The Way It Looks from Here
Contemporary Canadian Writing on Sports
By Stephen Brunt (Editor)
(Vintage Canada, Paperback, 9780676973525, 448pp.)
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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In the first ever anthology of its kind, Canada’s premier sportswriter — Globe and Mail columnist and author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller Facing Ali — brings together the best writing on sport in this country, with a strong contemporary flavour.
It’s all here: classic reports on Canada’s great sporting triumphs, from Joe Carter’s World Series–winning home run for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 to the excitement of the back-to-back men’s and women’s hockey gold medals in Salt Lake City. Stephen Brunt gives an entire section to writers who, unlike those covering other beats, must work tightly by the clock, submitting their stories just as soon as the action for the day is over. But he has also chosen our best writers’ more thoughtful pieces on our national obsessions — such as Ed Willes on the WHA’s seven tumultuous years and Wayne Johnston on the Original Six — and a good sampling of the great sportswriters such as Trent Frayne, Peter Gzowski and Milt Dunnell. The net effect is an examination of the deep role sport plays in our lives and imaginations, in our sense of self and nationhood.
Stephen Brunt has cast his net widely. He includes superb stories of lower profile Canadian sports such as wrestling and horse racing, even Monster Truck battles, and allows space for his own unequalled and unforgettable profiles of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, as well as his post-mortem on Ben Johnson’s fall from grace.
Full of triumph and heartbreak, great writing and great passions — and a few wonderful surprises — this book will be essential reading for every serious sports fan.
• Ian Brown on the stud-horse business
• Christie Blatchford on the 2003 Women’s Olympic Hockey Gold
• Rosie DiManno on the Men’s
• James Christie on Ben Johnson’s 1988 Olympic triumph in Seoul
• Michael Faber on Pat Burns
• Red Fisher on Lemieux and Gretzky at the 1987 Canada Cup
• Trent Frayne on Canadian Open golf champ Ken Green deciding to play Sun City during apartheid
• Bruce Grierson on Canada’s best squash player
• Peter Gzowski on the Oilers with Gretzky
• Tom Hawthorn on John Brophy’s last brawl
• Brian Hutchinson on Owen Hart’s widow’s revenge
• Wayne Johnston on the Montreal Canadiens
• Guy Lawson on curling
• Allan Maki on the 1989 Hamilton–Saskatchewan Grey Cup
• Dave Perkins on the biggest home run in World Series history
• Mordecai Richler on snooker’s Cliff Thorburn
• Steve Simmons on Donovan Bailey
• Mike Ulmer on Cujo’s charm
Stephen Brunt is Canada’s premier sportswriter and commentator. In addition to Facing Ali: The Opposition Weighs In, he is the author of Mean Business: The Rise and Fall of Shawn O’Sullivan, Second to None: The Roberto Alomar Story, and Diamond Dreams: 20 Years of Blue Jays Baseball. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
"[A] brilliant compilation."
"What drives a Bobby Orr to push along on wrecked knees? How was Wayne Gretzky able to see patterns opening up on a rush before they did? Why did Tim Raines risk all his potential on cocaine? Not all of the answers are to be found in this eclectic and intentionally quirky collection of exceptional Canadian sports reportage, but the questions are posed frankly and with no ulterior motive beyond sincere curiosity."
—Ottawa Citizen, Feb 6, 2005
"The way it looks from here is pretty darn good. With Mordecai Richler writing on former world snooker champion Cliff Thorburn of Victoria, Peter Gzowski on Gretzky, Ken Dryden on saving hockey and Stephen Brunt on the still unforgiven Ben Johnson, how can it not be?... These varied and mostly well-chosen pieces reflect [the Canadian] understated yet sometimes surprisingly feisty national sporting character."
—The Times-Colonist (Victoria)
"[Brunt] has assembled an eclectic and intentionally quirky collection of exceptional Canadian sports reportage. . . . As a whole, [the selections] explore what it is about sports that captivates so many of us. . . . Questions are posed frankly and with no ulterior motive beyond sincere curiosity."
—The Gazette (Montreal)
"Skillfully selected.… sure to take readers back to a more innocent time — when Wayne Gretzky was the world’s greatest hockey player, not a Hockey Canada executive, Ben Johnson was the world’s fastest human, not a drug cheat, and the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays were at the top of the baseball world and had more than a few thousand fans in the stands per game to witness it."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"Brunt’s good choices … sew past to present to future with magical stitches."
Praise for Facing Ali:
• A Globe 100 Best Book of the Year
• A Sports Illustrated Book of the Year
“These are men of substance, worth getting to know. Brunt does them justice, but the author has done something even more impressive: He has found something new to report about Muhammad Ali.”
“Stephen Brunt’s method of revealing the human story is as rich as it is simple. . . . The 15 stories in Facing Ali are elicited with a respect and appreciation that is simply too rare in sports reporting these days. Boxing desperately needs more coverage that combines Brunt’s technical knowledge with his writerly interest in these human stories upon which all prize fighting is based.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Facing Ali is a work of wit and insight. It goes the distance.”
—The Vancouver Sun