Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2000″

"The Best American Sports Writing 2000," edited by Dick Schaap
“The Best American Sports Writing 2000,” edited by Dick Schaap

Some “Best American Sports Writing” introductions imbue their volumes with early energy. Others are fine, if forgettable.

The Best American Sports Writing 2000 is one of those unfortunate volumes with a detrimental introduction. Dick Schaap spends more than half of it mostly talking about how many famous friends he has and how cool that makes him, then gives a perfunctory final thought about how sports stories should always be entertaining, and when possible funny.

The problem is, none of the BASW 2000 stories are funny. What’s worse, too many of them fall flat.

James Hibberd’s “Poker Face” is about professional poker player Johnny Chan, but the essay doesn’t seem to have much to say beyond that he plays a lot of poker, and you kind of walk away from the story thinking, “so what?” Jeanne Marie Laskas’ “America is a Bull” is about a neither famous nor innovative bullrider, and his struggles aren’t enough to carry the central metaphor of the title.

And Jonathan Miles’ “Ay Caramba!…” is one of the worst fishing stories to appear in a BASW volume. Its lack of a point is matched only by a dense, meandering writing style that renders scenes all but indecipherable.

But by far the flattest of them all is Stephen Rodrick’s “Blown Away,” about a machine gun show and the militia communities surrounding Knob Creek in Kentucky.

Continue reading Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2000″

Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2014″

"The Best American Sports Writing 2014," edited by Christopher McDougall
“The Best American Sports Writing 2014,” edited by Christopher McDougall

Plenty of great books don’t have particularly memorable opening lines. But there are some opening lines so awesome on their own that they create an energy that carries through to the final line several hundred pages later.

The best such example might be William Gibson’s Neuromancer: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”

But the second best, at least for me, is from Christopher McDougall’s introduction to The Best American Sports Writing 2014: “Death-row cells have better natural light than the Rite Aid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where you can only glimpse sky through the sad slit of a window above the checkout counter.”

Seriously, how awesome is that? If that doesn’t get you immediately pumped to read the rest, you should stop reading this blog, because I’m not sure the written word is really your thing.

The essay is about McDougall first experience watching the three-dimensional running style known as parkour. McDougall writes of the jolt of energy he felt watching these parkour runners, and how an especially well-written sports story can carry the same kind of electricity. Continue reading Book Review: “The Best American Sports Writing 2014″

December 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in December 2015.

School football: Falcons use past to fuel present

School football: Mashpee strength program pays off

School football: Mashpee built to go the distance

TITLE HOPEFUL: Mashpee faces St. Bernard’s in Div. 6 championship

Senior captains help Falcons fly into title game

Dias leads Mashpee Falcons to title 28-8 over St. Bernard’s

Mashpee Falcons claim state football championship

Super Bowl notebook: Junior back Andrade powers up behind Dias

3-day competition draws nearly 3,000 skaters

Boys basketball: Defending league champion SJP II begins season with 66-29 victory

Boys basketball: Migliore hits for 23 points in Sandwich’s triumph

Girls basketball: Currence, Van Voorhis help Falmouth Academy to impressive start

Girls basketball: Seahawks survive Storm, win in OT

Boys basketball: Houston sparks 54-47 win over D-Y

NAVIGATORS’ WAY: Sturgis West comes back to beat Cape Tech

DRAMATIC VICTORY: Mashpee boys basketball tops Falmouth

Girls basketball: St. John Paul II shuts down Sturgis East in C&I victory

High schools: Middle school players essential to Cape athletics

 

November 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in November 2015.

Nauset, Nantucket earn No. 1 rankings in boys soccer

FALCONS MOVE ON in girls soccer playoffs

Football ties a family tradition for Deshaun Dias

School volleyball: Storm serve up playoff win

BLUE CRUSH: Mashpee dominates Blue Hills

School field hockey: Sandwich wins to gain semifinals

High school volleyball: Sturgis East, Sandwich eliminated

High School Football Preview: Mashpee faces familiar foe

Shibles headed to Fairfield, Megnia to UMass

Barnstable sweeps Concord-Carlisle in semis

School Football: Offensive line key to Falcons success

Schools: Three more local athletes sign letters

Barnstable volleyball team ready for battle

Football: Mashpee vs. Essex Tech preview

Barnstable wins 17th state volleyball title

Video: Moment Barnstable volleyball team wins title

Canalmen face Vikings for 85th time

Falcons, Knights play in Cranberry Bowl

For Jamiels, Thanksgiving is D-Y football and family

Sandwich 7, Mashpee 6: Blue Knights edge Falcons with extra point

Girls hockey: Defending state champion Clippers open new season with new coach

October 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in October 2015.

High school football capsules, 10/2/15

High school football: Couhig the master of Falmouth’s triple option

High school football capsules, 10/3/15

LaFrange, Couhig leads Clippers’ rout

High school football capsules, 10/4/15

ACL showdown: Unbeaten Falmouth faces powerful Marshfield

D-Y’s Andrew Jamiel scores 3 times in win over Nauset

3 dads and a team

High school football capsules, 10/16/15

School football: Lions, Falcons set for battle in Buzzards Bay

GROUND ATTACK: Mashpee football pounds St. John Paul II

Upper Cape 34, Holbrook/Avon 6: Johnson, Allen lead playoff-hopeful Rams to victory

School football: Playoff picture in focus as Falmouth faces D-Y

Upper Cape Tech 32, South Shore Voke 12: Johnson runs for 5 TDs in Rams’ victory

4th-seeded Clippers sail into home playoff game

MEMORABLE WINS: Falmouth football takes playoff opener

September 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in September 2015.

