Rick Reilly’s first article for ESPN the Magazine came out today. You can read it here. I canceled my subscription to The Mag two years ago, but those oversize monstrosities keep arriving month after month. Now, at least, I can look forward to reading a Reilly gem whenever I have to “take a meeting.” Here’s an excerpt:
“And I was happy to find out it wasn’t the Titleist clubs that made him so mean, it was the Canadian Clubs. It was the whiskey. Golf was this green-and-blue launching pad for little white rockets. Golf taught me the lessons my dad never did, including the best one: You play life where it lies. You hit it there. You play it from there. Nobody threw you a nasty curve or forgot to block the defensive end. I learned that my mistakes were mine alone, not my boss’, not the cop’s and, as much as I hated to admit it, not my dad’s.”
A bit sentimental maybe. I’d be the first to admit that my sportswriting tastes are pointedly low-brow, but it’s affecting pieces such as this that truly illustrate the significance of sports in our culture. We wrap up so much of our passions and dreams, fears and regrets, into sports that it does become more than just a game.
I have a very good friend, a die-hard Celtics fan by birth, who moved to LA in 1987 right before the Lakers back-to-back championships. He admitted to me, “you know–this may be wrong–but I feel just as passionate about this team as I did when I was fourteen-years old.” This is a grown man with a wife, a child, a career, and a mortgage. And I don’t see anything wrong with how he feels. In many ways, it’s exactly right.
I think this article by Rick Reilly illustrates why. That or I’m just a sucker for a father/son story.