Monday, May 30, 2016

Who teaches these people how to write

I had to read this sentence at least a half dozen times before I finally came to grips with it, but I’m still not positive that I am completely understanding it. It’s from a column that appeared in today’s Austin American-Statesman by sports commentator Cedric Golden. The column concerned the upcoming Big 12 Conference meetings and I don’t need to go into any more detail than that to highlight this particular sentence Golden crafted about the University of Kansas’ basketball programs:

"The Jayhawks have won three national titles,16 regular season and 10 Big 12 tournament titles, including a current streak of 12 straight."

How, I kept asking myself, could Kansas have won the last 12 straight tournament titles when, according to Golden, they had only won 10 overall? Finally, after reading that sentence over and over and over again and tossing it around in my mind, I somewhat hesitantly have come to the conclusion the "12 straight" refers to the regular season titles, even though the structure of that sentence contradicts that thought.

I’m guessing the Statesman also gives sports copy editors the day off on Sundays because, otherwise, hopefully, someone on the sports desk would have caught and corrected this sentence.

Maybe Austin’s dearth of competent sports writers is because the capital city doesn’t have one of the Big 4 professional sports teams. I also realize I’m going to be spoiled because I began my professional journalism career working on the same newspaper as the great Red Smith and later wound up working on the same publication as the immortal Blackie Sherrod. But still, Austin does have the University of Texas and even though it’s athletic standing ain’t what it used to be, you would think we could do better than this.

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