The Giant in the Wheelchair

This week my first story comes out in ESPN The Magazine. I’ve been contributing fun little front-of-book features for the mag for awhile now, but this is my first “real” story. They put me on a plane and sent me to Chicago for a week and everything. It was awesome. 

The characters were those we writers dream of getting to write about. A giant in a wheelchair with scars from eight bullets all over his body. His stomach was flabby and fat and disfigured from neglect and from the post-shooting surgery. All he can do is lie in his bed or sit in his chair and watch TV or work on his computer. Or he can go to rehab, which puts him through hell every morning. 

But he gets to go through that rehab, gets his chance at walking again, because of another giant, one he knew 30 years before he got shot up, one with whom he reunited only by the smallest of chances. And this friend just happened to have gone from promising basketball player to world-class orthopedic surgeon with a heart for the helpless. 

Unreal.

Meeting them changed my life. I know people say that a lot and it usually falls flat because c’mon, changed your life? I’m a writer; I don’t use cliches. But it’s the truth. 

So I’ll be blogging about all that here in the next week or two. 

Thanks for stopping by. The magazine comes out on Friday. It’s ESPN’s annual Body Issue, so there’s lots of naked people. It’s always wonderfully, artistically done. I’m sure that some of the higher-ups’ motivation is to jack up sales with the whole nakedness thing, but the people I’ve been working with really are all about the art behind it. I can’t tell you how many times we talked about the “exploration and celebration of the athletic form.”

I’m just a nobody freelance contractor as close to the outside of the bubble as you can be. But even I could tell: They mean it over there. They’re good people over there busting their asses to do good work, so go give their work a look. It’ll be worth it.