They don't call this annual collection of articles "The Best American Sports Writing" for nothing.
The book contains 26 articles about bullfighting, bowling, basketball, football, baseball, marathon running, weightlifting, soccer, surfing and swimming. The articles, ranging from three to 25 pages, originally appeared in print publications such as Sports Illustrated, GQ, Outside, Boston Magazine, ESPN: The Magazine, Men's Journal, The New Yorker, The New York Times and online pubs such as Deadspin.com and Narrativemagazine.com.
Series editor Glenn Stout writes that the book is "about people and what concerns us--love, death, desire, labor and loss--more than the simple results of a game or competition." He points out that long-form journalism is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance as the desire to read is unstoppable.
Editor J. R. Moehringer adds that "Sports are a theater of loss, of struggle and despair, of real pain and real blood and primal disappointment, which is why the best sports writing seems to reach back, back, like a discus thrower, to touch the ancient myths."
I have learned from past collections of "The Best American Sports Writing" that every article is worth reading, and I read all 26 straight through. The two most disturbing articles were "Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?" by Patrick Hruby and "The NFL's Secret Drug Problem" by Paul Solotaroff. The most touching and memorable article was "Mourning Glory" by Chris Ballard. I also thoroughly enjoyed "At Swim, Two Girls: A Memoir" by Bridget Quinn. Three articles about marathon runners, "The Marathon Man" by Mark Singer, "Caballo Blanco's Last Run" by Barry Bearak and "Redemption of the Running Man" by Dan Koeppel were all more interesting than I thought they would have been.
Whether you enjoy great writing or sports, or both, this annual collection is well worth your time.