From Mike Pesca, host of the popular Slate podcast The Gist, comes the greatest sports minds imagining how the world would change if a play, trade, injury, or referee's call had just gone the other way.No announcer ever proclaimed: "Up Rises Frazier!" "Havlicek commits the foul, trying to steal the ball!" or "The Giants Lose the Pennant, The Giants Lose The Pennant!" Such moments are indelibly etched upon the mind of every sports fan. Or rather, they would be, had they happened. Sports are notoriously games of inches, and when we conjure the thought of certain athletes - like Bill Buckner or Scott Norwood - we can't help but apply a mental tape measure to the highlight reels of our minds. Players, coaches, and of course fans, obsess on the play when they ask, "What if?" Upon Further Review is the first book to answer that question. Upon Further Review is a book of counterfactual sporting scenarios. In its pages the reader will find expertly reported histories, where one small event is flipped on its head, and the resulting ripples are carefully documented, the likes of... What if the U.S. Boycotted Hitler's Olympics? What if Bobby Riggs beat Billie Jean King? What if Bucky Dent popped out at the foot of the Green Monster?What if Drew Bledsoe never got hurt? Upon Further Review takes classic arguments conducted over pints in a pub and places them in the hands of dozens of writers, athletes, and historians. From turning points that every sports fan rues or celebrates, to the forgotten would-be inflection points that defined sports, Upon Further Review answers age old questions, and settles the score, even if the score bounced off the crossbar.
Upon Further Review Review
- January 1, 1970Allen Adamshttp://www.themaineedge.com/sports/sp...Sports fandom is a funny thing. Not only do we love talking about what happened in a given game or season or career, but we also love asking questions about all those things. Specifically … what if? What if something changed fundamentally about the games that we love? And what if those changes resulted in more changes and those changes led to still more changes and so on?That’s the guiding force behind “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports http://www.themaineedge.com/sports/sp...Sports fandom is a funny thing. Not only do we love talking about what happened in a given game or season or career, but we also love asking questions about all those things. Specifically … what if? What if something changed fundamentally about the games that we love? And what if those changes resulted in more changes and those changes led to still more changes and so on?That’s the guiding force behind “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.” Assembled and curated by Mike Pesca, this collection of essays takes a look at what might have happened if certain aspects of the sports world had played out differently. Some of them address the topic at hand with scholarly seriousness, while others work with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but all of them are engaging looks at diverging potential paths through sports history.Bear in mind, these aren’t necessarily pieces about merely changing outcomes of specific games; the reality is that most individual contests (even championships) don’t matter in the grander scheme. A different victor would rarely have the sort of broad impact that Pesca wanted these essays to explore.And broad impact is what we get. Across these 31 essays – written by all manner of experts and luminaries – we’re granted an opportunity to witness some compelling alternate histories play out.The very first essay sets a serious tone. We hit the ground running with Leigh Montville, who writes about the possible repercussions of Muhammad Ali receiving his draft deferment. Instead of a cultural icon, perhaps Ali goes on to simply be a great boxer. Yes, he wouldn’t have had those lost years of his prime, which could have resulted in a more impressive record. But Ali’s struggles were what made him into such a giant societal figure. He’s a top-notch fighter, not a legend.Another fascinating what-if comes from Shira Springer, who extrapolates what might have been if the United States had ultimately boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympics on both individual and societal levels. Still another – written by Mary Pilon – wonders about a world where Title IX never was.There are a couple of essays that discuss potential reinventions of football – one discussing how things might have changed if the game had been changed earlier, another about if the game was created today. Baseball is well-represented as well. A couple of favorite writers of mine – Ben Lindbergh and Will Leitch – penned essays; Lindbergh’s was about MLB beginning steroid testing in 1991, while Leitch’s wondered what baseball would be like if played just one day a week.While individual contests aren’t a focus, there are a couple of what-ifs along those lines as well. What if Bucky Dent hadn’t hit that homer in 1978? What if Tom Brady never took over for Drew Bledsoe? What happens to the merger if the Jets lose Super Bowl III? What if Team USA hadn’t won the 1999 Women’s World Cup? What if Buster Douglas hadn’t defeated Mike Tyson? What if Billie Jean King hadn’t beaten Bobby Riggs?And then there are the straight-up goofy ones. Noted sports weirdo Jon Bois has a great piece about the basketball being bigger than the rim. There’s a fun and funny alternate history revolving around the Olympics never dropping Tug of War. There’s a story about the 2017 Golden State Warriors time-traveling to play the NBA’s great teams and a great one where Game 7 of the 2016 World Series turns into every sports movie ever made.Speaking of basketball, there’s a great series of injury what-ifs. The best of them are probably Bob Ryan’s musings on a healthy-kneed Bill Walton and Claude Johnson’s deep dive into how fixing a single errant pass in the late 1940s could have completely altered the NBA landscape.And those are just some of the what-ifs at play.“Upon Further Review” captures the sense of inquiry that comes with being a sports fan. Sports impacts society to a much greater degree than many people realize; some of these essays illustrate that reality beautifully. Others are wonkier, focusing more on how changes might affect the sports themselves. Still others are gleefully absurd, recognizing the inherent irrationality of sports fandom while still celebrating it.It's a collection of top-tier writing talent here, covering a wide array of subjects. Even the most casual sports fan will find essays that engage and excite. Football, basketball, baseball – they are certainly the sports that receive the most attention. But hockey, boxing, soccer and the Olympics are represented. Even horse racing and chess get their due. It’s a broad swath of sports fandom being addressed.“Upon Further Review” is a smart, thoughtful book. Every one of these 30-plus essays is worth a look; every reader will likely find themselves drawn to a different favorite, but they all have something meaningful to offer – even if it’s just a laugh. Sports are a vital component of our cultural fabric; it’s a lot of fun to wonder at the different ways those threads might have been woven together.more
- January 1, 1970Kevin LaroseIf you enjoy what-if scenarios, as I do, you will devour this book, as I did. The author has compiled 31 different what-if sports-related scenarios, including: What if Nixon had been good at football? What if Brandy Chastain had missed the penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup finals? What if the National League had adopted the designated hitter? You get the idea. Well written with a lot of different perspectives included, this is a great read for the sports fan, even a casual one.more
- January 1, 1970Yosef ShapiroPeople have been debating the what ifs of sports outcomes since the earliest days of sports. Some of these entries are better than others. Overall , a good collection.
- January 1, 1970Austin GilbertThis was equal parts fascinating and ridiculous, and I couldn't put it down.
- January 1, 1970Jan ThullenI'm enjoying this book. It speculates on what might have happened in slightly different situations, like what if Nixon had been good at football (!). Read the 30 short pieces in any order. It has an extensive index, so browsing there is not a bad way in.more
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