Stories I wrote in 2015 that I don’t completely loathe

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.49.54 PM2015: Traveled a lot, wrote a bunch. Here’s some of my favorite work from the year, one more time:

NASCAR’s Thorny Throwback Problem: The Confederate Flag: Went to Darlington, the white-hot center of Southernness in NASCAR, for a look at how the locals have responded to NASCAR distancing itself from the Confederate flag. The answer: not well. Not well at all.

Tom Watson Beats Darkness, Bids Farewell To The British Open: The legendary Tom Watson played his final holes at the British Open in Scotland this summer, and I was fortunate enough to walk them in with him and write it up.

23 Ways Of Looking At LeBron James: I followed LeBron for every minute before, during and after one game of the NBA Playoffs, trying to figure what it is that makes him so good. Spoiler: many, many things do.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.50.36 PMTiger Woods Is Far More Interesting As A Person Than As A Golfer: I’ve probably written more about Tiger than any athlete this side of an Earnhardt, so for this particular thinkpiece I used his revelatory November interview as a way to contend that he’s far more compelling as a flawed human trying to fight for greatness than as a god looking down on us mortals.

The Lady Who’s Been To Every Daytona 500: Meet Lightnin’ Epton, the charming-as-all-hell 94-year-old who was present when Daytona International Speedway was built back in the ’50s, and works there to this day.

How (Not) To Get Kicked Out Of The Masters (Video): Drafted the kids to help me with this short film on how to make sure that once you get into Augusta, you stay there.

Kyle Busch’s Victory Unites Families, Caps A Year Of Pain And Triumph: At the NASCAR finale in Homestead, Florida, I spent the last laps of the race in the pit box of eventual champion Kyle Busch. It was a bit of a gamble; Busch could easily have lost the race and the championship. But he didn’t, and I witnessed some amazing moments among his family and friends.

Six Ways Of Looking At Augusta’s Sunday Back Nine: They say the Masters doesn’t begin until Sunday afternoon in Augusta, so that’s where I went: the final holes, to watch from up close how Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy handled the pressure. (Side note: I need to expand my headline-writing range.)

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.51.29 PMAlabama Outlasts Auburn In Strange, Kick-Heavy Iron Bowl: This was my first time covering the Iron Bowl, so I went all-in on the atmosphere, hitting Toomer’s Corner and plunging into the tailgate lunacy before the game, and the Bama worship afterward. Not much of a game, hell of an experience.

Matt Kenseth’s Revenge Play Leaves Everyone Looking Terrible: A meditation on the idea of revenge, borne from Kenseth’s wreck of Joey Logano that cost them both a shot at the NASCAR championship.

Rabbits, St. Andrews, And The World’s Most Valuable Tee Time: From Scotland, the strange little tale of how a horde of rabbits resulted in a family getting the most valuable tee times in golf history. (For the rest of my British Open writeups, all 17,000 words’ worth, click here.)

The Wild, Weird Stories of Lake Lloyd at Daytona: The story of the lake at the center of Daytona International Speedway’s infield. Curious tales include the driver who used to race with scuba gear in his car, just in case his car went into the lake.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 6.51.59 PMCompton ‘Country Club’: The Birthplace Of Serena Williams’ Rise To Stardom: A video/text piece here on the court where Serena Williams learned the game, with her first coach as our tour guide.

Born Of Tragedy, Homestead Has Helped A City Return: The fascinating story of Homestead-Miami Speedway, built in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.

Grandstanding: Man, I absolutely loved creating this video-and-podcast series with my man Kevin Kaduk. We interviewed Jordan Spieth, Gary Player, Kyle Busch, Matt Leinart, pretty much every single Yahoo Sports writer out there … but the best times were always when he and I just started babbling back and forth at each other. If you’re not already subscribed to the podcast, follow that link there and get on it. We’ll love you for it.

Thanks for reading. I do appreciate it more than you know. See you next year … or, really, probably later on today.

Jay

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