Friday, May 12, 2006

Lupica, Mike, editor and Glenn Stout, series editor. The best american sports writing 2005. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 353pp.

This is always a really solid series, full of interesting and involving stories about the sports world, usually with a very pleasingly broad definition of sport. I particularly like this series as commute reading material. Long bus and subway rides are perfect for this kind of book, with lots of short vignettes to keep your mind off how depressing very long commutes are.

This volume? Up to the usual high standards. Each year's editor gives his volume a different feel, of course, and Lupica is no different. The emphasis this year seems to be on difficult, wrenching emotional stories, sometimes with happy endings but very often pure tragedy. This year we have the story of a struggling LA girls softball team, baseball player Ken Caminiti's death, a young player's steroid-induced suicide, a bunch of friends who have an annual golf tournament in memory of a friend that was killed in an accident, a college player's tragic death from a killer infection, the rise and fall of tennis player Roscoe Tanner, a drug-infested highschool in Peabody MA, a hockey player who just disappeared one day in Europe never to be heard from again, rapist Carlos Perez and a female basketball player's near-fatal encounter with meningitis and her long and painful recovery. A grim volume to say the least.

There are a few stories to balance the depression, one in particular was about people in Vermont who go fishing with guns. Yes, they shoot the fish. And a couple of amusing stories on fishing and Howard Cosell.


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