☀ You can borrow and read One on One free below. ☀
In this ebook about great athletes, stellar sportswriter John Feinstein* looks back on the stories behind his first ten books, and revisits many of the main characters to catch up with the news since then. Over the years, Feinstein has seen a lot of pro sports drama, including a lot of behind-the-scenes drama, both in the worlds of the star athletes he writes about and in his life as a globe-trotting reporter. The challenges of getting the interviews, finding the stories, and making the deadlines are sometimes as riveting and entertaining as the athletes’ chronicles.
stories of great sports moments, made vivid by inside access
One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game is very readable; Feinstein is a good, extremely experienced writer — he knows how to tell a story — and he recounts constant details that make the scenes come alive. He says that the dialog of some of the conversations in the book is reconstructed from memory, but that it is essentially accurate: “I do not, for example, know exactly how many times Mike Krzyzewski said to me, ‘Are you out of your f—ing mind?’ that fateful night in Lexington, Kentucky, but I do know for certain that was the message he was trying to convey.”
He seems to remember every painful detail connected with his encounter with tennis star Gabriela Sabatini:
…I started thinking how I could try to make her comfortable…. This would be her first one-on-one interview in English and she had only done one or two in Spanish. Finding common ground with a fifteen-year-old girl would not be easy.
Finally.. I hit on it: the dog. We walked into the players’ lounge and found found a quiet table in the corner. I congratulated Sabatini on making the quarterfinals. She thanked me.
“So,” I said, readying my make-the-kid-comfortable opening question, “Last year at the Open you said you were going to buy your new dog a gift with your prize money. What did you end up buying him?”
Sabatini stared at me, saying nothing. Maybe she hadn’t understood me. So I started to ask the question more slowly. “Your dog, you said —”
“The dog died!” she shrieked, bursting into tears. “He died before I got home! Run over!”
She was sobbing uncontrollably. People came running: WTA officials, security people, other players….
One on One is a real treat for sports fans, and interesting even if you don’t know much about sports — the opportunity to be behind the scenes at and in the thick of many of the greatest sports moments over several decades has a strong pull for anybody who’s interested in people and their games.
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