Synopses & Reviews
On any given day, sports will offer us stories the most human stories in richer supply, and more reliably, than any other branch of endeavor . . . When someone does write how it was, or how it is, it thrills us with the same exultation that we feel when a fellow being excels on the field, the court, the course, or the track . . . I dont think its stretching things to say that the writers in this book show, in their field, the same sort of hyper-acuity that athletic heroes show in their games.” from the introduction by Richard Ben Cramer
Not just for readers of the sports pages, these selections bring together the finest writing on sports from the past year. Richard Ben Cramer assembles a fascinating look at the sporting world, showcasing the triumphs and heartaches of human endeavor and covering all aspects of sport.
Lynne Cox chronicles her extraordinary swim in the Arctic Ocean. Gary Smith provides rare insight into the complexities of Mia Hamm. Michael Leahy details the final days of the Michael Jordan Wizards. Susan Orlean takes the definition of sport in a different direction with an insiders look at the World Taxidermy Championships. Greg Couch and Lisa Olson both offer a glimpse of sports underbelly as a professional baseball team scalps its own tickets and as women single-mindedly pursue million-dollar athletes. Carlton Stowers follows a six-man high school football team as they strive for success, and Michael Hall chronicles a mans escape from death and his journey of renewal through running.
With Cramer at the helm, this years selections embrace the world of sports in all its drama, humanity, and excitement.
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the countrys finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected and most popular of its kind.
Cracker-jack writing from some of the countrys best-known sports journalists.” Publishers Weekly
With Richard Ben Cramer at the helm, this years selections embrace the world of sports in all its drama, humanity, and excitement, from swimming the Arctic Ocean to high school football. Todays foremost journalists shed light on Mia Hamm, Amare Stoudemire, and on sports underbelly as a professional baseball team scalps its own tickets and as women single-mindedly pursue million-dollar athletes. We witness the World Taxidermy Championships, the final days of the Michael Jordan Wizards, and much more.
About the Author
'Glenn Stout has been the series editor of The Best American Sports Writing since its inception and has written three illustrated biographies with Richard A. Johnson: Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures, Joe DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life, and Jackie Robinson: Between the Baselines. He is a columnist for Boston Baseball, and the acclaimed author of Red Sox Century, Yankees Century, and The Dodgers. His work has appeared in many regional and national magazines and newspapers.Richard Ben Cramer is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist and the author of the best-selling Joe DiMaggio, What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?, What It Takes, and most recently How Israel Lost.'
Table of Contents
Introduction by Richard Ben Cramer xix
joe posnanski. Dusting Off Home 1 from The Kansas City Star
susan orlean. Lifelike 12 from The New Yorker
steve friedman. The Race of Truth 21 from Bicycling
lynne cox. Swimming to Antarctica 37 from The New Yorker
robert draper. Beauty in the Beast 54 from GQ
gary smith. The Secret Life of Mia Hamm 62 from Sports Illustrated
paul solotaroff. Growing Up Mantle 86 from Mens Journal
peter hessler. Home and Away 98 from The New Yorker
michael leahy. All the Kings Men: Why the Team That Jordan Built Fell to Pieces 119 from The Washington Post Magazine
peter de jonge. The Leap of His Life 142 from The New York Times Magazine
lisa olson. Making a Play for Players 162 from The New York Daily News
carlton stowers. Friday Night Lite 167 from The Dallas Observer
charles p. pierce. Black Sunday 178 from Sports Illustrated
greg couch. A Runaway Win Cubs Fans Wont Appreciate 186 from The Chicago Sun-Times
bob ryan. Misery Has More Company 190 from The Boston Globe
ira berkow. An Unconventional Tradition of Success 193 from The New York Times
mitch albom. Trying to Find Yourself in the Toughest Times 198 from The Detroit Free Press
stephen rodrick. A Long Strange Trip 201 from Runners World
tommy craggs. Fishing the Mainstream 214 from SF Weekly
guy martin. Getting Slammed 227 from Field & Stream
william nack. No, Not Again!” 234 from ESPN.com
joan ryan. Galarraga Steals Base, Stops Time 240 from The San Francisco Chronicle
rick telander. Playing Against the Clock 243 from Sports Illustrated
andy meisler. The Fright Stuff 260 from The Los Angeles Times Magazine
michael hall. Running for His Life 272 from Texas Monthly
bill plaschke. At Ease, at Last 286 from The Los Angeles Times
Biographical Notes 293
Notable Sports Writing of 2003 297