PLAY BY PLAY by Verne Lundquist


Calling the Wildest Games in Sports--From SEC Football to College Basketball, the Masters and More
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If there’s a sport to be played, as this amiable memoir recounts, then Lundquist will be there to call it.

Recently retired after a long career, the author is known for his contributions to many areas of sportscasting, and so he has been for decades—or, as he puts it with characteristic enthusiasm, “for more than fifty years I’ve had a front-row seat to some of the greatest sporting events America has witnessed.” True, and if he’s done commentary on some of the dogs, too, he’s done it with good humor, a colorful way with words, and a gelatinously shimmering belly laugh. But yet there are the big games, too, such as the 1979 match between the Dallas Cowboys and their archenemies, the Washington Redskins. Begins Lundquist, setting the scene for his pageslong analysis, “a great comeback is a beauty to behold, but it doesn’t climb to the top of my charts if the results aren’t of any real consequence.” With matching records at season’s end and an undying enmity, the two teams put on quite a show—and, writes the author, played their hearts out. Writing with the benefit of hindsight, Lundquist takes a moment to worry that Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach may have been an early sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a time when “tape an aspirin to your forehead was the league’s concussion protocol.” Every sport known to humankind, it seems, comes into consideration, for Lundquist is nothing if not versatile; it will surprise many of his viewers to know that he counts among the highest points of his professional career “my unlikely love affair with figure skating.” That love affair began once his network lost a pro football contract, but even so, he writes, give him the choice between calling a Super Bowl and announcing the Winter Olympics with Scott Hamilton, and it’ll be the latter every time out.

A textbook for would-be sports commentators and a pleasure for fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-268444-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2018


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