Help me cram for a sports proficiency test!
March 10, 2009 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Help me cram for a sports proficiency test!

I am interviewing for a tech job at a major sports network. Before I get my foot in the door for the tech interview, I have a phone interview for sports knowledge. I am qualified for the job, tech-wise, and have worked for a sports network before.

I am in the NY metro area and my favorite sport is hockey. I know basics--a touchdown is 6 points, I can describe icing, etc.; but I don't follow teams or stay current, know who was in the playoffs, or anything like that. I don't have a TV so watching sportscenter is out.

Anyone else been in this position? Any suggestions for websites, study strategies?

Or general tips for directing the conversation to my strengths...?

Thank you. for more info
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total)
SI and the New York Times has pretty much everything, ever archived on their site. The SI and ESPN sites also have "power rankings", where one of their journalists follow all the teams, week by week, over the course of a season, giving a brief blurb on each and why they're ranked where they are. SI also has player rankings, where a journalist will list their favorite hundred or so players in a sport, and tell you why they like them. (I think you'll need to hit the library for the print issues, as I can't find these online)

Go over these for the past two years for the four major sports, and you'll know which teams made it to the playoffs and why, and which teams didn't make it to the playoffs and why, and is BenJarvis Green-Ellis one player or four?

But a better tactic would be to go Old Skool on them, just start obsessing about your favorite hockey team's best season, and compare it to a previous season, sometime in the 50's...
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:38 PM on March 10, 2009

Focus on the big sports; Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey. If you're favorite sport is hockey, I'd try to direct the conversation there more than anything else.

Take a look through the Sports section at bookstores such as Borders. There are a lot of general history sort of books that die-hards shy away from but might be right up your alley. There's a baseball one, which I think is called Baseball Chronicle, which has a spread for each year. Flipping through these sorts of things might give you an idea as to who the power-house teams are in each sport, some major events, etc.

Crawl Wikipedia! This might be your best resource. There is good general (and specific) history there, and you can even find summaries of notable events during particular seasons, for example.

Additionally, I've seen The Sports Book at bookstores, which provides a diagram and general explanation for pretty much any sport you can think of. No small details or references to teams or players, however.

Other than that? Watch a lot of SportsCenter. They are annoying, biased, and often focused on imaginary drama, but they do cover a lot of current news. If you're interviewing for a major sports network, they might have the same focus in interview questions.
posted by HonorShadow at 8:06 PM on March 10, 2009

You might think about just owning up to your honest level of sports knowledge. If it is going to be a job requirement, you will not be able to bluff your way through for any length of time, but it might be enough to show you have some level of knowledge about and enthusiasm for sports. If you really can explain how icing works, you are a step ahead of the average hockey fan, for example.

As far as guiding the conversation, perhaps try and talk about your sports-related experiences at the other network, talk about exactly what it is you like about hockey, and maybe pick a side in a long-standing sports controversy, along with a couple three reasons to back up your position. "Fighting in Hockey: Threat or Menace?" is a classic that ties into your sport of choice.

I'll second Wikipedia and ESPN's Power Rankings as great summaries. You could also look at various sports organizations' "Spring Training Previews" for a few baseball teams to get a sense of the State of The MLB as we head into the season.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:29 PM on March 10, 2009

I do not think it possible to cram for specific questions from such a broad category. Are you really going to memorize who won the Daytona 500 the last 10 years? I would explain that you understand sports in general, have a love for hockey and are willing to learn anything specific they might want you to know.

If you do research online, try streaming The Fan, WFAN 660 in NY. It is sports talk radio.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:37 PM on March 10, 2009

Hard to know the approach they'll take, if it'll be something like, "Whadja think about the Super Bowl?" A reasonable answer would be, "I thought Pittsburgh would dominate and that they'd put it away when they had a good lead, but Arizona was really impressive in coming back and Pittsburgh played like champions to win it late."

Or maybe they ask what you think of the Terrell Owens doings. An at-least decent answer would be, "Not astonishing that he wore out his welcome in Dallas and hard to say if diminished production was due to age, his attitude or both. Was surprising that he signed with Buffalo because they haven't been a team that goes for high-risk, high-reward players."

Short of being quizzed on a specific sport, hard to see how you can cover enough ground in the time you have. Hard to see how you could have comprehensive knowledge of things like whether Cousin Carl and the Roushketeers are NASCAR or something from college basketball (the former).

Best thought, glom up the basics on sports that are going on now:

Basketball--can Celtics repeat, does Orlando or Cleveland have the horsepower to take 'em out in the East, can anyone beat the Lakers in the West and does LA have what it takes to beat Boston or the East winner in the Finals?

College basketball--have a pick or two for the tournament--UNC b/c of their experience and they're toughened by playing in a good conference?

Baseball--which is pretty much A-rod, Manny, the Yanks' big signings, thoughts on Bonds and Clemens.

NASCAR--Roushketeers vs Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson's slow start, Tony Stewart's new team, has Jeff Gordon turned a corner and soon a race-winner, will tire woes make for boring races?

Golf--Will Tiger Woods--you've hear of him, right? ;-)--return to form, how much will he play this year and when he returns to action.
posted by ambient2 at 11:40 PM on March 10, 2009

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