Volleyball: Barnstable’s seniors ready to lead Red Raiders toward state title contention

Deflategate reaction: Cape coaches, players rally around Brady

Football: 1 week from opener, Falmouth displays muscle and quickness in scrimmage vs. Middleboro

Girls soccer: New coach Jennifer Peterson building program at Monomoy

High school football: Barnstable, D-Y ready for tonight’s season opener

High school volleyball: 700 wins began in 1988 for Turco

A RUNNING START: Jamiel leads D-Y past Barnstable

School roundup: Dolphins volleyball too big for Lions

SEEMS LIKE HOME: Ratches takes over SJP II volleyball

High school football: Mashpee ready for neighborly game against Falmouth

POWER GAME: Falmouth football beats rival Mashpee

PIKNICK TIME FOR RAIDERS: Barnstable wins field hockey battle

High school football capsules, 9/25/15

August 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in August 2015.

Sweeps day: Harbor Hawks advance in Cape League playoffs

Team Cape Cod ready for another run at World Series

Cape League: Hyannis strikes first in West finals

Spiking for the USA: Olympic volleyball player Megan Easy makes Cape her home

Cape League: Y-D swings early, strikes often

Cape Cod Baseball League: Red Sox cement dynasty with second title

Nauset duo runs for Cape Cod

Cape League: Former U.S. ambassador Bill Richardson pitches for ballpark

High school football: Preseason kickoff is Monday for Cape teams

Running and sliding for charity

Preseason football opening-day sessions attract big numbers

New coach Alfredo Alvarenga focused on developing boys program at Sandwich

All-State cross country runner Callie Schadt hopes to lead Nauset to another ACL title

Mary O’Connor has D-Y field hockey targeting 3rd straight league title

 

July 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in July 2015.

Cape League extra: Harwich’s Johnny Adams has a ‘passion for the game’

Cape League: Extra innings

Cape League: Whitecaps edge Commodores late

Hitting party for Whitecaps

Cape League Extra: Toffey comes home to play for Y-D Red Sox

Cape Cod Baseball League: Red Sox win on Edman walk-off

Extra innings: Cape League notebook

Cape sends two athletes to L.A. for World Games

Cape League: And down the stretch they come

Cape Cod Baseball League: Extra innings

Schiffner gets 500th win

All-Star Cole Billingsley homers in Y-D’s 8-0 win

East makes one run count in win over West

Cape League: Stars shine on Wareham diamond

Cape League All-Star Game: Englert’s plan works to perfection

Cape League: Playoff push under way as season winds down

TITLE SLAM: Firebirds clinch division, President’s Trophy

June 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in June 2015.

School lacrosse: Falmouth Academy girls win tourney opener

Girls lacrosse tournament: Blue Knights knock out Warriors

School baseball: Nichols leads Monomoy

School softball: Hadley Tate carries a big stick for St. John Paul II

High school baseball: Lions pounce on Wildcats in tourney opener

East Division predictions: Y-D Red Sox ready for title defense

Softball: Navigators and Dolphins knocked out

Sharks baseball bites Upper Cape

Cape League season opens with high hopes

Boys tennis South Sectionals: Barnstable knocks off No. 1 Brookline for title

Courageous Championship: grieving Marsh pitches SJP II to South title

Figure skating: Theatre on Ice at HYCC

SJP II baseball team in finals again

UNBEATEN SEASON: Vineyard girls claim tennis title

High school baseball: Lions ready for another state final

Victory caps incredible ride for Lion seniors

Local golf: Clark qualifies on home course

Early slugging for Mariners in 5-3 win over Whitecaps

Local baseball: Team Cape Cod rolls on

May 2015 Cape Cod Times Roundup

Here’s everything I wrote for the Cape Cod Times in May 2015.

Bucs face Worcester State in elimination game today

New field opens Little League season today

High school girls lacrosse: Blue Knights shut down Red Raiders

Barnstable Little League in the limelight with new complex

High schools: SJP II’s baseball coach Mark Santos will become school’s athletic director July 1

Boys lacrosse: Blue Knights fall to ACL champion Marshfield

Softball: D-Y’s Sammi Feinstein strikes out 10 in 6-0 victory over Falmouth

Sharing the Games: Falmouth mom supports 3-sport daughter through 12 seasons

Jackie Smith pitches SJP II to another win

NCAA baseball: D-Y grad Orava and Falmouth grad O’Rourke back on Cape for college tourney

Girls lacrosse: Falmouth Academy beats SJP II to finish off 14-0 regular season

D-Y hammers Sandwich in softball tourney title game

High school athletics: MIAA to require background checks for officials

Cape Cod Showdown: Knell’s blast leads D-Y over Sandwich

44th annual Figawi: Prefontaine and crew tack on a 28th flag and another adventure to 11-time winner Helios

Softball: D-Y blasts Mashpee, plays for league title today

LACROSSE: D-Y is No. 3, Nantucket No. 4 in boys seedings

Baseball: Mashpee’s win clinches South Shore League Small title

Thousands turn out for Best Buddies Challenge