Hello. I am currently teaching an elective class titled, “The Literature of Sport.” I am teaching this class to some fairly elite high school athletes, from soccer players to golf prodigies. Suffice it to say, I know very little about sport, though I did grow up in the same neighborhood as many of the San Francisco Giants players of the late ’80s. I was Will Clark’s papergirl! He let me feed the fish in his floor-to-ceiling aquarium built into his foyer! But I digress. Actually, my relationship with sports has been tenuous at best. I seem to have a magnet for getting hit in the head with the ball, any kind of ball. The singer of Belle and Sebastian once kicked a soccer ball into the crowd at Coachella and just guess who’s face it planted on, out of 50,000 people. To overcome this pavlovian anxiety I have immersed myself in “Friday Night Lights” (Clear eyes! Full hearts! Can’t lose!) and The Best American Sports Writing of the Century anthology. I am actually and verifiably becoming interested in sports. Here I am, nearly 30, and I’ve finally developed a taste for things like sports, yogurt, and hanging out with my parents, despite all odds. Don’t let anyone ever tell you change is impossible after 25. Anyhow, I would like to access Tumblr’s hive mind to compile some excellent sports writing essays/fiction around the following ideas:
1) Sports Writing as Narrative
2) Sports Writing as Social Commentary
3) Sports Writing as Myth, Metaphor, and Transformation
In the spirit of sharing, here are some great pieces of writing I’ve come across:
I think I really put the novel in Sacramento because I was homesick. I wanted to remember the weather and the rivers.
The heat on the rivers?
The heat. I think that’s the way the whole thing began. There’s a lot of landscape that I never would have described if I hadn’t been homesick. If I hadn’t wanted to remember. The impulse was nostalgia. It’s not an uncommon impulse among writers. I noticed it when I was reading From Here to Eternity in Honolulu just after James Jones died. I could see exactly that kind of nostalgia, that yearning for a place, overriding all narrative considerations. The incredible amount of description. When Prewitt tries to get from the part of town where he’s been wounded out to Alma’s house, every street is named. Every street is described. You could take that passage and draw a map of Honolulu. None of those descriptions have any narrative meaning. They’re just remembering. Obsessive remembering. I could see the impulse.