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Varsity Letters

December 13 Varsity Letters: Norman Einstein's, Bryan Curtis, and Centaur Seasons

Varsity Letters, New York's sports reading series, returns on December 13 with a night devoted to various avenues for quality sportswriting. Graydon Gordian and John Saward, contributors to Norman Einstein's Normanthology, the best of the eclectic sports magazine Norman Einstein's Sports & Rocket Science Monthly, will be joined by Grantland staff writer Bryan Curtis and Steve McKee, who is currently "memory-blogging" the story of his college-basketball team, the Centaurs of Allentown College of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Varsity Letters

November 29 Varsity Letters: Michael Vick, Harvard Football, Lance Armstrong

Gelf's Varsity Letters, New York's sports reading series, returns from our Sandy-induced hiatus on November 29 with readings about Michael Vick's prison term, the disturbing motivational techniques of a Harvard football coach, and Lance Armstrong's rides and fall. Seth Wickersham, writer for ESPN The Magazine and twice previously a Varsity Letters speaker, will read from and talk about pieces on former Atlanta quarterback Vick and on current Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Writer Eric Kester will read from his memoir, That Book about Harvard: Surviving the World's Most Famous University, One Embarrassment at a Time, which includes his experience on the Harvard football team. And Varsity Letters alumnus Bill Strickland—the veteran cycling journalist and author of Ten Points—will discuss the recent doping revelations about Lance Armstrong, subject of Strickland's book, Tour de Lance: The Extraordinary Story of Cycling's Most Controversial Champion.

Varsity Letters

October 4 Varsity Letters: Baseball's Hall of Nearly Great

Gelf's Varsity Letters, New York's sports reading series, returns on October 4 with a night devoted to players who won't make it to Cooperstown unless they buy a bus ticket. And yet their Major League Baseball careers are, in their own way, more colorful and eventful than those of many Hall of Famers. They get their due in the new digital collection of essays, The Hall of Nearly Great. And they'll get their due at Varsity Letters, featuring editor Marc Normandin, who also wrote the essays on Ray Lankford and Bret Saberhagen. Also appearing: Previous Varsity Letters speakers Will Leitch and Emma Span, who wrote about Darrell Porter and Lenny Dykstra, respectively, and who both also contribute to the new sports website Sports on Earth. They'll be joined by occasional Gelf contributors David Roth, who is an editor of the Classical and wrote about Keith Hernandez; and Craig Fehrman, who contributes to Deadspin and wrote about Eric Davis.

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.

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