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Kevin Wolf

I've read very little related to sports. I did, however, very much enjoy Pete Gent's novel North Dallas Forty. I also enjoyed a later one called The Franchise, though it's a rather improbable football thriller. If surfing is a sport, I recommend the fiction of Kem Nunn.


My three favorite nonfiction football books: The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis; Friday Night Lights, by Buzz Bizzinger; and Instant Replay, by Jerry Kramer. My two favorite fiction football books: Semi-Tough, by Dan Jenkins, and North Dallas Forty, by Peter Gent.

I could probably do a top ten in baseball, and still agonize over choices.

Basketball: In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle, by Madeleine Blais and Heaven is a Playground by Rick Telander.

Hockey: The Game, by Ken Dryden.

Tom W

Good post - there's another big reason: pro football is *the* video sport of all time. Its pioneers invented all the rules of video presentation and filmed sports action. It's the palette for what we accept as televised sports coverage. It's all about the replay, the slo-mo, the multiple angles, the sideline commentators, the color guy, the highlights package show, the X's and O's diagram, the crazy crowd shots, the filmed "beauty of the game" auteur. Who needs to write about it?

minstrel hussain boy

some of the dan jenkins stuff from the 70's, semi-tough (avoid the shitty movie at all costs), and dead solid perfect are easy and amusing reads.

i think what draws writers to boxing as opposed to other stuff is that there are few sports that are simpler. two people enter the ring and try to do as much damage to each other as they can.

the simplicity of the contest, especially when contrasted to the byzantine governing bodies and the machiavellian scheming of the promoters is something even a pedestrian writer can make great hay with.

i love boxing. i know a couple of the ranked fighters fairly well. it's harder to watch when you are emotionally invested with somebody who is risking getting his ass kicked.

football is more and more about the spectacle. the uniforms and equipment they wear removes them from appearing very human, in start contrast to the stripped down appearance of a boxer.

another great sports book: the jordan rules.

El Jefe

What Tom W said; also, where the pros have gone in the last twenty years is well-represented by mhb just above. (I don't even watch the pros now but I remain a fan of the college game, it is as tribal as team sports are meant to be, an attitude of mine that may follow from being also a footy fan at the international and the local level -- Go Timbers!!)

And on the subject of sports books and the tribalism of Team, To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever by Will Blythe is pretty good, and more or less a song of my growing-up. Naturally it's about the most significant collegiate athletic rivalry in the country (Go Heels!! ;)

Think I'd like to read Last Headbangers for the sections on the Raiders of that decade, one of my father's two favorite professional athletic franchises of all time alongside the early-Fifties Dodgers.

Tim Susman

My favorite football non-fiction is "A Few Seconds of Panic," by Stefan Fatsis, who recreated George Plimpton's "Paper Lion"--sort of--by signing on as a kicker with the Denver Broncos (at the age of 43) for a training camp. Fatsis, you may recall, also wrote about joining the world of competitive Scrabble. Anyway, his view into the sport and the men who play it is taken from the ground up. He relates to the players and captures them well as people doing a strange, demanding job.

Chris the cop

If you haven't already, please try and find the time to read Martin Cruz Smith's 'Stallion gate,' which has the most moving description of a box match I've ever read.

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