Glenn Stout to speak Thursday 2012.03.21

Written by David Green.

stout.fenwayBy DAVID GREEN

 Don’t let the phrase “sports writer” catch you off base, because there’s much more to author Glenn Stout than that.

True, he’s nationally know for his books and articles about sporting events, but his work—and his interests—go beyond the baseball diamond and the football field.

When Stout visits Morenci’s Stair Public Library at 7 p.m. Thursday, he expects his talk to interest a wide range of readers.

“I think the talk will be of interest to anyone interested in writing, as not all my work is sports related,” he said. “I suppose anyone who is interested in writing, particularly sports writing, and how a person becomes a writer.”

“My journey was sort of accidental,” he added, as a teaser to his talk.

 Stout said he will discuss some of the stories behind the stories told in the books he’s written, along with some information about how some of his books came to be written.

For example, he will recount the oral history he recorded at the site of the World Trade Center cleanup (Nine Months at Ground Zero”), and he will talk about the process by which an idea becomes a book.

The Ohio native began a free-lance writing career in 1986 and made the decision to go full time as a writer in 1993. That wasn’t the easiest choice to make. 

“Looking back now, I can't believe I did it,” he said. “It was definitely the kind of decision you make as a younger person, because I don't think I admitted to myself the possibility that I would fail.”

His decision also came as somewhat of a relief.

“At the time, I was exhausted from essentially both working full time and writing full time and I figured, ‘Well, I'll give this a try and if it doesn’t work after six months or a year, I’ll get another job.’”

He never had to look for that new job.

He’s written, ghostwritten or edited more than 80 books, representing sales of almost three million copies.

Stout continues to edit the annual “Best American Sports Writing” series—a project he got off the ground in 1991—and is the author of the “Good Sports” series for juvenile readers.

After publishing the Boston Globe bestseller “Fenway 1912,” Stout was awarded the 2012 Seymour Medal by the Society for American Baseball Research.

Stout branched off from baseball stories in a big way a few years ago when he wrote about an American teenager who became the first woman to swim the English Channel.

 “I stumbled across the story of Trudy Ederle while researching another book and was surprised that I had never ever heard of her,” he said.

He filed the story away for a few years before deciding there was a book waiting to be written.

“Without her, it would have been another generation before women would have been allowed to compete in sports,” Stout said. “She’s the Jackie Robinson of women’s sports.  It all starts with her.”

Stout says that he isn’t a very good swimmer, but he did spend some time in and on Lake Champlain where he lives. 

“I did try to get inside her head by spending some time in the water when it was colder than comfortable, and a lot of time out by myself kayaking along in poor weather conditions, just to get and understanding of what it feels like to be out on the water, cold and wet, for six or eight hours, completely dependent on you own physical efforts. I can't imagine swimming the Channel myself, but I know my book has inspired others to do so.”

After his visit to the library Thursday, Stout will spend Friday with Morenci high school and middle school students.

He’ll start the day with Heather Walker’s AP English class, then move to the middle school to speak with fifth and sixth grade students. Seventh and eighth graders will get their chance in the afternoon.

Even during lunch Stout will be on the job. He’s going to have a meal with members of Sally Kruger’s writers group.

“I’ll be talking about my career and tying to motivate them about reading and writing by explaining that writing isn’t done by other people but by people just like themselves, and I’ll try to use examples from my own life and career to underscore that point.”

He would be delighted if students gained a greater appreciation for the written word.

“I think reading is transformative, something that can and does change your life,” he said, “no matter what you want to do in the future.”

Stout aims to write a few more books in his future—more material for readers to devour.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016