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George Plimpton on Sports

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George Plimpton on Sports collects the best writing - the most observant, the most acerbic, and the most humane - from George Plimpton's amazing career as the consummate and prototypical participatory sports journalist. Always an acute observer and sardonic humorist, Plimpton pokes gentle fun at himself and those foibles of society showcased so dramatically in sport, while at the same time demonstrating what is most noble and admirable in the pursuit of dreams, even when those dreams remain clearly and ...
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2003 Hardcover Good In mylar jacket First Edition. First edition, First printing. DJ with light wear to edges, now protected in mylar. Boards and spine tight with wear to edges ... and corners. No apparent marks throughout this book. Tracking available on most domestic orders. Read more Show Less

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Overview

George Plimpton on Sports collects the best writing - the most observant, the most acerbic, and the most humane - from George Plimpton's amazing career as the consummate and prototypical participatory sports journalist. Always an acute observer and sardonic humorist, Plimpton pokes gentle fun at himself and those foibles of society showcased so dramatically in sport, while at the same time demonstrating what is most noble and admirable in the pursuit of dreams, even when those dreams remain clearly and ineluctably out of reach. In each of the chapters of this volume, Plimpton, with quiet charm, shows us that it's truly not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
Included are excerpts from several of his book-length works, as well as articles that have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Harper's, The New York Times, Esquire, Tennis Week, and other newspapers, magazines, and sporting journals. This volume is a clear testimony to Plimpton's incredible range of interests, his lifelong passion for sport, and his pursuit of the quiet moments within the tumult of modern sports ' and life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592280810
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Series: On Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

GEORGE PLIMPTON, the originator of "participatory journalism," is the founder and editor of the renowned literary magazine The Paris Review. His books include Paper Lion (page TK), The Bogey Man (page TK), Open Net (page TK), Shadow Box (page TK), As Told at the Explorers Club (page TK), and Mad Ducks and Bears (page TK). He lives in New York City.

Biography

The scion of New England bluebloods who traced their ancestry back to the Mayflower, affable WASP George Plimpton was one of the 20th century's most beloved literary figures. Raised in Manhattan and educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard University, and King's College, Cambridge, Plimpton co-founded The Paris Review in 1953 and served as its editor and guiding light for the next half century. Under his stewardship, the journal became a showcase for serious fiction and poetry by new and emerging writers. It also introduced a new style of author interview emphasizing the creative process and the writer's craft. Called by Salman Rushdie "the finest available inquiry into the 'how' of literature," the Paris Review interview remains an integral part of the magazine.

In addition to these highbrow pursuits, Plimpton is also responsible for originating a popular literary genre. Gregarious and adventurous by nature, he followed his intellectual curiosity into Walter Mitty-like arenas, then chronicled his exploits—most of them noble failures—in works that came to be categorized as "participatory journalism." He sparred with heavyweight champ Archie Moore, pitched in an all-star exhibition baseball game, played percussion for the New York Philharmonic, and tried out for the circus. And although he was famous for lighthearted reportage (most notably Paper Lion, his sidesplitting 1966 account of training with the Detroit Lions football team), he proved his literary chops with well-received oral biographies of Edie Sedgwick and Truman Capote.

Instantly recognizable for his tall, lanky frame and upper-crust Brahmin accent, Plimpton was a popular fixture of the Manhattan literary and social scene. Upon his death in September, 2003, The New York Times recalled his "boundless energy and perpetual bonhomie." Five years later, Random House published George, Being George, an affectionate oral biography composed of anecdotes from more than 200 people who knew Plimpton in his many capacities. Editor and longtime Paris Review colleague Nelson Aldrich described the book as a "kind of literary party, George's last."

Good To Know

Like his grandfather and father before him, Plimpton enrolled in the prestigious New Hampshire prep school, Phillips Exeter Academy. He spent most of his time either in detention or on probation, and was finally expelled several months shy of graduation. The family was chagrinned, and Plimpton spent many years trying to atone for his failure. By the way, he graduated right on schedule from Daytona Beach High School!

Plimpton loved athletics, and much of the "participatory journalism" for which he's famous revolves around sports. He wrote books about his less-than-successful exploits in professional baseball (Out of My League), football (Paper Lion; Mad Ducks and Bears), golf (The Bogey Man), and hockey (Open Net).

He also loved fireworks and spent a lot of time with the Grucci family, whose Long Island-based company produced spectacular displays. He chronicled his longtime passion in the 1984 book Fireworks, and Mayor John Lindsay appointed him Fireworks Commissioner of New York, an unofficial title totally unrelated to government.

Plimpton made occasional forays into film, usually as an extra or in cameo appearances as himself.

A longtime friend of the Kennedy clan, Plimpton was with Bobby Kennedy in 1968 when the presidential candidate was assassinated. He also was in Norman Mailer's apartment the night the writer stabbed his wife.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      March 18, 1927
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 25, 2003
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, NY
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English Literature, Harvard University, 1950; Master's degree, Cambridge University, 1952

Read an Excerpt

Ali arrived with an hour to go before the fight. Even before he got out of his streetclothes he was moving around the room, snapping out the jabs and staring at himself in the mirrors. "This room's too crowded," he said. "I want room to rest."

The room was cleared except for the entourage he would take to the ring, along with two interns assigned to the fight, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. I was allowed to stay. I crouched in a corner with a notebook open. Ali stripped quickly. He pulled on a pair of white boxing trunks and turned slowly in front of the mirror. "I am the champ," he said softly. "He must fall." He tried out the Ali shuffle, his white gym shoes snapping against the floor. -- from Shadow Box
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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
Baseball
Chateau Baseball (from Out of My League) 3
Right Field (from Cigar Aficionado) 7
Canyon of Heroes (from The New York Times) 13
A Love of Fungo (from Birth of a Fan) 17
Marianne Moore in Yankee Stadium (from Harper's Magazine) 23
The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (from Sports Illustrated) 41
Basketball
The Boston Celtics (from Boston Celtics 50) 61
Bicycling
Two-Wheeling (from Avenue) 77
Boxing
Muhammad Ali, the Mongoose, and Me (from Esquire) 83
Fishing
Hooking Bull with My Father-in-Law (from Esquire Sportsman) 93
Football
Vince Lombardi: A Portrait (from One More July) 101
Medora Goes to the Game (from Sports Illustrated) 119
Golf
Fear and Trembling at the Masters (from Golf Digest) 137
The Small Ball Theory (from US Air) 155
It's Not in the Hole (from Golf Journal) 161
Golf Lessons (from Callaway Journal) 171
Grape-Catching
Paul Tavilla (from Smart) 185
Hockey
Eddie Shore: A Portrait (from Open Net) 193
Rowing
Yanks at Cambridge (from Esquire) 205
Sport
Gods (from Saints, Saviors & Sinners, ESPN) 213
Squash
Squash (introduction to Squash) 237
Stickball
Did Willie Hit It for Five Sewers? (from Daily News) 243
Swimming
Come On In--The Water's Fine (Once You're In) (introduction to Splash) 257
Tennis
On the Firing Line (from Sports Illustrated) 265
John McEnroe Keeps the Peace (from Esquire) 283
Ten Ways to Shake an Opponent's Hand at the Net After Being Defeated 6-0, 6-2 (from Tennis Week) 289
Wimbledon (from Tennis Week) 293
Track
Sidd Finch for Sydney? (by "Mark Hofmann" from Sports Illustrated) 305
Wrestling
Managing to Wrestle (from Smart) 317
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