448 pages, 3.66 × 2.49 × 0.49 in
December 15, 2008
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0676973531
ISBN - 13: 9780676973532
Read from the Book
IntroductionAnyone who has written about sport for a living has received the letter, or e-mail or phone call, that always begins with the same few, stinging words: “I don’t know what game you were watching . . .” What invariably follows are great waves of outrage. The correspondent has missed a flagrant foul against the fan’s favourite team, or erred by pointing out some hero’s sin; he or she has overlooked a great coaching blunder, been oblivious to the key contribution of an unsung star, thought the wrong guy won the fight, and in general couldn’t see the forest for the trees.Sometimes, any or all of that is true, or at least true for one set of eyes, because perspective matters so much. The way it looks from here is not the way it looks from elsewhere because of the life experience and passion and need and cultural baggage we all bring to the table. What’s great and powerful about spectator sport, the reason the athletes and owners make all those millions, is that it can be anything you want it to be, from light background noise to all-consuming obsession, from empty spectacle to full-blown belief system. Unlike the movies or the theatre, sport requires a real commitment from its audience, a sense of identification with the competitors, a rooting interest that extends beyond the final whistle or the last out. That continuing relationship can originate in community identification, or family history, in forging a bond with a single star, in riding high with a great team, or
Table of Contents
IntroductionBaseball• Raines Beats $1000-a-Week Habit, Michael Farber — The Gazette (Montreal)• Carter’s No Ordinary Joe after Series-Winning Blast, Dave Perkins — Toronto Star, deadline writing• Walker Worthy Target for Jays, Milt Dunnell — Toronto Star, deadline writing• August 7, 1921, Steven Hayward — From Buddha Stevens and Other Stories, fictionBasketball• White Rules, Gare Joyce — Saturday NightBoxing• Part of the Game, Allen Abel — The Globe and Mail, deadline writing• Discord Works in Tyson’s Favour, Milt Dunnell — Toronto Star, deadline writing• Boxing the Greatest at Ali’s Farm, Stephen Brunt — The Globe and Mail• Going the Distance from Reality, Chris Jones — National Post• The Trouble with Tyson, Stephen Brunt — The Globe and MailCurling• Merv Curls Lead, Guy Lawson — Saturday NightFootball• Destiny Finally Arrives for Long-Suffering Franchise, Allan Maki — Calgary Herald, deadline writing• Garry Sawatzky: Uncaged Lion, Jim Taylor — Sports Only• Out of Africa, Jack Todd — The Gazette (Montreal)Golf• Rough Stuff in the Rain, Cam Cole — National Post, deadline writing• Issue Black and White, but Green Sees Only the Colour of Money, Trent Frayne — The Globe and Mail, deadline writing• Weir Wins in Canadian Style, Cam Cole — National Post, deadline writingHockey• Lemieux, Gretzky Team for Winner: Oh, Canada!, Red Fisher — The Gazette (Montreal), deadline writing• Pat Burns Goes Home, Michael Farber — The Gazette (Montreal)• Real-Life Slap Shot, Tom Hawthorn — Toronto
From the Publisher
In the first ever anthology of its kind, Canada’s premier sportswriter — Globe and Mail columnist and author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller Facing Ali — brings together the best writing on sport in this country, with a strong contemporary flavour.
It’s all here: classic reports on Canada’s great sporting triumphs, from Joe Carter’s World Series–winning home run for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 to the excitement of the back-to-back men’s and women’s hockey gold medals in Salt Lake City. Stephen Brunt gives an entire section to writers who, unlike those covering other beats, must work tightly by the clock, submitting their stories just as soon as the action for the day is over. But he has also chosen our best writers’ more thoughtful pieces on our national obsessions — such as Ed Willes on the WHA’s seven tumultuous years and Wayne Johnston on the Original Six — and a good sampling of the great sportswriters such as Trent Frayne, Peter Gzowski and Milt Dunnell. The net effect is an examination of the deep role sport plays in our lives and imaginations, in our sense of self and nationhood.
Stephen Brunt has cast his net widely. He includes superb stories of lower profile Canadian sports such as wrestling and horse racing, even Monster Truck battles, and allows space for his own unequalled and unforgettable profiles of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, as well as his post-mortem on Ben Johnson’s fall from grace.
Full of triumph and heartbreak, great writing and great passions — and a few wonderful surprises — this book will be essential reading for every serious sports fan.
• Ian Brown on the stud-horse business
• Christie Blatchford on the 2003 Women’s Olympic Hockey Gold
• Rosie DiManno on the Men’s
• James Christie on Ben Johnson’s 1988 Olympic triumph in Seoul
• Michael Faber on Pat Burns
• Red Fisher on Lemieux and Gretzky at the 1987 Canada Cup
• Trent Frayne on Canadian Open golf champ Ken Green deciding to play Sun City during apartheid
• Bruce Grierson on Canada’s best squash player
• Peter Gzowski on the Oilers with Gretzky
• Tom Hawthorn on John Brophy’s last brawl
• Brian Hutchinson on Owen Hart’s widow’s revenge
• Wayne Johnston on the Montreal Canadiens
• Guy Lawson on curling
• Allan Maki on the 1989 Hamilton–Saskatchewan Grey Cup
• Dave Perkins on the biggest home run in World Series history
• Mordecai Richler on snooker’s Cliff Thorburn
• Steve Simmons on Donovan Bailey
• Mike Ulmer on Cujo’s charm
About the Author
Stephen Brunt is Canada’s premier sportswriter and commentator. In addition to Facing Ali: The Opposition Weighs In, he is the author of Mean Business: The Rise and Fall of Shawn O’Sullivan, Second to None: The Roberto Alomar Story, and Diamond Dreams: 20 Years of Blue Jays Baseball. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
"[A] brilliant compilation."—Vancouver Courier"What drives a Bobby Orr to push along on wrecked knees? How was Wayne Gretzky able to see patterns opening up on a rush before they did? Why did Tim Raines risk all his potential on cocaine? Not all of the answers are to be found in this eclectic and intentionally quirky collection of exceptional Canadian sports reportage, but the questions are posed frankly and with no ulterior motive beyond sincere curiosity."—Ottawa Citizen, Feb 6, 2005"The way it looks from here is pretty darn good. With Mordecai Richler writing on former world snooker champion Cliff Thorburn of Victoria, Peter Gzowski on Gretzky, Ken Dryden on saving hockey and Stephen Brunt on the still unforgiven Ben Johnson, how can it not be?... These varied and mostly well-chosen pieces reflect [the Canadian] understated yet sometimes surprisingly feisty national sporting character."—The Times-Colonist (Victoria)"[Brunt] has assembled an eclectic and intentionally quirky collection of exceptional Canadian sports reportage. . . . As a whole, [the selections] explore what it is about sports that captivates so many of us. . . . Questions are posed frankly and with no ulterior motive beyond sincere curiosity."—The Gazette (Montreal)"Skillfully selected.… sure to take readers back to a more innocent time — when Wayne Gretzky was the world’s greatest hockey player, not a Hockey Canada executive, Ben Johnson was the world’s fastest human, not a drug cheat, and the Montreal Exp