It is very seldom these days that a magazine puts together a single issue that is filled with amazing writing from start to finish. Even more amazing is a spots magazine that has an entire image and does not have a single article in it that describes a sporting event. Last weeks Sports Illustrated fit that bill.
The cover story is on Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks and tries to explain the psychology of how a professional team recovers from a disastrous play call in the final minute of the biggest game of the year (possibly causing them to lose the Super Bowl). It is a fascinating account of the year leading up to this season, with that decision weighing on the team, and how the coach helps them forget it. (My personal feeling is that it was a gutsy call that just didn’t work. Trying something else (the obvious) might not have worked either).
The first article in the magazine is about Zach Greinke, possibly the best pitcher in baseball, who didn’t want to be a pitcher, because he can only pitch every four games and has to sit around the rest of the time with nothing to do.
Another great article is about Shaka Smart, the new coach at Texas, who, a few years ago took VCU, a pretty much unknown school to the final four with his amazing motivational coaching, and got the big money to coach at Texas..
He labels the five days of practice as:
(on appreciation Monday, each must demonstrate non-verbal appreciation to someone that day- a hug, a smile- and report back!!
They save the best for last. 25 years ago, H.G. Bissinger wrote the seminal book on high school football, Friday night Lights. On it’s anniversary, he travels back to Texas to find five of the guys he wrote about a quarter of a century ago. It is heartbreaking to read about what has become of these high school heroes. His description of waiting in the visitors room in prison for Boobie Miles to come out to meet him is heartbreaking- but breathtaking to read. It is fascinating how these guys were the heroes who won the state championship, and have now become loners. Makes you wonder!
The magazine ends with a column by the magnificent Steve Rushin, ruminating on his bucket list of activities is hilarious.
Buy a hammock. Check.
Oblige a crowd of children chanting Can-Non-Ball. Check.
Eat nachos from a batting helmet. Not yet!
Makes me smile!!