: Playing Piano in a Brothel: A Sports Journalist's Odyssey (9781589794597) : Terry Frei : Books
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Playing Piano In A Brothel: A Sports Journalist's Odyssey

by Terry Frei
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publishing date: 20100916
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781589794597
  • ISBN: 1589794591


In Playing Piano in a Brothel, author Terry Frei follows up on his acclaimed '77: Denver, the Broncos and a Coming of Age.

As he did in '77, Frei combines reporting, historical research, memoir, and opinion, taking readers behind the scenes of some very high-profile events and settings as he displays his abilities to observe, to explore, and, perhaps most important, to listen. Those skills have led former United States presidents and Pulitzer Prize winners to join others in praise of his previous books.

As the son of a longtime major college and National Football League coach, Frei has a unique perspective of an observer of sports from several angles. Here, he opens with a sardonic and unsparing assessment of the state of contemporary sports journalism that might cause some in his business to wince, but many to nod in emphatic agreement.

Among the topics he tackles are the Colorado and national media's handling of the University of Colorado football recruiting "controversies" during the tenure of Coach Gary Barnett, trends in sports column writing, turning the trivial into trumpeted "scoops" gleaned from "sources," and the endangered status of newspaper journalism as the nurturer of writing talent among the young.

Frei also assesses modern newspapers' response to the onset of online technology and "new media" competition. He views it as a botched transition, involving pandering to the lowest common denominators possible and a frequent abdication of positions of authority and credibility.

After establishing the context, Frei discusses his experiences and the diverse characters he has encountered since he was a green sportswriter during that initial Broncos season of glory in 1977. From football, those figures include 2010 Hall of Fame inductees Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith; the father-son combination of Jack and John Elway; and renowned college coaches Lou Holtz and Nick Saban. In a section that follows up on his much-praised book Third Down and a War to Go, Frei tells the story of two additional World War II-era college football teams whose players met on the field, then went off to serve - many of them in combat, many of them heroically, and one of them as a trailblazing member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Frei's remembrance of being caught in the 1989 World Series Earthquake, and especially the characters he encountered in San Francisco in the ensuing days of chaos, will touch readers. His visits to minor-league baseball outposts -- one, a hardscrabble mining town, the other the childhood home of one of American's renowned novelists -- also echo with a love for the sport. He also is the rare writer who has extensively covered both the NBA and NHL, and he includes his reflections and experiences while chronicling the superstars and even the controversial incidents in those leagues.

A frequent visitor to world title fights, Frei takes readers into the ring with such boxing legends as Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, and Thomas Hearns. And he goes behind the scenes of several Olympic Games, where he encountered gold medalists, recreational-caliber skiers just hoping to stay on the course, and even a Catalonian woman who tended to her beloved stray cats in a famous park as the marathon passed her by.

Ultimately, Playing Piano in a Brothel is an ode to sports -- and what they still can be.

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