Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Scene Details From a Football Camp

My 16-year-old son recently spent some time at football camps. While waiting in the stands, the writer in me came out and I began scribbling down scene details on the back of my son's schedule. Well, I watched him and took photos too! But hey, as a YA writer, I never know when I'll need these details.

In case you're curious about how these camps work, or if you ever need scene details involving a football camp, I thought I'd share what I noticed.

The Location
  • College campuses: USC, UCLA and Cerritos College. Large, beige buildings surrounding a football field. 
  • Artificial turf on the football fields, with tiny black rubber bits scattered all over the ground (from the turf)
  • Powerade station with organizers filling cups for the players
  • Foggy L.A. mornings, but once the clouds burn off, hot afternoons
The People
  • Hundreds of teen boys, all races, all sizes. Not only big, burly guys, but smaller guys who haven't finished growing yet
  • Boys wearing school gym shorts--black, red, yellow, purple--with high school logos on the right leg
  • All boys wearing matching athletic shirts provided by camp organizers. White box in the center where boys wrote their names (some first names, some last names) with a black Sharpie
  • Hair: buzz cuts, curly, long hair held back in bands
  • Moms and dads in the stands, watching, taking photos, reading, looking at their phones
  • Some boys standing alone; some making small talk with other boys
  • Lone (brave) girl running laps around the track (there's a story there, right?)
  • Burly coaches with "Staff" written on the backs of their shirts
The Activities
  • Boys separated in groups on the field, stretching, warming up, jumping
  • Running the 40 yard dash
  • One on one drills
  • 7 on 7 drills
  • Grouped in rooms by position, watching film of their technique & receiving tips on how to improve
The Sounds
  • Coaches yelling instructions
  • Clapping
  • Whistles blowing
  • Chants at the end of claps, like "SC!"
  • At USC--nearby construction noise
  • One huge coach on the sidelines screaming at the players, "Come on Beyonce! Let's see what you've got, Beyonce!" (Not even joking)
What do you think of these scene details? Ever been to a football camp? Do you jot down scene details when you're out and about?


  1. You collected some wonderful details! I hope you get to use what you observed in a story!

    I do jot down scene details like this, too. Being in the moment and observing where you are right now is a good skill for writers to practice.

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    1. Laura, we never know when we'll use these details, so heck, might as well write them down. Besides, I was kinda bored :)

  2. One lone girl running - funny! And how many boys watching her run?

    1. Alex, get this...I thought all the guys would watch her the whole time. But they didn't! At least not obviously. I suppose the coaches would've given them a hard time.

  3. You get extra points for using the UCLA logo!

  4. Thanks!! Gonna print this out, like you said, you never know when you could use them for a story.

    1. Traci, the worst that can happen is you don't use it! Thanks so much :)

  5. All these details make me feel like I was there... Really cool, Julie. I too like to soak in the environment like this--and I feel like I have ever since I was a little girl. *But* I need to write them down. I'm really bad at that!

    1. Morgan, I wasn't prepared to write down details, which is why I used the back of my son's schedule! Plus, it gave me something to do to pass the time :)

  6. Beyonce? I have no idea what he meant by that.

    The writer's brain is always working. I'm not much of a jotter, but I always try to find something to observe. Thanks for sharing about football camp.

  7. Awesome! I'm especially intrigued by the girl running the track.

  8. "The writer's brain is always working." How true. I'm always scribbling in my notebook when I go places. Often fragments of poetry. The details you nailed surely will be useful in a scene or an article. (i see you write nonfiction, too.) Nice share.

  9. It's those kinds of details that make a scene come to life!

  10. I love the rush I get when an idea strikes. It's the best part of being a writer! -RB Austin

  11. What an excellent idea. Now here's a rich background to set a scene!

  12. I am so glad that I am not the only person that takes notes from my surroundings because you never know when you might need to recall these memories. I think that your list of details was thought out with just enough creativity.

    Psychologist Doctorate