For more than two decades, this series has provided annual roundups of some of the best American writing about sports, broadly and generously defined, from the previous calendar year. The 2013 edition continues this tradition.
Series editor Stout (Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year, 2011, etc.), who every year does the bulk of the culling of entries, and Pulitzer Prize winner Moehringer (Sutton, 2012, etc.), who edits this year’s edition from Stout’s initial selections, have done a credible job of pulling together a selection that, if not actually representing all of the best sportswriting of the last year, at least serves as a reasonable representation of the healthy state of writing about the games and pastimes that so occupy millions of Americans. Occasionally, the editors confuse a great story (the thing being written about) with the execution (the writing itself) and, in at least one occasion, allow an author’s reputation to outstrip their judgment about the quality of that writer’s contribution. Although professional athletes and famous coaches appear—in the form of the dysfunctions of the Kansas City Chiefs, the lies of Lance Armstrong and Urban Meyer’s return to college football as the Ohio State coach—the best of the entries focus on high school athletes, competitors in individual sports and obscure activities away from the glare of the media. Tragedies feature prominently. This year’s edition also serves as a reminder of the healthy state of long-form writing in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet. Stout includes a listing of “Notable Sports Writing of 2012,” most of which will be available to readers with Internet access. Once again, the series captures the zeitgeist on writing about sports ranging from bullfighting to football, bowling to basketball, with sports almost always being incidental to the human interest beneath the surface.
An affirmation of the strong state of American sportswriting.