It’s time for the combine. The time of year when we analyze the most highly applicable and transferable skills any potential workforce gets the opportunity to demonstrate. This testing is the most important week since the NFL season—scratch that—the most important week of the year, and more broadly is the envy of corporate America, retail chains, even Mom and Pop stores, and all employers really, across our proud, free nation. Under the scrutiny of a 4 day media frenzy, the highly trained and specialized individuals, who ironically look less like individuals donning their Under Armour gear, exhibit their skills in 6 highly specialized and comparable drills to achieve their life-long dreams.
Of course we’re talking about the 2013 NFL FanSided Writing Combine.
All potential writers looking to be drafted on a FanSided team train their whole lives in all of the non-arbitrary, and practical events to decide who is best suited to write on Sundays, and every other day of the week as well.
40 Word Dash
The first event of this widely covered event is the 40 Word Dash. Content is a non-factor in this staple barometer for future contributors. It is testing speed, straight out. Each writer is measured on how fast they can type “I can type forty words.” The shortest amount of time to type the 5 words 8 times is the best mark. The unofficial combine record of 9.91s set by Bo Jackson is unlikely to go down this year (Bo knows writing).
The ability to change directions of thought while your opponents attempt to tackle your ideas will be extrapolated by General Editors from your 40 Time. All questions on whether the 40 time measures relevant abilities will not be addressed at this time. But even an unpolished product without accuracy, riddled with typos, or low quality content, with the raw physical tools to type 40 Words faster than you can say think it is a highly draft-able writer.
Broad-Jump to Conclusions
Next up is a test of power and overall body and mind control–the Broad-Jump to Conclusions. Writers will do a broad jump as far horizontally as they can out onto the Jump to Conclusions Mat (yes, just like in Office Space). Writers will be measured on an index of how far they jump, and on the broad conclusions that they announce about the specific topic labeled where their feet land on the mat. The topics labeled on the map change year to year, and writer to writer. In a previous combine, Rob Parker’s nearly 8 foot jump and broad generalizations about race relations were a red flag, but his jump was just too impressive across the competition to acknowledge the questionable content.
The Vertical-Jump to Conclusions is the third drill. See “Broad-Jump” instructions. Now jump up, not out. Reaching helps too.
Freedom of the Press, Press
The 4th drill measures writers both strength and memory recall. Each writer completes as many reps of a single 8 ½” X 11” sheet of printer paper with the First Amendment printed on it, in the amount of time it takes to recite the First Amendment. For those unfamiliar:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The record from Michael Silver of 35 reps in 16 seconds, according to the experts, strangely equates roughly to the 394 reps recorded in 4 long, rambling minutes by Skip Bayless. Advocates for change to this drill prefer a heavier weight, such as a volume(s) of the precedents ruled in First Amendment rights’ cases. But an efficient strategy to grab and press these huge volumes has yet to be invented.
Three Point Drill
This drill measures a writer’s ability to change direction of thought very quickly. Writers are asked to make one short point, then move onto another topic to make an unrelated point. Then they quickly side-step back to the first point, before tying it back to the second, unrelated thought; and then sharply changing to a third unrelated thought before circling back to the first two. Conceptually, the separate, unrelated ideas would be set up in an “L” shape. Cohesion is not important, but changing thoughts quickly between disparate ideas like head traumas, touchdown celebrations, and the franchise tag in several short, incoherent sentences is a must. The great John Madden at his best would have put out an unbeatable Three Point mark to catapult him up the draft board.
Even the driest box score or game summary benefits from some creativity. The last of the six drills has writers deliver a haiku of their choosing. All haiukus must conform to the standard 5-7-5 syllables rule. Writers begin with 5 syllables, then shuttle back to the left column to begin a seven syllable line, and shuttle back with a final 5 syllable line. Save the power for the other drills, this is testing agility and grace around the page. The ability of a single haiku to relay much pertinent information is very limited. So the small, creative sample size is a perfect match for the Combine.
There you have it: the 6 Drills at the NFL FanSided Writing Combine. Naturally there are complimentary position drills, and the standard Wonderlick test. But there is one new test given this year. If you want to write for FanSided, you must complete this brand new, final component of the FanSided Writing Combine LINKED HERE
Good luck at the 2013 NFL FanSided Writing Combine