Back during the Quickish Era, my favorite thing was the year-end "best-of" sportswriting list -- the first one was in 2011 ("Quickish 11 for '11"), and it proved pretty popular...not to mention enjoyable to prepare.
You can't find that original list anymore, but the tradition lives on in
'14. And the underlying sentiment extends into another year:
Sportswriting has never been better.
To be sure: "14" is an absurd, artificial constraint; there are many
more worthy entries*, as my overworked browser tabs and gut-busting
Pocket account indicate.
Still, here are 14 of my favorite pieces of sportswriting this year -- listed alphabetically by author.
Katie Baker, Grantland: "The Cold Never Bothered Him Anyway"
Chris Ballard, SI.com: "Twilight the Saga"
Jane Coaston, EDSBS: "On Women and Sports"
Bryan Curtis, Grantland: "Travonte's Party"
Steven Godfrey, SB Nation: "Meet the Bag Man"
Spencer Hall, SB Nation: "The Istanbul Derby"
Amanda Hess, ESPN.com: "Just Cheer, Baby"
Greg Howard, Deadspin: "The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks"
Sarah Marshall, The Believer: "Remote Control"
Brian Phillips, Grantland: "Diamonds in the Rough"
Paul Sonne and Anton Troianovski, Wall Street Journal: "Here's the Skinny on NBC's Olympic Latte Secret"
Louisa Thomas, Grantland: "Together, We Make Football"
Wright Thompson, ESPNFC.com: Sketches from the World Cup
Don Van Natta, ESPN.com: "Jerry Football"
* - Again, "14" is a dumb constraint and I lament the things I don't
include as much as I enjoy the things I do. Here are a few under "Also Receiving Votes":
Chris Ballard, SI: "Haverford Oops"
Flinder Boyd, Newsweek: "The Birdman's Vengeful Ghost"
Flinder Boyd, FoxSports.com: "Run and Gun"
Jeremy Collins, SB Nation: "13 Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux"
Kathy Dobie, GQ: "The Undefeated Champions of Defeat City"
Jason Fagone, Grantland: "Dropped"
David Fleming, ESPN.com: "Nothing to See Here"
Eva Holland, SB Nation: "Wilderness Women"
Jesse Katz, LA Magazine: "Escape from Cuba"
Michael Kruse, SB Nation: "The Right Thing To Do Vs. The State of Florida"
Erik Malinowski, FoxSports.com: "Pitchman"
JR Moehringer, ESPN.com: "The Final Walk-Off"
Brian Phillips, Grantland: "Sea of Crises"
Alan Seigel, Sports On Earth: "Sabre Rattler"
Susan Shepard, SB Nation: "Double T's Last Ride"
Wright Thompson, ESPN.com: "Portrait of a Serial Winner"
Wright Thompson, ESPN.com: "Section O, Row 61"
Tommy Tomlinson, ESPN.com: "You Can't Quit Cold Turkey"
Wells Tower, GQ: "Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?"
Seth Wickersham, ESPN.com: "30 Yards and Cloud of Dust"
And please feel free to tweet at me (@danshanoff) with any of your particular favorites.
For other great year-end lists, check out these collections from Longreads, Longform, SB Nation, FoxSports.com's Erik Malinowski and ESPN's Kevin Van Valkenburg, and subscribe to Van Natta's weekly "reads" newsletter. Also, if you're curious, here is a link to last year's "13 for '13." Finally, sincere thanks for your support of this newsletter this year. Subscribe here.