Quotes by: J. R. Moehringer
December 7, 1964 |
New York City
There's that old journalism rule that sunshine is the great disinfectant - which is how reporters bust their way into meetings and such all the time. In sports, I really think winning is the great disinfectant.
Baseball, boxing, handball - sooner or later every game gets compared to narrative, but only in football are the plays perfectly linear, drawn up with letters, and only in football is the field itself lined like a sheet of notebook paper.
Now, whenever I need to go online, I confine myself to a tight circle: Gmail, MLB.com, NYTimes.com, Slate and maybe Facebook.
In Zurich, in a cafe overlooking the Limmat, I ate butter-drenched white asparagus pulled from the ground that morning; it had the aftertaste of champagne. I've been able to appreciate epic meals in San Francisco, New Orleans, Berlin, Paris, Las Vegas.
You think you choose the subjects of your books. But sometimes, in ways you don't know, the books choose you.
Baseball always gets credit for the foundational part of masculinity - the father thing. The eternal game of backyard catch, 'Field of Dreams', the Ripkens, the Griffeys, the Bondses, so on. But football is the real paternal game, because it's a conveyor belt of father figures, in the form of coaches.
Write every day; never give up; it's supposed to be difficult; try to find some pleasure and reward in the act of writing, because you can't look for praise from editors, readers, or critics. In other words, tips that are much easier to give than to take.
I've been trying to write a book since before I was old enough to vote, and I've collected many rejection slips from publishers and magazines. I used to keep them all stuck to my refrigerator, with magnets, but an ex-girlfriend told me they were depressing, and defeatist, and suggested I take them down. A very wise suggestion on her part.
The greatest players use anger as fuel. Michael Jordan played every night with something like road rage.
Vegas is like the old definition of writing: though I don't enjoy writing, I love having written. Though I didn't enjoy Vegas, I love having lived there.
Some of football's gaudiest displays of manliness are purely aesthetic. It's not what players do, it's how they look doing it.
I'm a big fan of the poet Mary Jo Salter, and although she doesn't need to be discovered at all - she's widely admired and anthologized and extremely accomplished - I wish she were a household name.
Tacked above my desk are photos of artists I admire - Hopper, Sargent, Twain - and postcards from beloved bookstores where I've spent all my time and money - Tattered Cover, Elliot Bay, Harvard Bookstore.
My father was a food lover and a deadbeat dad, and maybe a connection between good food and bad dads was forged early, in the deepest folds of my subconscious, where we make so many decisions about our parents.
While I was busy hating Vegas, and hiding from Vegas, a funny thing happened. I grew to love Vegas.
Food still isn't my thing, but I've learned to respect its power and significance.
Like the Earth, the Web is a less appealing place than it used to be. If I want attitude and arguing and meanness and profanity and wrong information screamed at me as gospel, I'll get in a time machine and spend Christmas with my family in 1977.
If you can live in Vegas, or visit Vegas, and leave in one piece, still loving it and somehow laughing about it, you should spend at least part of your last night in town doing something that will serve you well no matter where you go next: thank your lucky stars.
Basketball's eras are defined by teams - Celtics, Lakers, Bulls - and baseball's epochs are defined by players - Ruth, Robinson, Mantle - but with football, it's the sideline strategists, the nutty professors and top coated Lears.