An accidental sportswriter : a memoir by Robert Lipsyte

By Robert Lipsyte

A long-time activities columnist for the 'New York occasions' combines own tales with the occasions he has coated, discussing how 'Jock tradition' has permeated company, politics, and family members lifestyles, and the way its definitions became the traditional to degree price

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The last time I had been there was in 1964, after David Halberstam’s Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam coverage was announced. David, Gay, and I had take-out hamburgers before the party. I tried to get David, recently returned from Vietnam, to tell me what that country’s infamous Dragon Lady, Madame Nhu, was really like, but he was interested in what I knew about the Yankees. Gay seemed delighted by the exchange. Gay was basically unchanged: slim, handsome, glamorous in brown-and-tan shoes, brown slacks, a herringbone jacket over a brown suede vest, striped shirt, and orange tie.

I’m pretty sure I was wearing a suit and tie that night, possibly a matching vest. I’m sure I called him Mr. Mantle when I asked if I might inquire about what had happened.  . ” Now, I had heard such words before, but never from an American hero. I read the papers, I knew his story. The golden boy from the golden West had arrived as a teenager in New York in 1951 with muscles in places most people didn’t have places and a country-fresh grin despite his damaged legs and a genetic black cloud: early fatal cancers ran through the males in his family.

I snapped. I hurled myself at Willie, just launched all that butterfat, double blubber, right into him. I was a rotund rocket of rage. We both went down, and, incredibly, I was on top. Had I known the rules of engagement of the after-school fight, I would have sat on his stomach and slapped him until he cried uncle or he would have thrown me off and beat me up yet again. But how could I, who had never had a fair fight, know the rules? There were no rules in my mind, just survival and payback. All in or don’t bother.

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