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Rushin out at SI

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by leon_hollhandle, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. SuperDeuce

    SuperDeuce Member

    Anyone have an example of his feature work? Never seen one.
  2. SlyStone

    SlyStone New Member

    I agree with BlondeBomber. Rushin is a talented and clever writer. One of the best. But he was miscast as a columnist. He got the gig because ESPN the Mag came after him and SI countered by offering Reilly $$ and space, i.e. Air and Space. He knew how to massage a word but he lack passion and conviction, the hallmarks of a great columnist, in my view. Believe in something! Steve is a nice guy who never ever pushed the envelope. He was just there playing with words. I think a columnist has to take a stand once in awhile and brace for the reaction. Steve never did that. It was not in him. Maybe SI now thinks they can save big $ and not lose readers with his departure. Because he never really demonstrated any passion, maybe they are right.
  3. One of my personal favorites is a feature he did about seven years ago (I'm pretty sure it was in the spring of 2000) on an ice golf tournament in Iceland. I nearly wet myself over some of the lines (his description of a golf ball striking a native's dog as it pulled his sled was one of the funniest sections I've ever read from Rushin).

    I could never understand how a guy could write an entire story about how his magazine sent him to play golf, but all he did was drink, and not only get it into print as a gut-busting piece of brilliance, but keep his job as well. I loved his line about oversleeping and missing the tournament, so he finished with a WD, which he took to mean, "was drinking." Classic.
  4. Grohl

    Grohl Guest

    The piece he did for SI's 40th anniversary was amazing -- one of the best stories I've ever read. (I've always remembered the lead: "History has thrown a thunderous combination. Blacks are voting in South Africa today; Richard Nixon awaits burial tonight.") It's called "1954-1994: How We Got Here". I can't find it online anywhere, but it's in The Best American Sports Writing 1995. I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was the longest single piece SI ever ran, but if you find it, it's well worth your time.

    I'd be sad to see him leave SI, because he's so talented, but I can't disagree that he's not what he once was. I wonder if, when he and Reilly agreed to be columnists, they got it in their contracts that they wouldn't have to write anything else. I've wished for a while that both of them would write more than just their columns.
  5. kbb

    kbb Member

    Who said he wasn't firm in his beliefs? Here's part of a 2002 column:

    Hockey players, among all athletes, have the coolest way of entering a game, hopping over the boards with one hand, like Steve McQueen getting into a convertible. But basketball is forever, and so players are often made to genuflect in front of the scorer's table for a moment before stepping onto the court, as if entering a house of worship. Which, in a manner of speaking, they are.
    For one is baptized into basketball not with water but confetti (conferred on the head by Curly Neal). And one believes in basketball, as one believes in the Bible and in all those names that are common to both: Moses and Isiah and Jordan....
    Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden and so -- eventually -- were the Celtics, and sometime in between I became a believer, and this is my profession of faith:

    ... I believe in new hightops, always evocative of Christmas morning, for you get to open a large box, remove the crinkly paper stuffed into the toes and -- before wearing them for the first time -- inhale deeply from each sneaker as if from an airplane oxygen mask. (It's what wine connoisseurs call "nosing the bouquet" and works for Pumas as well as pinot noirs.)
    ... I believe a team's fortunes can always be foretold -- not from the length of its lifelines but from the integrity of its layup lines.
    I believe in God Shammgod and Alaa Abdelnaby and James (Buddha) Edwards (and in Black Jesus, Earl Monroe's nickname long before it was the Pearl).
    I believe in accordion-style bleachers that push back to expose, after a game, car keys and quarters and paper cups, which sound like a gunshot when stomped on just right. (And always, stuck to the floor, the forlorn strands of molting pom-poms.)
    I believe -- now more than ever, in this time of global disharmony -- in World B. Free and Majestic Mapp. And that control of the planet's contested regions might be better determined by a simple, alternating possession arrow.
    I believe that any sucker can wear a $40,000 gold necklace as thick as a bridge cable when the only necklace worth wearing in basketball is a nylon net that costs $9.99. (But -- and here's the point -- it can't be bought.)

    I believe that jumping off a trampoline, turning a midair somersault, slam-dunking and sticking the landing -- while wearing a gorilla suit that's wearing, in turn, a Phoenix Suns warmup jacket -- is enough to qualify you as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

    ... I believe that Larry Bird's crooked right index finger -- which he raised in triumph before his winning shot fell in the 1988 All-Star weekend three-point contest -- resembles, almost exactly, God's crooked right index finger, as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

    Which would make sense, if God made man in His image. For I believe, above all, in what G.K. Chesterton wrote, and what Rick Telander echoed in the title of a book: Earth is a task garden. But heaven is a playground.
  6. BillySixty

    BillySixty Member

    This is a shame. Rushin was unique, and while some didn't like his schtik, it was unlike anything you'd find elsewhere.

    Someone said in an earlier post that Rushin wrote for himself. While he may write more about his personal life than anyone else, I thought that Rushin did exactly the opposite of writing for himself. He had no agenda. He really seemed to love sports and the people in sports. I'd much rather read about his wife or daughter than a Reilly column about how steroids are bad and Bonds is a jerk.

    There's a column he did in April of 2001 about how sports is one of the few enterprises in life that rewards absurd aspirations. A fantastic read.

    And Road Swing is a must for any Rushin fans. He also recently came out with a best of book with features and columns in it.

    He'll be missed.
  7. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    this thread gives me a new appreciation for him.

    odd, but when writers are around a long time, you tend to take them for granted. times change - new voices arrive - and you forget what made the old voices worthwhile.

    rushin is uniquely talented, no question - but i wonder if he's ill-suited to this era - and i'm struggling to pinpoint why not

    maybe he's too cerebral for the ADD generation

    if your daily reading includes 50-60 blogs, as mine does, how do you make time for something so existentially fuzzy?
  8. jaredk

    jaredk Member

    First, I'd argue that Rushin was never "fuzzy," let alone "existentially fuzzy." Maybe you mean he expressed thoughts in thoughtful ways. To make time for reading Rushin-type stuff, I'd skip a few existentially vapid blogs.
  9. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    Maybe that's where you'll see him end up -- writing a blog.
    I enjoy reading Rushin, for most of the reasons already stated, but he was never the first columnist I turned to in SI.
  10. jaredk

    jaredk Member

    Educate me. Why would he write a blog? Why go for from one of the nation's best magazines with a high-dollar salary to a blog where even committed bloggers dream of the day they'll get a job so wonderful it gives them benefits? I'm guessing Rushin can raise his hand and get any book deal he wants. That, or free-lance for the quality magazines.
  11. Sxysprtswrtr

    Sxysprtswrtr Active Member

    First of all - is it known if SI got rid of him or if Rushin got rid of SI?
    That plays a lot into one's decision on where to take his career, doesn't it?
  12. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    The days of SI being the ultimate career destination are long gone....there are plenty of options for someone with a nationally recognized name...starting with numerous websites with money to spend.
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