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An Accidental Sportswriter: A Memoir

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Celebrated sports journalist Robert Lipsyte—the New York Times’ longtime lead sports columnist—mines pure gold from his long and very eventful career to bring readers a memoir like no other. An enthralling book, as much about personal relationships and the culture of sports as the athletes and teams themselves, An Accidental Sportswriter interweaves stories from Lipsyte’s ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Ecco (first published April 25th 2011)
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Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Robert Lipsyte, one of the most recognizable sports columnist and writers, details his life as a young boy to his early interactions with the sports world's most influential faces. We watch Robert grow as a person, while he freaks out meeting new stars every week. The memoir An Accidental Sportswriter, is an enjoyable read because of the relatability to Lipsyte's upbringings, and his very detailed storytelling.
Right off the bat Lipsyte is having the readers connect to his story, from being bul
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
smart and entertaining writer Father of sam lipsyte, robert lipsyte was a long time ny times sports reporter, but looked closely at the industry, at it's politics, money, drugs, racism, sexism, foolishness, human interests, labor relations, and even some box scores. Author was main man of dick gregory, Ali, cossell, the althlete "revolution" of the 1970's, billie jean king, and has lots of entertaining stories about baseball, boxing, and even hockey. Sports remineses for people who don’t like sp ...more
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
dull and self indulgent
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
For reasons I don't quite understand I like sports writing. I think the appeal comes from the characters, the presence of competition, the dedication of the athletes, and the quality of the journalists' writing. Lipsyte's memoir hits high moments when he writes about his professional relationships with Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell, Mickey Mantle, and Billie Jean King; he talks about how each one changed the way sports was managed and covered and also changed society. He is more tentative about ot ...more
David Spin
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Did not know that much about Lipsyte's p.o.v. as a sportswriter so it was very interesting to find out who his chose as subjects and how politics/social justice/cultural anthropology drives his work. Insider stuff about sportswriters and the structures behind the games was also interesting. ...more
Don Schecter
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Whereas I dragged out reading Ms. Gilbert's bestseller and never finished it, I read An Accidental Sportswriter in 3 days. It is a superb retrospective of an amazing rollercoaster ride of a life, and I enjoyed every page. I was never a sports fan but Lipsyte showed how sports infiltrated my life without my being aware of it. I found out everything I ever wanted to know about the major names, how they fit into the scheme of things; and got a great feel for the big swings in the evolution of sport ...more
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
A sort of biography through interactions with figures, both sports and not. Lipsyte has always approached sports writing from the outside, trying not to settle for the easy story, and this book explains why. He resented the jock culture, as he saw it, because he saw the locker room as full of bullies. He still thinks that way, it's clear, but he has found subjects to admire.

My favorite chapters were the later ones where he kind of steps back and takes a look at the state of sports journalism, fo
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the chapters were more interesting than others, esp good to me those that involved the Civil Rights Movement and the women's movement and the author's numerous marriages. All in all, I thought the book did not hang together as well as it cld have. Felt to some degree like a series of essays.
One thing I liked about Accidental Sportswriter is that the author mentioned a number of his favorite books and thus I came away with a whole new reading list such as Lance Armstrong's autobiography.
May 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Lipsyte bites the hand that feeds him in this cranky memoir. Admittedly, most sportwriters are shills for the sporting establishment to some degree, but this author, in a belated attempt to avenge his alleged treatment by "jock" bullies in high school, tries to get even. It comes across as whiny.

In an attempt to live up to his "controversial" image, he savages most white middle-class athletes and lionizes black and gay sports figures, apparently solely based on color or sexual orientation. This
Chris Aylott
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Much like the Brad Paisley memoir I read earlier this year, Robert Lipsyte writes about his life by writing about other people, in this case the people he's written about. Done poorly, this could be a dull exercise in celebrity anecdotes, but Lipsyte traces how his relationships fit into or changed the way he approached his own life. I enjoyed both the stories and the insights.

(The last chapter about his father is especially touching, and it sounds like Sidney Lipsyte could have been a book all
Frank Taranto
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, sports
A fascinating look at a self proclaimed non-fan's look at his life as a sports journalist.
Lipsyte got a job as a NY Times copyboy in the sports department and turned it into a full time job as a sportswriter. As an outsider, his look at sports is different than sportswriters who are also fans (at least in his own mind).
The best parts of the book were about non-big time sports. The story of Chief Oren Lyon was fascinating. I also was taken by Gerard Papa and the Flames basketball story.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a sports fan, I appreciate how well this book toes the line between sports, history, and the journey of a writer. Lipsyte's thoughtful writings on the stories behind the athletic events tell a tale of the bigger issues beyond the athletes and owners themselves. And more than anything, the reader is rewarded with insights into the progression of the career of a writer throughout the transformational 60s, 70s and 80s. ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I was thrown off a little bit by the departure from his own history to chapters on other people that he had covered in his career. Consulting the back cover, however, I learn that Lipsyte has gone 'beyond the usual memoir'. It was all either interesting or entertaining. The pieces on steroid use were both. ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sport
This is a good book. The first half is excellent, honest and opinionated. The second half is less affecting and left me waiting, but still worth the time. Hard to dislike a sportswriter that's not a sports fan in this world of super sport ego's and incomprehensible idiots! Yes - Roger Clemens WAS an idiot. ...more
Matthew Young
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book approaches sports journalism from an interesting angle. Lipsyte is smart and obviously socially aware. He's also very clear about how it was his duty to bring that awareness out in his writing. I didn't know much about him before reading this book, but it was very informative and illustrated the big pull that today's journalists feel between informing and entertaining. ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful memoir by one of the foundational authors of YA literature. In addition to publishing THE CONTENDER in 1967, Lipsyte always was at the crossroads of most of the major sporting events in the last half of the 20th century.
Taryn Fink
Really interesting story about an incredible sportswriter. Some of it is a little jumbled, and kind of jumps all over the place, but the story and the wisdom within is truly wonderful. Lipsyte's stories make some of the greatest sports legends of all time more human. Superb. ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting memoir by this famous sportswriter. I enjoyed learning the path he took to that job. Also found interesting the connections he had with famous sports people such as Cosell and Ali. I especially enjoyed his stuff on Mantle. Overall a good read.
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
funny & concise, this memoir gives a little personal & NY Times history. fun to unknowing read a book by father of one of my favorite current authors.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: AHTC
I really enjoyed Mr. Lipsyte's take on the world of sports and our "jockocracy." I also like that we both share admiration for Billie Jean King. ...more
Charlie Zegers
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this. The sort of book that makes me want to become a better writer.
I was enjoying this but cannot finish it right now
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting look back from one of the few 1960s sportswriters that Hunter Thompson excepted from the pack of otherwise fascist drunks.
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Jan 02, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2016
rated it it was ok
Apr 16, 2015
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Jul 09, 2012
Michael Messner
rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2011
Jake k
rated it it was ok
Dec 04, 2013
J Olmsted
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Jul 07, 2014
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Mansfield Public ...: An Accidental Sportswriter Review by Ann Marie Orza 1 2 Aug 15, 2013 11:00AM  

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