Frank Deford

Writer and commentator Frank Deford is the author of sixteen books. His latest novel, Bliss, Remembered, is a love story set at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and in World War II. Publishers Weekly calls it a "thought-provoking...and poignant story, utterly charming and enjoyable." Booklist says Bliss, Remembered is "beautifully written...elegantly constructed...writing that is genuinely inspiring."

On radio, Deford may be heard as a commentator every Wednesday on NPR's Morning Edition and, on television, he is the senior correspondent on the HBO show RealSports With Bryant Gumbel. In magazines, he is Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated.

Moreover, two of Deford's books — the novel Everybody's All-American and Alex: The Life Of A Child, his memoir about his daughter who died of cystic fibrosis — have been made into movies. Two of his original screenplays, Trading Hearts and Four Minutes, have also been filmed.

As a journalist, Deford has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. Six times Deford was voted by his peers as U.S. Sportswriter of The Year. The American Journalism Review has likewise cited him as the nation's finest sportswriter, and twice he was voted Magazine Writer of The Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

Deford has also been presented with the National Magazine Award for profiles, a Christopher Award, and journalism Honor Awards from the University of Missouri and Northeastern University, and he has received many honorary degrees. The Sporting News has described Deford as "the most influential sports voice among members of the print media," and the magazine GQ has called him, simply, "the world's greatest sportswriter."

In broadcast, Deford has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award. ESPN presented a television biography of Deford's life and work, "You Write Better Than You Play." A popular lecturer, Deford has spoken at more than a hundred colleges, as well as at forums, conventions and on cruise ships around the world.

For sixteen years, Deford served as national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and he remains chairman emeritus. Deford is a graduate of Princeton University, where he has taught in American Studies.

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Sweetness And Light
12:01 am
Wed August 24, 2011

The Goal(post)-Oriented Pilgrimage

On his 56-year quest, Dick Wessels visited all the stadiums of all the Division One college football teams.
David Lee iStockphoto.com

All right, so the University of Miami's been caught in a humongous football scandal following Ohio State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon, and, as the King of Siam used to say: "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera."

What's more to add? The sport is totally out of control, and neither the college presidents nor the NCAA can do anything but make dopey, empty promises. So why bother? Let me, instead, tell you a nice college football story.

It is about a quest.

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Sweetness And Light
10:00 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

You're Off The Team: The Most Unkindest Cut

Now is the time when The Turk appears –– he being that mythic figure in the NFL camps who materializes one night with those words of doom for the poor player before him: Pick up your playbook and go see the coach.

It is, of course, not the messenger who actually performs the dirty deed. But for decades now, the person who tells the player to report to the boss has been known as The Turk –– presumably because some old player with a vivid imagination envisioned an Ottoman warrior, wielding a scimitar sword that, more dramatically than any other, said cut.

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Sweetness And Light
10:00 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Thinking Back On Bubba Smith

Bubba Smith, who died last week, was a teammate of mine. I can see him giving me a stern, put-on sneer in response to that claim, and in truth, no, Bubba and I were not football teammates. Rather, we acted in an ensemble as Lite Beer All-Stars back when Miller used a lot of washed-up old athletes — and one overwhelmed sportswriter — to hustle what was then a popular new product: a low-calorie beer.

Remember? "Tastes great!" "Less filling!"

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Sweetness And Light
12:01 am
Wed August 3, 2011

NCAA: Still Stalled By 'Amateur Hour' Thinking

NCAA President Mark Emmert address the media during a press conference before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17 in Washington, D.C.
Nick Laham Getty Images

Next week, at some place in Indianapolis where time has been instructed to stand still, Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, will convene what is being called, without irony, a "retreat."

Assembled will be about 50 college presidents, pledged, it seems, to make sure that college athletics continue to remain firmly in the past, in the antiquated amateur hours.

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Sweetness And Light
11:10 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

When Owens Beat Hitler, And The Olympics Changed

Jesse Owens crosses the finish line in Berlin to win the 100-meter sprint, one of four events in which Owens won gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.
Keystone Getty Images

While of course nothing can approach the horror of the terrorist murders at the 1972 Olympics, it is now the 75th anniversary of what were surely the most fascinating and historically influential Games –– those in Berlin that began at this very time in the summer of '36. It was novelty, and glory, and evil — all in athletic conjunction as never before or since.

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