Creative JOCK essay

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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: Creative JOCK essay
By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:13 am: Edit

This is not bull cr_p, this is the real deal, yet I need to incorporate my back troubles and how I had to overcome that into it. I was hoping maybe I could get some input on the beginning of my essay..and more ideas please..

The crowd was roaring and ecstatic, the smell of stale peanuts could be smelled all across the large concrete rectangular shaped object. In the box, the gallant men and women were storming down the court, like a lightning storm striking down on a large metropolitan city. These gallant men and women are basketball players. In my yester years I viewed a basketball player like that of a roman god. In primary school my desire to become a basketball player grew immensely. The basketball court became my sanctuary, as I spent most my time honing my skills and perfecting my game. My parents, however, did not place me in a league until around the 5th grade, during the tryouts I tried my heart out and gave it my all. The outcome was not a favorable one, I did not make the A-team, instead I was placed on a lower level team. Quite frankly, I was pleased to be playing basketball, which was my love and joy in this world. As the years went on, I finally became recognized by the basketball community as a solid performer and was finally placed on the A basketball team.

During middle school, one of my fondest memories was my championship basketball game in the 8th grade. This memory was more of a learning experience for me. The stage was set, it was Piedmont vs. my Stanley Wildcats, the gym was filled to the max capacity. It seemed as though every middle school student from the east bay was in attendance. The game started off with a fury, as Piedmont would take no mercy and got off to a huge lead. By halftime, they had almost doubled our point total. My coach at the time, Mr. Morris, gave an amazing speech. He told us one of the most amazing stories I will always remember and cherish. He explained that one of his pass players, the primary leader of the team had broken his leg before the final game. This boy filled with desire and passion, came to the game suited up in his green and gold Stanley uniform and said, “Coach, I’m ready to play”. Unfortunately Morris could not play him, this boy, however showed his team he was committed to overcome whatever obstacles he was dealt with and set a very fine example that the team could mold themselves after in this time of adversity. The team dedicated the game to him and came out victorious. This was a very effective half time story for my teammates and I, we knew we could overcome the deficit if we worked together as a team and played diligent basketball. By the end of the game, the Stanley Wildcats had come through with an exhilarating victory, we cut down the nets and posed for the local papers.

By Rmehney (Rmehney) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:52 am: Edit

Your essay went downhill after the first sentence. Although I am a fan of captivating first sentences, you raped that sentence for what is was worth with descriptions. I understand wanting to describe the situation, but in these circumstances, we get the point. You don't need to use extensive vocabulary where it isn't needed to wow your reader. All in all, it is a fairly solid essay. However, I don't see how it is any different from any other halftime speech cliche?

By Aparent (Aparent) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:27 am: Edit

The most interesting bit of the story is the boy with the broken leg who shows up to play. If that boy were you, or if you knew him very well, or if you yourself had broken his leg somehow, you might have something to zero in on. As it is now...I can't find you.

By Hautbois (Hautbois) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:16 am: Edit

Needs work. Even at the beginning ... "the smell ... could be smelled" ... "gallent men" being used twice ... "yester year" ... between the repetition and what sounds to me like archaic language (I thought you might be talking about jousting at first!) it doesn't sound right or real.

You also have grammar errors and punctuation errors, but I'm assuming you'll have someone proof the essay when you complete it.

I don't know; it just doesn't work for me. You are talking about a story a coach told you, and it seems second hand or something. You might try thinking about your love for basketball from a different angle. (And make it sound contemporary, imo!)

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:30 am: Edit

The first use metaphors and similes too much. It doesn't sound like your natural writing style at all. Write personably. Write about your feelings. Show detail. The size of the other teams' players. The cheering. thing that really annoyed me was that you said "long, concrete, rectangular-shaped object". This sounds terrible. Just say stadium or court.

Don't over thesaurize your essay. It sounds cheap and impersonal.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:05 pm: Edit

Are you trying to entice the essay reader into your world with the smell of stale peanuts?

You'd do just as well with body odor!

