In his recently released memoir, “An Accidental Sportwriter,” Robert Lipsyte tells stories about the many social issues he’s addressed in his distinguished career as a sports journalist, including a long stint as a sports columnist at the New York Times.  Lipsyte, who Howard Cosell once called “the best sports columnist of my lifetime,” wrote a landmark book in the sports reform field in 1975 called “SportsWorld: An American Dreamland,” a probing look at the social, cultural and economic aspects of the American sports system.  Writing that book was a courageous move for a sportswriter at the time.  In effect, it was the first in-depth critical look at the socio-cultural ramifications of Big Sport in the United States.

Unlike the vast majority of his contemporaries in sports journalism, Lipsyte has succeeded in avoiding a common affliction among sports journalists called Sports Syndrome, a condition that describes people who are hero-worshipping sports fans at heart and prefer the blind sanctification of sports to a comprehensive analysis of sports’ impact — pro and con — on our culture.  Lipsyste’s passions are people and the social issues of the day, not sports.  It’s this perspective, combined with a beautiful writing style, that makes “An Accidental Sportswriter” a must read for everyone who believes in the potential of sports but also feels SportsWorld can be so much better than it is today.

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