- Life’s Rich Pageant: Meet a Florida Man. I told the story to this story already on Twitter the day they pulled the plug on Grantland, but what I didn't manage to choke out was my gratitude for the feedback this piece drew, in the form of I don't know how many members of this clan getting in touch in the days and weeks after publication to tell me how well I'd captured their home in words. Thanks, y'all. That meant everything. And thanks to the five friends who read that first draft without ever voicing a concern that I might be out of my fucking mind.
- Breaking the Waves. Along with Florida Man, a story I'd been wanting to write for years and just never had the resources to try before landing at Grantland. And even then, just about everything that could go wrong in the course of reporting this thing did. This was the last feature I had greenlit under Bill, and one of the first things that happened in his absence was a meeting in which I was asked whether I could write this story without going to Tulane at all. One of the original subjects disappeared on me mid-story. And so on. I thought it was over so many times. And whenever I thought I was toast, I had an editor or another, smarter writer (or both) backing me up.
- Grantland Exclusive: Roger Federer Makes Deviled Eggs. If you haven't heard the coda to this one yet, you can listen here to Brian Phillips explaining how the New York Times thinks it's too good for fanfic, and then listen to me read his sequel to this piece to hundreds of adoring strangers. We kick in around the 12:30 mark, but the whole recording's just a joy bomb. Thanks, B-Philly.
- Are the Golden Bears About to Break Through? We have our answer now, of course, but this one stands out to me as the only game feature I got to write this season without any interference from anybody in any way, and it shows. That it gave me one more visit with Sonny Dykes and Tony Franklin, whom I used to drive ten hours to Ruston, Louisiana to watch however many years ago, made it special from the jump. Thanks, guys.
- Blades of Glory. This ended up being the last feature ever published on Grantland, which is mildly mortifying, and wouldn't have gone up in recognizable form at all but for a series of heroic last-minute saves by Rafe Bartholomew and Mike Philbrick. Love y'all.
Somehow, independently of one another, Spencer and I both managed to book ourselves into this event without finding out until the last minute that the other one was going, me to write, him with a video crew for an Amateur episode. On the last day of the games, we were collapsed on this little platform outside the timing booth, the highest point in the arena, dusty and sunburnt and exhausted, and we're watching the finals, and at one point he looks over at me and goes, "This is your job." And I go, "This is your job." And we laughed for a minute straight. After everything that's happened, I'm maybe most comforted by knowing I never took any of it for granted, ever.