My single girlfriends in NYC have long been wondering where all the eligible men are lurking. I found it. Happy Ending Lounge on the Lower East Side is home to Varsity Letters, a monthly reading series celebrating sports writing. (If you’re wondering about the name of the venue, the bar’s former life as a certain kind of massage parlor confirms that it was always a popular haunt for men.)
I went to the July 5th event because the beau and I were invited by our friend, Rich Ackerman, a sportscaster and contributor to Being There: 100 Sports Pros Talk About the Best Events They Ever Witnessed Firsthand, by Eric Mirlis. Ackerman’s radio voice turned a “reading” into a live broadcast. The beau, who has spent almost his entire career around sports, also knew one of the other readers, Lee Lowenfish, author of a new biography of Branch Rickey, who is renown as both a jazz writer and a baseball writer (Lowenfish trivia: he sports a perfect slash business card, featuring a baseball in one corner and a musical note in the other.)
This series included four talented writers, whose passion/obsession for their subject kept my attention even though I have about as much interest in team sports as I do in cleaning the lint from my drier. Though I’m not a follower of sports, I have a weird interest in sports writing, especially writing about baseball. That’s because good sports writing is seldom just about the sports. It is about storytelling, scene painting, larger than life characters, come backs and comeuppances, men having feelings for each other, and historical moments. Reading good sports writing helps me with things like narrative and other aspects of style, which somehow jump off the page easier because the subject is unfamiliar to me.
And what could be better than a room full of men using words so beautifully? (Okay, maybe a poker table set up for a good round of Omaha, but that’s another blog post).
Women were absent from the roster, but I am eager to return when there are some female voices present. I am sure women are changing the landscape of sportswriting just as they have changed the landscape of sports.
Speaking of women and sports, no one can bring great moments in sports to life better than Mary Schwalm, former sports photo editor for the Associated Press, now freelance photographer. She could turn that lint in my drier into exquisite photojournalism.
Have a look at her incredible photos, and sign up for photoweek, her weekly photo roundup. It is one of the only regular emails I never mind getting.
* That baseball image is of a beautiful leather baseball, made by none other than my beau’s company, Bergino. For once, I didn’t have to do a Google image search to find my post’s accompanying art.
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