After the first ten words, 90% of essay readers are going to be thinking to themselves, "OK, I hate this gym-team-players-victory cr_p, but I am going to force myself to be fair to this fellow and read the rest of it." You are in a steep uphill battle with this topic. The essay reader senses you are trying to ram this through them... and they simply do not like it. Even if you run it through the literary genius machine, you are probably going to hurt yourself big time with this topic.

Just my opinion.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:12 pm: Edit

Purple prose, overblown, lacking in focus.

There is one sentence that could perhaps serve as the seed of a decent essay: "Quite frankly, I was pleased to be playing basketball...." It's about you, it's in a natural language, it has a smidgin of emotion looking for development. Most of the piece reads like it was written by a hack sportswriter-in-training.

The entire second paragraph needs to go into the bit bucket.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:43 pm: Edit

You are an interesting person, we can see that from your various posts. I believe you can come up with a more enticing topic - something less general. Have you looked over all of last year's essay topics for some of your schools of interest? That's a good jump-off point.

By Reeses (Reeses) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:47 pm: Edit

I agree with everyone else. It was not very interesting, cliche, and I got a little lost in the second paragraph...also you need to edit. The most annoying error is that you put a comma after the independent clause. There is only a comma after a dependent clause.

Also run ons: The outcome was not a favorable one,(NEW SENTENCE or SEMI COLON) I did not make the A-team, instead I was placed on a lower level team.

Have someone edit it or go read a grammar book because it distracts the reader, especially English teachers (which is what I want to be).

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:47 pm: Edit

What about the vast insights you gained while digging up bamboo? What did you think about, anyway? That WAS you, wasn't it? Bet they haven't seen too many essays on that topic!

By Reeses (Reeses) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Also, if you insist on writing about sports, write a separate essay about your back problems without looking at this one, and let's see how that turns out. You can compare them.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:36 pm: Edit

"What about the vast insights you gained while digging up bamboo? What did you think about, anyway? That WAS you, wasn't it? Bet they haven't seen too many essays on that topic! "

-How in the world did you know this? I know you! Don't I?

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:38 pm: Edit

I honestly would suggest ditching this topic altogether. But, if you want to go with it, here's a place to start:


it was Piedmont vs. my Stanley Wildcats, the gym was filled to the max capacity.

This would be a good way to start the essay. Instantly grabs the reader's attention.

Other than that, this essay isn't very good at all. Regardless if its true or not...there is nothing inherently special about it. Write naturally, and be personable. You're trying to force a writing style that obviously isn't you, and it comes off as 'bleh'.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:46 pm: Edit

I spent over 50 hours digging up that bamboo. At some points the roots were atleast 5 feet into the ground..I can't believe someone knew about this, unless of course you know me.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:53 pm: Edit

Bad slip, Mo2. Now he suspects that he's under surveillance. I hope you haven't compromised our source(s).

I'm posting this with the crypto key but the darn thing has been sticking...hope it should read to the public like an inane comment about use of subordinate clauses.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:58 pm: Edit

worked just fine TD

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:27 pm: Edit

I should just tell you that obviously I'm a mom and therefore omniscient...

No, I promise - it was in one of your old posts a few weeks ago! It was so unique, I must have filed it away.

See if you want to take this challenge: write a page or three about digging bamboo. Don't try to glean any cosmic meanings from it - just make us feel the sweat running down our backs. Don't even tell us how fulfilling it was when you finished. As a matter of fact, don't TELL us anything, SHOW us the experience. Write in your normal voice - you might try present tense, then grammar would not be as critical. Whatever makes your words start flowing.

Just don't do what my S's would do and start with "Boy, this stuff is a real B!"

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:28 pm: Edit


I'm on to you guys. I know your reflexive codes.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:31 pm: Edit

Hey Moreau: Who knighted YOU?

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:32 pm: Edit

Three pages on digging bamboo...this probably attributed to my back problems greatly! I had not thought about that before, I can title this essay "how bamboo ruined my life".

