My Sports Writing class, SW500, at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University, recently read and was moved by The Courage of Jill Costello, by Chris Ballard, of Sports Illustrated. I tweeted it out and heard from the author himself, SI_ChrisBallard, with a thanks for the mention. Since we were in contact now, I felt permissioned to ask him the class’ biggest question from the story: Had Ballard met Ms. Costello? Our guess was no, that he had weaved together this very detailed, emotional story from those who knew and loved her. The answer’s below.
@kevdonahue All done posthumously. Her dad wrote me at SI, a month after her death. Video + her online diary really helped.— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) September 19, 2012
Many thanks to Chris for being so gracious and accessible, and for telling a moving story so well. Stylistically, it reminded me of a Gary Smith article, and I have no higher compliment for a sports story.
Finally, chalk up another example that the world is a very small place.
Wear something yellow to tell Lance Armstrong that they might be able to ban him for life, but they can’t ban him from life.
At some point, the little white lies that Paterno hid behind — that he would retire after five more years, that Bowling Green was, in fact, a formidable opponent, that the culture of football was in no way segregated from the culture of the university at large — ballooned into this, into a lie so unthinkable that it takes your breath away.