Many great stories take place on the frozen wastes, where the howling winds and stinging ice strip human relationships to their bare bones.
“The food was almost gone, and his own physical state was deplorable, with open sores on his nose, lips, and scrotum; his hair coming out in clumps; and skin peeling off his legs. And he still had a hundred miles to go. ‘I am afraid it has cooked my chances altogether,’ Mawson wrote in his diary. But he added, ‘I shall do my utmost to the last.’ Using only the serrated blade of his knife, he cut the sledge in half. Then he fashioned a makeshift sail by sewing Mertz’s jacket to a cloth bag. Three days after Mertz’s death, Mawson discovered to his horror that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the skin beneath them, which spurted pus and blood. He taped the dead soles to his feet, and put on six pairs of wool socks. Every step thereafter was an agony.”
Allen, Texas, is a town where football is Lord and the children learn to tackle before they learn to walk. But the foundation of their existence may be threatened by the encroachment of reality. Bryan Curtis, Texas Monthly.
“Allen, like much of the country, decided that it was going to try to save football from modernity. It was going to see if what was primal and brutal about the game could exist in an era of science and safety and lawsuits and attachment parenting. I wanted to see this struggle. I wanted to go to a city where kids practiced football three times a week and played once a week while Mom watched from a lawn chair; a place where they had the best protective gear and the best doctors; where the game was coached the right way and played exquisitely well—even by kids. I wanted to see the sport trying to survive in our new, wised-up universe.”
Reashat Mati has been punching since he was born. Now 13, he holds titles in every form of unarmed combat. Charles P. Pierce, Grantland.
"In the ever-expanding world of mixed martial arts, Reshat Mati, now 13 years old and many times a champion in several different disciplines, all of them involving punching something (or someone) more substantial than the air, is Bryce Harper. He's RG3. He's Jabari Parker. Lean and quick-handed, and quick-footed, for all that, with a taste for mixing it up, Reshat is a genuine phenom in a phenom of a sport. Yet, in many ways, his is the oldest immigrant story of them all. It is the story lived by thousands of Hispanic immigrants and, before them, by the Irish and Germans and Jewish immigrants who poured into the tenement ghettos of the big cities and, at almost the same time, by the African Americans who came north from tenant farming and sharecropping, immigrants from one part of their own country to another. Sooner or later, you find a way to punch your way out of these circumstances."
Every basketball player dreams of the 100-point game, but those who’ve achieved the dream have found themselves strangely cursed. Justin Heckert, Sports Illustrated.
"Jack became an immediate curiosity. After the game he answered questions in more than a dozen interviews, surrounded by people from the sports information office at Grinnell. Anyone who called the office that night got a little piece of him, a small taste of what he was feeling; he barely had time to talk to his parents, who waited for him to take a break. He did interviews the next morning and interviews that afternoon. He talked to Jimmy Kimmel and Good Morning America and gave his game socks to The Dan Patrick Show. He did interviews after the Pioneers' next game, against William Penn on Nov. 25, when all he could offer everyone watching was 21 points. He got autograph requests and asked his coach what XOXO meant, and his coach told him, hugs and kisses. His parents began to fear that the media storm would consume him, change him; so they asked his coaches to make sure he was eating and sleeping and still going to class."