Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cooking the Books: Jack Falla dead at 62

The second edition of Cooking the Books is in the hoppers. Meantime, it has to be noted that there's an eerie quality to the news that Jack Falla died over the weekend, right in the wake of his essay collection Open Ice: Reflections and Confession of a Hockey Lifer.
It's certainly not the first time someone has left us right after completing a major work. Warren Zevon just hung enough to see The Wind released; everyone knows how Charles Schulz died the day after the last Peanuts strip ran.

It just so happens that yours truly has a copy of Open Ice, so it will be in the next set of book reviews. It sounds as if Jack Falla's life and work, to use the epigram he quoted in his opening chapter, offered a number of "lenses through which we read our own minds."
"The word passion is so overused now, but there was no question about his love of being out on skates and playing it, watching it, reporting it, writing it (and) teaching how to write it." — Kevin Dupont, Boston Globe
There's also on Ottawa connection to the Falla story — in the preface, he talked hopefully of being able to skate on the Rideau Canal in his 80s in the manner of Aurele Joliat, the great MontrĂ©al Canadiens forward of the 1920s and '30s. It also captured the spirit of thing about what it means to hold a game sacred.
"Writing Open Ice helped me see what I've long felt: that the game is important to me for reasons that transcend standings, statistics in score. I remember a day years ago when I had finished giving a guest lecture in a friend's summer term class at Boston University. As we talked briefly in the corridor after my presentation, I told my professor friend that I was headed to Buffalo to attend the NHL Entry Draft. 'Why do you go to the draft? They don't play hockey there,' he said.

" 'I go to see my friends,' I said, explaing that the NHL is like a tribal gathering. I'd walked a few steps down the corridor and my friend was just closing the door to his classroom when I called back, 'Hockey is the only tribe I belong to.' "
Veteran sports reporter Jack Falla is dead at 62 (Vivian Ho, BU Daily Free Press)

A couple of other titles have been tossed in the hopper:
  • Declan Hill's The Fix could be milked for several posts. It's a tough slog, 350-plus pages, but I'll try to get through it soon.
  • Jeff Pearlman's Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty is being published today. Kissing Suzy Kolber has bullet-pointed the most scandalous bits. It's go
  • The Times has a profile of the Gary Smith, who's got a new collection of Sports Illustrated pieces in stores.
  • Hockey Book Reviews notes that Wayne Scanlan's excellent 2004 bio of Roger Neilson, Roger's World, is now retailing for $4.99 at Chapters. (Man, it must suck to have something you created be selling for five bucks. It's a good book.)

1 comment:

krister said...

From a previous story;
"Today's 41-7 smashing of the Laurier Golden Hawks by the Queen's (formerly Golden) Gaels felt oddly wrong."
You forgot to add (formerly Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks) just saying.