In this continuation of some of my favorite posts from 2015, I am focusing on what I’ve written that blends sports and the arts, as well as culture.
By culture I mean the generic, lowercase “c” use of the word, and to address its more frequently used reference in media and by some sports scholars in critiques of sports and race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.
Among my aims with Sports Biblio is to examine the sweet spot between sports and the arts, so my idea of culture extends along those lines: Visual art (painting, sculpture, video, film), music, literature and so on.
Asking a blogger to cite which posts he or she likes the best is like to asking a parent to name a favorite child.
Although Sports Biblio is a fairly new blog, it’s hard to decide which posts I like better than others. They’re all mine, and I don’t want to leave any of them out.
As I wrap up the calendar year 2015, and mark the first quarter of this site’s publication, I’m collecting and summarizing what I’ve written thus far. Continue reading
The sports book genre is loaded with biography, memoir and tell-all stories, by famous athletic figures and obscure individuals alike.
The year 2015 was no different, and the Sports Biblio list of notables in this category includes a memoir by a TV news correspondent who took up running, much to his surprise, in middle age.
Tom Foreman of CNN was a year ahead of me at our college, Troy State (now Troy University), many moons ago. I didn’t know him at the time and haven’t been in touch since we turned pro. Continue reading
Give me a basketball and put me in a gym and leave me alone for hours.
That’s how I felt as a kid, trying any number of sports. Softball and tennis were great, and I loved beating the boys in neighborhood football games.
But for me, nothing topped the feel of the ball in my hands as I aimed for the rim. Although I was pretty lousy as a player, I figured out how to put a few words together. I’m most happy as a writer when basketball is the topic, as it is on the screen before me as I compose this post. Continue reading
Watching cold-weather sports leaves me cold, even when I’m viewing from the warmth and comfort of my living room.
It shouldn’t be this way. I’m officially only half-Southern, and was born in a deep Midwestern winter. I loved nothing better as a child than making angels in the snow on holiday visits to my grandparents in Wisconsin.
As a teenager, I caught the hockey bug when the Atlanta Flames came into being, with Boom-Boom Geoffrion living in a nearby neighborhood. Continue reading
In narrowing down a long selection of American football books for this post, I noticed my own preferences for the college game peppered throughout my working list.
As I whittled down further, it was clear that I couldn’t overcome this “bias.”
The National Football League by far is the biggest sports entertainment spectacle in the United States. College football has its own passionate masses, especially where I live in the Deep South. Continue reading
Long before the popularity of boxing was eclipsed in the United States by other sports, its existential crisis had been well-documented.
In addition to concerns over brain trauma and other injuries, corrupt governance has damaged boxing’s reputation. In May 2015, Evander Holyfield wrote about his sport’s fight for relevance, especially as mixed martial arts gains ground with younger fans.
But in the world of books and the literary arts, boxing retains a very strong appeal. From Cuba to the double life of a long-forgotten welterweight to an aging Muhammad Ali, there was no shortage of fantastic storytelling about boxing and boxers in 2015. Continue reading
The following English-language books chosen for this collection of 2015 notables come from the sports of cricket, cycling, golf, track and field (athletics) and water sports.
They were selected based on a variety of factors, including critical reception, nominations and awards, blogger recommendations and sales lists.
Oddly, the sports of golf and tennis, which usually yield a rich batch of literary-quality books, aren’t represented here except in one instance. In 2016, a good supply of tennis reads that go beyond the usual instructional/motivational fare will be published, including a collection of writings by the late novelist David Foster Wallace. Continue reading
“Before we talk about what’s new with baseball books — the author turns wearily to his nightstand — it’s worth admiring how many of these damn things there are,” wrote Bryan Curtis, the former Grantland media writer, in a marvelous recounting of the vast selection published each year.
In selecting notable baseball books for the year 2015, I found the same challenge, especially in my desire to limit the list to 10 titles. The following books were chosen based on a variety of factors, including critical reception, nominations and awards, blogger recommendations and sales lists. Continue reading
I’ll never know what it was like to root for a big-league hometown team in a ballpark that actually felt like one.
Before my time, the minor league Crackers were one of the biggest draws in the South, at a cozy field named Ponce de Leon Park.
It was a quirky place, with a magnolia tree in deep center field, a resting place for home run balls hit by Babe Ruth and Eddie Mathews.
Homes were within earshot of the cracks of bats, a local blues legend played at a nearby family restaurant, and fans hopped on and off streetcars to attend games.
It was, as a local historian has noted, a time when ballparks “were connected to their communities.” Continue reading