Something for everyone today, I tell ya.
People have sometimes asked me what is the best piece of journalism I’ve ever read, or the best magazine article, or some variation of that question.
You’d think it’d be a hard question. But it’s not.
The best story I’ve ever read was in the June 24, 1996 issue of Sports Illustrated, and it was written by Gary Smith. It’s about a 16-year-old high school basketball star named Richie Parker, who was a major Division I recruit until he was accused of helping sexually assault a high school girl.
This story could’ve been written one of 1,000 different cliched ways by Smith, but he chose none of them. It’s not really even a story about Parker, or about sports, as Smith shows; he brings in so many voices, and so many people affected by this case.
This article is so balanced, so fair, so equally representing both sides of the argument (does a kid deserve a second chance after something like this? Or has he forfeited his future on the court?), and so, well, brilliantly written that every time I read it, I come away thinking differently about what should’ve been done.
I thought of Smith’s article the other day because Joe Posnanski referenced it in a blog post he was writing, and after reading the Parker story yet again, I feel compelled to share it.
If you have 20 minutes, please read this today. It’s as good as writing gets.
**So this was kind of insulting. Monday night my sometimes-doubles partner Gary and I got thrashed in a match in our usual adult men’s league. We lost 6-1, 6-2; I played terribly, and the guys who beat us were really good.
The whole match took about an hour, and when we were done, one of the opponents said to Gary “Do you mind if we use the court for a while?”
They then proceeded to play a set of singles.
We’d been such helpless fodder that they didn’t get enough of a workout in the regular match, they had to do some more running.
So yeah, that was kind of humiliating.
**Finally, I thought this was fabulous. Hope it doesn’t offend anyone. Call it the Story of Jesus, if it happened in 2010: