coach Daily

November 5, 2014

Why Sports Essays Are Not Ok

Sports Essays, College Essays About Sports, Sports Admission Essays
Ivy Coach salutes Mount St. Joseph University and their remarkable student, Lauren Hill, for showing us what true courage is (photo by Greg Hume).

We’ve written many times on the pages of this blog why sports is absolutely never a good topic for college essays. And yet time and time again, folks show us their sports essays and ask what we think about them. What do you want us to say, that they’re amazing? If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that’s not who we are and it’s not what we’re all about. We prefer to unapologetically tell it like it is. Whether it’s what you want to hear…or not. And, more often, it’s not what you want to hear. And that’s because the vast majority of essays written by students are terribly written and focus on the worst possible topics. Like volunteering. Like playing musical instruments. Like…sports.

We’ve written before about how that essay about coming back from a major knee injury to lead your team to a state soccer championship isn’t a good idea. But, today, we’d like to show you a case example why indeed this is a really bad, trite idea. And it has to do with Lauren Hill. If you’re not yet familiar with Lauren Hill, Lauren is currently a freshman on the Mount St. Joseph University women’s basketball team. But she’s more than a freshman basketball player. She’s now an inspiration to millions. Diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and expected to live only until December, Hill fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing college basketball this week. And she didn’t just play. She scored the opening basket, on a layup she made off the backboard and later scored another bucket to top things off. She’s a truly remarkable young woman who we very much admire. If you haven’t seen the video of her performance before the biggest crowd in the history of Mount St. Joseph University basketball (men’s or women’s) — who were there to support Lauren — then check it out below. And check out that enormous crowd! Unbelievable! It goes to show you how many folks Lauren — and Lauren’s story — has touched.

But back to the sports essays. Your battling back from a knee injury to win your state’s title isn’t exactly compelling when you compare it to the story of Lauren Hill now is it? Avoid the trite essay. Avoid writing about sports entirely because unless you’re playing basketball despite suffering from inoperable brain cancer, it’s likely not compelling reading. Just pick another subject, ok?

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