How did I wind up with a book from the collection of ESPN's Rick Reilly? It was definitely an act of generosity on his part, but not because he directly targeted me for his largesse despite my coverage of him tongue-bathing the State Capitol dome in 2009 after incorrectly predicting that the Colorado Rockies would miss the playoffs. In fact, his donation was kind of a gift to the entire community.
To explain: I'm something of a connoisseur of area Goodwill stores, and over time, I discovered that the 5000 Leetsdale branch consistently has the most interesting book selections of any affiliate store in the area, with unusual or obscure titles frequently mixed in with the de rigueur John Grishams and Danielle Steeles.
During a visit there a couple of months back, I stumbled upon Packers Vs. Bears, an out-of-print offering from author Glenn Swain. I was raised a fan of the Packers, as well as the Broncos, with one of the most frequent parental refrains of my youth being, "Bart Star eats his vegetables." ("Send them to him, then," I'd answer.) So I bought it, and yesterday, a week after said Packers beat said Bears -- and cry-baby Jay Cutler -- to earn a Super Bowl berth, I plucked it from my bookshelf as a way to prep from the big game. But when I opened it, I found the following page folded inside:
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As you can see, it's a 1997 letter from the Packers Vs. Bears publisher to Reilly, then a writer for Sports Illustrated, cajoling him into giving some PR to the book. Instead, presumably, Reilly put the book into a stack of other stuff he'd been sent over the years and didn't get around to doing anything with it for over thirteen years. At that point, he donated it to the Leetsdale Goodwill, where I stumbled upon it.
Thanks, pal! And for the rest of you Reilly fans out there, hurry to Goodwill. You may still be in time to find other books Rick didn't read.
More from our Sports archive: "Rick Reilly's book tour brings swings through Denver, and the McGenius jokes fly."