New York Times reporter John Branch's riveting, humane features on ordinary people doing extraordinary things at the edges of the sporting world have won nearly every major journalism prize. Sidecountry gathers the best of Branch's work for the first time, including classic pieces like "Snow Fall," about skiers caught in an avalanche in Washington State, and "Dawn Wall," about rock climbers trying to scale Yosemite's famed El Capitan.
In other articles, Branch introduces people whose dedication and decency transcend their sporting lives, including a revered football coach rebuilding his tornado-devastated town in Iowa and a girls' basketball team in Tennessee who play on, despite never winning a game. The book culminates with his moving personal pieces, including "The Girl in the No. 8 Jersey," about a mother killed in the Las Vegas shooting whose daughter happens to play on Branch's daughter's soccer team.