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.
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.