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“It's easy to do anything in victory. It’s in defeat that a man reveals himself.” —Floyd Patterson
Twenty-two notable writers—including Bob Sullivan, Abby Ellin, Mike Pesca, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louisa Hall, and Gay Talese—examine the untold stories of the losers, and in doing so reveal something raw and significant about what it means to be human
The locker rooms of winning teams are crowded with coaches, family, and fans. Reporters flock to the athletes, brimming with victory and celebration, to ask, How does it feel? In contrast, the locker rooms of the losing teams are quiet and awkward, and reporters tend to leave quickly, reluctant to linger too long around loss.
But, as sports journalists Mary Pilon and Louisa Thomas argue, losing is not a phenomenon to be overlooked, and in Losers, they have called upon novelists, reporters, and athletes to consider what it means to lose. From the Olympic gymnast who was forced to surrender her spot to another teammate, to the legacy of Bill Buckner's tenth-inning error in the 1986 World Series, to LeBron James's losing record in the NBA Finals, these essays range from humorous to somber, but all are united by their focus on defeat. Interweaving fourteen completely new and unpublished pieces alongside beloved classics of the genre, Losers turns the art of sports writing on its head and proves that there is inspiration to be found in stories of risk, resilience, and getting up after you've been knocked down.