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Varsity Letters

September 6 Varsity Letters: Football Night NEW VENUE

Gelf goes to the gridiron when Varsity Letters, New York's sports reading series, returns on September 6, to Pacific Standard in Brooklyn, with a night devoted to all things football. Kevin Cook, author of The Last Headbangers: NFL Football in the Rowdy, Reckless '70s—The Era that Created Modern Sports; Peter Schrager, who co-wrote New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz's autobiography Out of the Blue; and Joe Drape, a Varsity Letters alum and author of Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point; will read from and discuss their work.

Varsity Letters

August 2 Varsity Letters: Boxing & Soccer

Gelf's Varsity Letters, New York's sports reading series, returns on August 2 with a night devoted to two sports that will be in the limelight at the London Olympics: boxing and soccer. Former Washington Post sportswriter William Gildea, who has covered about 50 major fights, tells the story of boxing's first African-American champion. Theresa Runstedtler, a former professional dancer and actress who is now a scholar of American studies, has the tale of the sport's first African-American heavyweight champ, who once was the most famous black man on the planet. And GQ's Mark Kirby will discuss his plans to help launch a US soccer magazine featuring some of the sport's most notable writers.

Varsity Letters

July 5 Varsity Letters: 2012 Olympics in New York

So New York didn't win the 2012 Olympics. But it beat out London for the rights to host Gelf's Olympics-themed Varsity Letters event, where three writers of recent books on great moments in Olympic history will read from and talk about their work. Kate Buford is the author of Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe. David Davis is the author of Showdown at Shepherd's Bush: The 1908 Olympic Marathon and the Three Runners Who Launched a Sporting Craze. And Jack McCallum, who appeared at Varsity Letters once before, is the author of the forthcoming Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever.

Varsity Letters

June 21 Varsity Letters: Damn Yankees -- NEW VENUE

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, June 21, at 7:30 pm, at The Pacific Standard in Brooklyn, with a look at the most respected and detested organization in sports. Rob Fleder will be discussing the book Damn Yankees: Twenty-Four Major League Writers on the World's Most Loved (and Hated) Team, which he edited, along with Alex Belth of the blog Bronx Banter, and other writers who have something to say about the men in pinstripes.

Varsity Letters

May 3: Varsity Letters Featuring Show Dogs, Youth Athletics, and Loving Sports

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m., at The Gallery at LPR with a look at every corner of the sports world. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, Josh Dean, Mark Hyman, and Matt Wasowski will read from and talk about their work. Dean provides a behind-the-scenes look at competitive dog shows. Hyman explores the problematically expensive side of youth sports. And Wasowski explains why it's OK for everyone, even intellectuals and artists, to like sports.

Varsity Letters

April 5: Varsity Letters Welcomes Back Baseball

Enjoy opening day, then come to Varsity Letters baseball night on Thursday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m., at The Gallery at LPR. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, four writers of recent baseball books will read from and talk about their work. New York Times columnist Dan Barry will revisit the sport's longest game, a 33-inning saga. Steven Goldman and Jay Jaffe are on the cutting edge of baseball stats, as editor and co-author, respectively, of Baseball Prospectus's new book on the crucial numbers behind the national pastime. And Glenn Stout flashes back a century, to Fenway Park's remarkable first year.

Varsity Letters

March 1: Varsity Letters March Madness

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m., at The Gallery at LPR, with a night devoted to college basketball and coaching. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter Ira Berkow and literary agent Andrew Blauner will read selections from and discuss the collection Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference. Also, Scott Pitoniak, author of Color Him Orange: The Jim Boeheim Story; and ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski, author of The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball, will read from and talk about their work.

Varsity Letters

February 2: Varsity Letters With Dave McKenna, Dan Steinberg

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m., at The Gallery at LPR, as two of the nation's capital's eminent sportswriters take Manhattan. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, Dave McKenna and Dan Steinberg will read from and talk about their work. McKenna was, for 26 years, the sports columnist for the Washington City Paper, a stint that ended in December after an eventful final year. And Steinberg writes the DC Sports Bog, a chronicle of the eccentric and enthralling in local sports, for the Washington Post.

Varsity Letters

January 5: Varsity Letters

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns on Thursday, January 5, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., at The Gallery at LPR in Manhattan. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, Mark Ribowsky, George Vecsey, and Dave Zirin will read from and talk about their work. Ribowsky is the biographer of the legendary broadcaster and provocateur, Howard Cosell. Vecsey, who recently ended his 30-year stint as a New York Times sports columnist, is the biographer of St. Louis Cardinals hero Stan Musial. And Zirin is the co-author, with John Carlos, of a biography of the track-and-field Olympian who sparked controversy with his defiant Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Games.

Varsity Letters

December 1: All-NBA Varsity Letters

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns with an all-NBA night on Thursday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m., at Manhattan's Le Poisson Rouge. With the lockout ongoing, this will be the only pro hoops in town. At this free monthly event, hosted by Gelf, Henry Abbott, Harvey Araton, and Scott Raab will read from and talk about their work. Abbott has been chronicling the lockout tirelessly for ESPN. Araton has revisited the glory days of the Knicks, when Walt Frazier and Willis Reed won titles. And Raab has written a screed against LeBron James, who left his and Raab's native Ohio for sunny Miami.

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