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:34 pm: Edit

The Queen of England. If you ever directly call me Moreau again, you shall be put in a dungeon and tied up for life.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:41 pm: Edit

Momof2 - I am glad you find me moderately interesting, i'm just this average gold digger, cross out the gold and replace it with bamboo - "Bamboo Digger". I'm just as average as they come; Sports, leadership, average grades and test scores.

Whoever it was that said my grammar sucked, i'm auctually reading a grammar book right now and i've improved my writing a pretty good deal. I'm still on my way. By the way, thank you everyone for the comments on my essay.

"Mr. Morris" was like my role model growing up, he was extremely strict and the BEST basketball coach i've ever had in my life, we went undefeated that year. He had about 20 set offenses, 5 different defenses, kept statistics and did a great job of emhpasizing rebounding...that was his last year of coaching, as he was a pretty old guy. Morris is my hero, words can't really do him any justice.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:52 pm: Edit


I spent over 50 hours digging up that bamboo. At some points the roots were atleast 5 feet into the ground

LOOK! Your first two sentences!

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:54 pm: Edit

I HATE my life.

By Reeses (Reeses) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:02 pm: Edit

sirmoreau- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. Your grammar didn't "suck." I never said that. i just saw a few mistakes i thought i'd point out b/c no one else wrote it...go w/ the bamboo essay though (I'm in the same situation as you only w/ a hip injury on my xc team, but i decided it was too cliche) And your grammar really isn't bad, just wanted to suggest a few things.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:12 pm: Edit

Don't HATE your life. Just do your best every day and be determined to take it in another direction when you get the chances.

P.S. - virtually ALL teenagers hate their life at some time or another. I wouldn't go back and do 14-21 again for untold millions!

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:17 pm: Edit

Mo2, I don't think I'd use the WayBack machine to go back to any earlier than about 30-35. I might go for 20 but only if I knew then what I knew by 30-35.


Sirm, your essay wasn't about Mr. Morris, either. It was kind of a goulash, which was one of the major problems...focus.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:33 pm: Edit

For the first try, at least - don't make your back troubles the focus. (The readers all probably have back and neck strain from their jobs and it will just make them squirm.) Make the reader FEEL what it's like to spend hours digging up bamboo - was the soil red or black, crumbly or like clay? Was the bamboo cut back first - did it smell like anything? (In dry, drought-y N. TX, we don't have much bamboo experience.)

Don't try to come to any conclusion - think I have an idea here, but want to see if you are interested enough to try this topic. If it works, it would be VERY unique.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Stop all the talk about grammar PLEASE!

Grammar is one of the very last things you want to even consider when writing a college essay. Thinking about grammar on the first draft is like trying to brush paint on a house that you haven't built a foundation for... in this case Moreau hasn;t even decided what STREET he wants to build the house on.

So... put your grammar brushes away for a long time. Yes, put them right next to those spelling brushes--you don't need those either. Not today!

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:47 pm: Edit

I used machettes to cut the bamboo down...this bamboo was like 20-40 feet high. It was the invasive kind of bamboo, it was blocking up the creek and causing havoc to the natural habitat. At first, I was pleased when I cut it all down with the machettes, then a week later the bamboo was rapidly growing back - so I had to pull out the shovel and this huge axe type tool (I need to ask my dad for the specific name), you know I think I will write an essay about it - hey even if it doesn't work atleast it'll still be fun.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:53 pm: Edit

If it's fun for you - it will be fun for the reader. Conversely, if it feels like pulling teeth in hell for you, then............

[signing out now for the old grocery run - how domestic!]

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:01 pm: Edit

MT - Luckily spell check is a magical spelling brush! Now if only I had a magical grammatical brush.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:16 pm: Edit

There *are* grammar tools...I think I've got one installed on one of my computers...or had one...turned the damn thing off because for every useful reminder it gave me it also gave 20 alerts about things I knew darned well what I was doing and why.

But for someone whose paint brush is shaky, it might be useful.

By Nealp (Nealp) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:36 pm: Edit

do the bamboo! i think unique topics are fun - i'm writing about my free book bag from the sierra club ( an incentive for 15$ membership dues).

