At last year’s Conference of College Composition and Communication in Tampa, I talked about my year-long ethnography of the men’s basketball team at the University of North Georgia, a Division II school operating on a reed-thin athletic budget and competing in the Peach Belt Conference with schools in Florida, the Carolinas, and Alabama.

I hung around at practice, road the bus to games, sat on the bench, in the locker room, and during film sessions. I wanted to learn how the coaches teach the intricate plays the players learn and then execute; the squiggly amalgamation of lines, shapes, arrows, and words sprayed across a dry erase board or executed a little more cleanly on a digital platform like FastDraw. And I wanted to know how the players learned these plays.

I talked through some of my ideas at Cs and at the end of my talk Joyce Walker from Illinois State asked me to consider sending a written version of my ideas to her. She works with the Grassroots Writing Research Journal at Illinois State. GWRJ is produced twice each year by the Writing Program at Illinois State University and used as a primary text in two of ISU’s undergraduate general education writing courses. More importantly to me the journal hosts the voices of graduate and undergraduate students who are thinking hard about what writing is, how it happens, and how we can learn more about it.

That summer I worked on my ideas and sent a manuscript to Joyce and her staff.

My piece came out this Spring, happily wedged between the work of young scholars.

Here is my opening lines:


A Wednesday night. I am standing in the men’s locker surrounded by players, managers, coaches, trainers. It’s halftime and I’m in the losing team’s locker room. The head coach is screaming, sweating, and imploring his team for more an impassioned performance during the second half against their rival Young Harris College. While the team has largely struggled throughout the season, this is the first time I have seen the head coach this mad. I’m holding my digital record with my right hand, my notebook with my left, and staring at the ground. I feel I don’t belong. Even though I’ve followed the team for the season and have the support of the coach, the players, the athletics director, my boss, and my boss’s boss, I tell myself I shouldn’t be here, that I’m trespassing. I hear the coach drop the f-bomb; with his slight southern drawl, he elides the g.

Then silence.

I look up


And the URL to the TOC for this issue:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s