Sunday, August 05, 2012

Two great pieces on light and dark side of football - by Wright Thompson & Patrick Hruby

There's two pieces of writing I've seen lately that take completely different approaches to looking at football and which seem equally well done and true.

With the view of football as a fan experience is "Pulled Pork & Pigskin: a Love Letter to Southern Football" by Wright Thompson for ESPN. The piece is from 2007 and covers all that's great about college football, particularly in the states that care about it the most. The pageantry, the fan devotion, the gameday traditions... all chronicled by Thompson in a way that reminds me of Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird (which I reviewed the other day) urging a writing approach of reverence to the subject.

Not necessarily exactly on the flip side, but with an approach looking at the player rather than fan experience was a recent Patrick Hruby feature for The Washingtonian. "Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?" is on the impact of concussions in the sport and tells the at times gut-wrenching piece of a Virginia high school player. Hruby often writes of the darker side of sports (with the most recent piece I've linked to being on the business of sports) and it's solid writing he provides on Trenum, the dangers of concussions and things any parent of a concussed young athlete should be aware of.

Again, both very different pieces, but both excellent in their own right.