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The Best American Sports Writing 2011 Paperback – October 4, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
What is good is that the collection, as it does each year, includes some fabulous pieces, deeply telling stories that need depth to be good. "The Surfing Savant," "Danny Way and the Gift of Fear," "The Courage of Jill Costello"--here is where we see beauty in a genre that seems required these days to write about less and less beautiful circumstances.
*Thanks to the publisher, by the way, for bringing this year's edition to the Kindle.
The Best American Sports Writing 2011 ed. Jane Leavy; I almost set this book aside at about halfway through, as it seemed that is was mistitled... The Best American Sports Writing about the Worst in American Sports seemed more appropriate. Stories about hockey schools teaching kids how to fight, multiple stories about entitled male athletes, coaches, and schools mistreating women, athletes in trouble with the law, etc. interspersed with stores about extreme(ly crazy, IMO) sports... and several stories that I wouldn't necessarily even consider being about sports.
But then I read another story that I liked a lot (even though, again, I'm not sure it's actually about 'sports'); Gentling Cheatgrass by Sterry Butcher. That story convinced me to keep reading, and I'm so glad I did! Several inspiring, tear-inducing stories fill the second half of this collection. Old College Try tells the story of Darryl Dawkins and where he is now; Life Goes On is an inspiring story about the death of boxer Paco Rodriguez, and the good that came out of his death; and finally, perhaps the most inspiring of all The Courage of Jill Costello describes Jill Costello's refusal to succumb to the ravages of lung cancer.
Read this collection if you love sports and sports-writing, and if you don't mind alternating between being extremely pissed off at one story and unabashedly crying about the next...
But then she selects short articles with no lyricism that are keyed to scandalous news events: Sally Jenkins on Ben Roethlisberger, Selena Roberts on a high school cheerleader, and so on. Those stories are throwaway columns that feel as if they were selected because they are by well-known sportswriters in major publications.
However, Leavy does offer up some gems that are inspirational and illuminating, which make the book worthwhile. The resurrection of Darryl Dawkins as a college coach is sweet, even as he gets a chance to rewrite history a bit about his pro career. The stories about a deep-sea diver and a BASE jumper-flyer are awe-inspiring, even if the men are idiots. (As an aside, I'll never understand spending that much effort and devotion to doing something so selfish, and then needing the world to know how tough it was to achieve.)
A few of the "biggies" fell flat. I didn't care for the story about the trans-gender sportswriter. Not because I have a personal opposition, but because I thought so much more could have been done with the story. Same with the Dusty Baker profile. And the thing about 8 seconds in a hockey game was a total overreach, except for the handful of people who actually watched the game and would like to re-live it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sorry I gave this as a gift to my grandson. I believe he enjoyed it.but did not read it myselfPublished 19 months ago by Bibi
I'm always disappointed when SI and NYer get a lot of ink because I've ready them, but that certainly doesn't detract from their quality.Published on January 18, 2013 by Jay Caldwell
I'm a huge fan of the series - been reading for years and have always heartily recommended it to friends.
But this year's collection took a seriously wrong turn. Read more
Good read, not as good as other years. Overall it is what it says it is. Maybe it was a slow year for hacks and this is why there was very few standout stories.Published on March 31, 2012 by legend27
I buy this book every year for my brother at Christmas. He looks forward to it and he expects it! He likes the variety of stories written by excellent journalists and authors.Published on January 10, 2012 by Rubeslippr56