cover image Football's Best Short Stories

Football's Best Short Stories

Paul Staudohar, Editor Chicago Review Press $22 (300p) ISBN 978-1-55652-330-4

Ranging through the complete history of football, veteran sports-story anthologist Staudohar (Golf's Best; Baseball's Best) presents a collection of 22 stories that covers the game in all its forms: college and professional, amateur and school-boy. The standouts--Peter Gent's ""Waiting for the Turk,"" T. Coraghessan Boyle's ""56-0,"" Ben Ames Williams's ""Scapegoat"" and Samuel W. Taylor's ""There Must Be a Losing Coach""--focus on characters more than the game, which, not unexpectedly, they refuse to take too seriously. The efforts of two celebrated literary authors--Don DeLillo's ""Game Plan"" and John Updike's ""In Football Season""--are surprisingly plodding and go nowhere fast, like three plays and a punt. Two selections by Damon Runyon, ""Hold 'Em Yale"" and ""Undertaker Song,"" stand out from the other entries for their comic brilliance and masterful rendering of dialect. (Dec.)