Sidecountry : tales of death and life from the back roads of sports

by Branch, John (Sports reporter),

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 6 copies
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CLP - Main Library First Floor - New Non-fiction GV707.B7195 2021
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 796.0973 Bra
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Summary
Breathtaking tales of climbers and hunters, runners and racers, winners and losers by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.

New York Times reporter John Branch's riveting, humane pieces about ordinary people doing extraordinary things at the edges of the sporting world have won nearly every major journalism prize. Sidecountry gathers the best of Branch's work for the first time, featuring 20 of his favorites from the more than 2,000 pieces he has published in the paper.

Branch is renowned for covering the offbeat in the sporting world, from alligator hunting to wingsuit flying. Sidecountry features such classic Branch pieces, including "Snow Fall," about downhill skiers caught in an avalanche in Washington state, and "Dawn Wall," about rock climbers trying to scale Yosemite's famed El Capitan. In other articles, Branch introduces people whose dedication and decency transcend their sporting lives, including a revered football coach rebuilding his tornado-devastated town in Iowa and a girls' basketball team in Tennessee that plays on despite never winning a game. The book culminates with his moving personal pieces, including "Children of the Cube," about the surprising drama of Rubik's Cube competitions as seen through the eyes of Branch's own sports-hating son, and "The Girl in the No. 8 Jersey," about a mother killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting whose daughter happens to play on Branch's daughter's soccer team.

John Branch has been hailed for writing "American portraiture at its best" (Susan Orlean) and for covering sports "the way Lyle Lovett writes country music--a fresh turn on a time-honored pleasure" (Nicholas Dawidoff). Sidecountry is the work of a master reporter at the top of his game.

Contents
Snow fall
The Dawn Wall
Lost brother
On league night, a 300 game lives
Perfection in the horseshoe pit
Where drivers and danger meet
Enduring traditions
Where creativity wags its tail
A last hurrah for Hollywood Park
The Lady Jaguars
Hunting something that can hunt you back
The most perilous prize
The ultimate pursuit
"You're either the hunter or the hunted"
Deliverance from 27,000 feet
Seeing the world beyond the court
A football coach, a tornado and a murder
They heard the helicopter go down. Then they prayed
Children of the cube
The girl in the no. 8 jersey.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Branch (The Last Cowboys) showcases his keen ability to find unusual human interest angles in sports and culture journalism in this expansive collection. The opening section, "Climbing and Falling," starts off with a restrained, inquisitive consideration of the aftermath of an avalanche in the Pulitzer-winning "Snow Fall," which is contrasted by "The Dawn Wall,"a triumphant portrait of climbers scaling El Capitan on Yosemite unassisted. Branch's pitch-perfect "On League Night, A 300 Game Lives" spotlights a man who, after bowling his first perfect game, drops dead of a heart attack, reminding readers that "life is not a blurb." In "The Lady Jaguars," he brings readers into the locker room with a losing girl's reform school basketball team, with bracing insights on poverty and class in rural Tennessee. Other selections veer into obscure scenes, such as the Intergroom dog grooming show ("Where Creativity Wags Its Tail"), bidding wars to the right to hunt bighorn rams ("The Ultimate Pursuit"), or exhibitions of world-class Rubik's Cube aficionados ("Children of the Cube"). The final section, "Dying and Living," gathers somber pieces, including an interview with the pastor of a church within view of where the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others crashed. Branch delivers consistently smart, startling observations--and offers something for every reader, whether or not they'd consider themselves "sports fans." (June)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Sports -- United States.
Sports -- Social aspects -- United States.
Newspapers -- Sections, columns, etc. -- Sports.
Publisher New York, N.Y. :2021
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Newspaper columns.
Language English
Description xviii, 350 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
ISBN 9781324006695
1324006692
Other Classic View