Friday, August 24, 2012

Sports Illustrated Writing: from Layden, Jenkins & Wertheim

There's been a few cases of Sports Illustrated writing lately that stood out as excellent and can be linked to (an additional solid story from the recent issue should be online in about a week).

From the August 20 College Football preview issue was a profile of USC quarterback Matt Barkley as well as a piece on a horrific injury and the two University of Georgia baseball players involved.

The Barkley piece is titled "Trophy Life" and in it, Lee Jenkins writes a thorough look at the Heisman Trophy contender. Striking from the feature was the friendship detailed between the USC signal caller and a man 70 years his elder, Olympic athlete and Japanese POW Louie Zamperini. It's an odd connection, but Barkley being close to the awe-inspiring subject of one of my favorite books of the year, Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, seems reason to like him.

The other piece of note from this Aug 20 issue was "Why Ask Why?" from Jon Wertheim. It's a powerful story on Zach Cone and Jonathan Taylor and the paralyzing injury suffered by Taylor after they collided going for an outfield fly ball. Wertheim reveals in the story a remarkable resiliency from Taylor... as well another UGA baseball player paralyzed not long before.

Final SI piece to note here was from the website rather than the magazine. Following on the heels of my blog post a few weeks back on great Olympic writing was a story featuring two of my two favorite story lines out of the London Games. From Tim Layden, "In a Games filled with memorable moments, few resonate like Bolt" covers of course the accomplishments of the great sprinter, but also the double gold by U.K. distance runner Mo Farah (who had been featured in one of the earlier pieces of excellent writing noted). Excellent writing from Layden on two amazing athletes.