Monday, June 11, 2012

Excellent ESPN Writing: by Saslow, Jones, Thompson, Friend & Wickersham

There's been a few pieces from ESPN over the past month that stood out as excellent writing on interesting topics.

The June 11 issue of ESPN The Magazine had two stories of particular note to me... one a feature by Eli Saslow and the other the Chris Jones back-page column. The Saslow piece was "One light will not go out" on freestyle skier Sarah Burke who passed away as a result of head trauma suffered Jan 10 while training in Utah. Burke's story is a pretty remarkable one and Saslow tells it extremely well. The Jones piece "Best Day Ever" is much shorter in being an 800 word column and tells of a day he spent with the Stanley Cup. Very cool stuff about the impact of the experience on both the writer and people he shared the Cup with in his small Ontario town.

Another recent ESPN piece that struck me as extremely well written was by Wright Thompson for the website. "A slow walk back to normal" was posted not long after it announced that the horse I'll Have Another wouldn't race in the Belmont Stakes. The piece is about the horse's trainer Doug O'Neil and is captivating in its expression of the disappointment he felt having his horse get so close to the Triple Crown (winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont), but then getting injured just prior.

Finally, the ESPN The Magazine NFL Draft Preview issue from a month ago had two solid features on compelling athletes. Tom Friend wrote "Third and gold" on ex Baylor and now Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and "The Stanford predicament" was by Seth Wickersham about the #1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the also extremely talented linemen that protected him at Stanford last year. Excellent writing in both pieces on some seemingly grounded and ready to succeed football players.