Final scores are less important to Smith than personal journeys. He doesn't write game stories; he writes stories about compelling people who happen to play our games, some famous--like Ali, Magic Johnson, Mike Tyson, Jim Valvano, and a series of world-record holders in the mile--some hardly footnotes, like John Malangone, the "Damned Yankee" in the title of the volume's leadoff piece. Malangone's saga is unforgettable. Once a sure-fire bet to replace Yogi Berra behind home plate, he carried enormous expectations, which seemed to crush him. But it wasn't the expectations that derailed him; it was a childhood memory he couldn't shake, "the whip," writes Smith, "he has used to flog himself for 60 years." With great understanding, Smith explores the horror encased in the memory, how carrying it corroded Malangone's potential, and how, ultimately, Malangone confronted his psychological baggage and, in his 60s, rediscovered his passion for the game he once walked away from. It is a tour de force of writing and reporting, set within the game but expanding well beyond it. But then every piece in this exceptional collection manages to do the same. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Perhaps the most fascinating piece in Smith's book is his view of the young Mike Tyson growing up in Brooklyn.
His compassion and understanding of his subject is so complete that I feel as if I know these people better than most of my friends.
As much as the critics like Frank Deford and Rick Reilly, Gary Smith is by far Sports Illustrated's best writer.
Gary Smith is a wonderful long form sports writers, perhaps the best at S.I. since the days of Dan Jenkins and Bud Shrake. Read morePublished 3 months ago by olingerstories
Gary Smith has always set the standard for great sports writing.This book exemplifies his genius.Doesn't matter which sport he covers,he manages to make the story about the person... Read morePublished 3 months ago by david
I originally bought the book because I heard that the movie Radio was based off of a true story. i thought the movie was cute and when I did research, this book came up and I love... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Yoda237
What a great book. Gary Smith isn't a writer, he is a poet. His articles are something to be savored, not skimmed. Each and every word has a purpose. Read morePublished on July 1, 2008 by Amazon Shopper 99!