From Publishers Weekly
This collection proves again that some of the best current American journalism is on the sports pages. The book contradicts Deford's assertion that sports writers should be held to a higher standard of craftsmanship because "sports is rarely significant in the grand scheme of things. . . . " For example, the battle over Islamic fundamentalism is at the heart of Kenny Moore's profile of Algeria's track stars Noureddine Morceli and Hassiba Boulmerka, a woman who must run in shorts, much to the outrage of the clerics. Mitch Albom takes an example of random gunplay on a basketball court and, through his fine reporting, elevates it to the level of tragedy. There's also a hilarious piece by Roy Blount Jr., detailing his humiliating experiences at a race-car driving school. Dave Barry brings a pleasantly irreverent spin to the over-covered joys of small-town minor-league baseball and Donna Tartt offers some insight into class struggle in high school in her reminiscence of her days as a cheerleader. Finally, if it proves nothing else, this volume reaffirms the excellence of the staff of Sports Illustrated ; the magazine is represented by four of the strongest articles in the book. Deford is an SI alum and a sports columnist for National Public Radio.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Culled from almost 400 periodicals by series editor Stout and guest editor Deford (former editor of The National Sports Daily whose new novel, Love and Infamy, is reviewed above): a championship cup of essays on sports and sports figures on and off the field. First, problems: Most of the names are familiar if not famous, making the ``best'' title suspect; ``well-known'' would be just as accurate. Only two women appear among the 26 authors (are there really that few good women sportswriters?). Too many of the stories--the lead piece, for example, on Tommy Lasorda's son, who died of AIDS, or one on the tangled private life of figure skater Tonya Harding--aren't really sports stories and skirt the borders of tabloid journalism in subject if not style. Much too often, Deford's taste runs to sensationalism rather than sports--but there are still gems aplenty. The two best take risks: Marathon-runner Amby Burfoot breaks a taboo by discussing the apparent genetic advantage of blacks for footracing, and Mark Kram writes a scary, lyrical expos of football violence. Ben Javorsky logs in with a hundred-page (!) diary of a year in the life of an inner-city high-school basketball team; Ray Blount, Jr., gets lost racing on an oval track; Ron Fimrite remembers a football coach of the 1940's; Pat Jordan profiles baseball manager Whitey Herzog; Roger Angell grows wistful once again about the summer game; Dave Barry scouts out the Florida Marlins' minor-league franchise; and Donna Tartt writes amusingly about high-school cheerleading. David Roberts, Rick Reilly, Charles P. Pierce, William Nack, Rich Reilly, and Scott Raab also offer standout performances. Good work, boys; but next time, let's have more women, more unknowns, more sports, and less sleaze. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.