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:50 pm: Edit

MS word also has a nice "grammar check". It's more like customizing the "spell check"...but it checks for no-no's, like passive voice, contractions, etc.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 07:19 pm: Edit

MS Word for Macintosh has the essay feature. Under Edit/Essay choose "survey"
The choose the number of words.
Then just fill in the half dozen or so answers, and press Enter.

Not a bad essay!

I wonder if that is on the PC version of MS Word. Anyone know?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:21 pm: Edit

"Do the bamboo!" sounds like someone inviting you to do a new dance. Watusi, anyone?

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 09:42 pm: Edit

This is the location I want to be - can bamboo honestly be my right of passage?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:35 pm: Edit

After you complete your rite of passage, UCSB will be known as

University of California for
SirMoreau and Bamboo

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:10 pm: Edit


(get it now i'm using "right" improperly!)

I want to attend U C S B, so badly. Although San Diego State University is looking better and better everyday. It is a fabulous looking campus.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:15 pm: Edit

I emailed somebody here.. if they got it please reply briefly.

By Aparent (Aparent) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 12:19 am: Edit

Well, I'm late to the party here, but I want to hear about digging bamboo.

By Gianscolere (Gianscolere) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 08:27 pm: Edit

Sirmoreau: I've always thought you're a good writer from reading your posts, but it did not come across in your essay.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit

Face it; I have ZERO writing skills.

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Nope, nada, don't agree. You may have problems when you think you are "writing," but not when you are "conversing in print." Your communication style is actually pretty effective, even in our slapshot conversational style. You paint some pretty clear pictures here.

By Crystal_Baller (Crystal_Baller) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 10:06 pm: Edit

seems like a solid essay but it looks like you're trying too hard.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 10:42 pm: Edit

Yeah. Just pretend your posting a message here about your latest bamboo digging experience! 8-)

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:19 am: Edit

I think there's an interesting lesson buried here: you're more impressive when you're not trying. A very Zen kind of thing.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:24 am: Edit

Wouldn't colleges rather see effort though? confused.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:28 am: Edit

If it comes off as a detailed, personable account...that's all the effort they need to see. An essay about you.

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 12:29 am: Edit

I think MT, helped me out though, we shall see. "Keep it simple and it can still be powerful"

By Beaubourg (Beaubourg) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:10 am: Edit

When asked about his writing success, James Michener once said, “You know, I’m really not a very good writer. But I’m one of the world’s great re-writers”. Sirmoreau’s essay is littered with mistakes and awkward constructions. These could be identified (as some already have been) and re-written. But even if it were perfectly revised, you are left with one more essay about “the big game”. Are you determined to bore adcoms to death? The three most common clichés in college essay topics are 1) “The Big Game”, 2) “I’ve Learned How Lucky I Am by Doing Community Service” and 3) “My Dead or Dying Relative”. Can you write a good essay on these topics? Yes… almost anything is possible. [I am quite certain that T.S. Eliot’s typical grocery list was far better written than anything I could ever hope to write. But I doubt he’d have submitted one to an adcom.] Give yourself a fighting chance. Choose an original, or at least a non-cliché topic.

Finally, let’s say that you stuck with this essay, revised it perfectly, and somehow made it viable. What is its message? Isn’t it, “I love basketball; it’s the biggest thing in my life”? Is that the message you want to send to an adcom with your one big opportunity to tell them something about yourself? Unless you intend to play varsity ball, remember that even out-and-out jock schools want evidence of interest in academics and other things beyond the gym. It may be true that b-ball is your passion. But when applying to an institution of higher learning, and that institution is asking “why should we take you”, I would advise that you direct your answer (in this case, your essay) to highlighting those dimensions of your character that are directed toward higher learning, even if they are painfully few and far between.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 10:41 am: Edit

Yeah, re-writing is what separates the pros from the amateurs.

Substitute "good writer" for "pro" as necessary.

By Jumbo (Jumbo) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 02:00 pm: Edit

Don't write about a sports topic..its one of the cliche essay topics that everyone writes about. Stick with bamboo.

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