Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Sportswriting Declared Dead. Again.

Illustration for article titled Sportswriting Declared Dead. Again.

Next month's Texas Monthly has a story about the death of sportswriting. It's official: Writing about the death of sportswriting is finally dead.

This one comes courtesy of Gary Cartwright, an old Fort Worth hand who in those circles was sort of the Peter Lawford to Dan Jenkins' Sinatra. Mostly, Cartwright's piece is a thin excuse to poke fun at the local newspaper boys and moon wistfully over his salad days:

[Editor Blackie] Sherrod, Shrake, and I used to go around in capes and leotards claiming to be Les Flying Punzars, an Italian acrobatic group of mysterious origins. Our most celebrated act, we liked to say, was the amazing triple somersault, which we were always prepared to perform but for the lack of a trapeze.


Ah, yes. Capes and leotards. The golden era of sportswriting. If only Bill Plaschke went in for this sort of thing.

We see this sort of story every few months now: Some glowering sportswriter in the early November of his days slams the bronze door shut and declares his old profession a terminal case. Let's see, there was Alan Richman, mostly famously, in GQ back in 1991. There was Bob Drury in Men's Journal in 1998. More recently there was Philadelphia Magazine, watching with horror at Stephen A. Smith's ascendance. There's just about everything Pat Jordan writes these days. Hell, even dry old Columbia Journalism Review and the Utne Reader have gotten in on the action. That's right. The Utne Freaking Reader.

Sportswriting isn't really dying, of course. It just has the misfortune of employing a great many adults given to maudlin despair that the world is no longer as it was when they were 20 years old. In this crowd, nostalgia is alive and kicking.

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