The Brotherhood of Selmon

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, September 1980 Their people were farmers who had come to eastern Oklahoma from Texas, and they grew up in the black dirt and still skies there and hired out as field hands after their own work was done. And it was not in them to resent...

No Tresspassing

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, September 1981 “The old lion is still a bad mother,” he said. “He just wants to roam. Leave him alone. He’s fading, but he’s still a lion.” St. Simons Island lies four miles off the coast of southern Georgia, connected to the mainland by...

Manchild in the Promised Land

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, April 1980 Early February. Frank Dawkins is sitting in a second-floor office made of cement and insulated against the noise downstairs in the plant. Exactly what is manufactured in the plant is hard to say, but it has something to do with...

If This Is Wednesday, It Must Be Toozday

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, October 1981 At three in the morning, coming east across the Bay Bridge in a limousine the size of a cattle truck, a quiet falls over the back seat. It is the last day before John Matuszak goes to Santa Rosa for training camp. More to the...

The Apprenticeship of Randall Cobb

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, May 1981 The face suggests more than 21 fights, but that’s how many there have been. Counting the two as an amateur. There is a scar over the left eye, a missing tooth. The nose is flat and soft, without cartilage. Apart from that, it’s a...

The Impression

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, December 1980 When I heard Ali had agreed to fight Holmes, the first thought I had was that Ali would be killed. The punch was five years gone, his hand speed had been mediocre over his last half dozen fights, and he’d been getting hit by...

The Old Man and the River

By Pete Dexter Esquire, June 1981 Early morning, Seeley Lake, Montana. The sun has touched the lake, but the air is dead-still and cooler than the water, and the fog comes off the surface in curtains, hiding some of the Swan Range three miles to the east. And in doing...

The Good, The Bad and The Marvelous

By Pete Dexter Esquire, May 1985 All right, let’s start with the head. Say check-out time is 1:00 and everybody who reads this magazine is stuck in a room at a Holiday Inn somewhere in Louisiana because nobody can figure out how to unlock the security chain, and...

Don Shula, In Perspective

By Pete Dexter Esquire, September 1983 The old man was hurt at Pearl Harbor and moved to Florida to mend after they processed him out of the service. He’s been there, and in his wheelchair, ever since. Forty-two years. He lives in Miramar now, just across the line in...

A Clean, Well-lighted Gym

By Pete Dexter Esquire, March 1984 The first day the fighter came into the gym he went two rounds with a weight lifter from New Jersey who was just learning to keep his hands up—and he tried to hurt him. I didn’t know if it was something between them or if the fighter...