If you’re looking for your short, quick-hit 49ers fix, you’ve come to the wrong place. No, today I have something bigger and much deeper than what’s normally found in this space. I’m offering a meal instead of a snack. Earlier this year, my friend and colleague at The Bee, Jocelyn Wiener (go ahead, poke fun at her name; she’s heard ‘em all) wrote a series called Tackling Life. It follows the 12- and 13-year-old members of a youth football team in drug-riddled South Sacramento as they try to make it into adulthood. Many succeed, some fail tragically. One of the kids – he’s now an adult – is the younger brother of 49ers safety Keith Lewis.
A lot of times, you’ll read about an NFL player who came from a tough background. Jocelyn’s piece really illustrates what that background entails. It’s a series well worth reading and one that I predict will find its way into an anthology of the best sports writing of the year. In fact, today Jocelyn won McClatchy’s President’s Award as one of the best examples of journalism in 2007.
-- Matt Barrows