Since February, when we changed the format of our for the record section—from a roundup of the week's sporting news to a much more select compilation of items on sports personalities—the section has been the province of reporter Michael Jaffe. Each week, after working the phones and sifting through scores of newspapers, correspondents' files and wire service stories, Jaffe writes the one-paragraph nuggets that inform our readers about subjects ranging from the setting of a world record in track to the release of tennis player turned pop musician Yannick Noah's first album.
Before taking on his current assignment, Jaffe, 28, wrote stories about a similarly broad range of sports, from baseball to crew to arena football. He also was our college basketball reporter for a year. For the record, Jaffe has also been...
In a lifelong slump as a fan, having rooted for baseball, football and basketball teams from his hometown of Cleveland. After watching Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway engineer the Drive to knock his beloved Browns out of the 1986 playoffs, Jaffe sobbed in the shower. "Most of my strongest memories growing up are of losing," says Jaffe, who nonetheless keeps an Indians cap atop his word processor for inspiration.
For 13 years, at Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio, and then at Wisconsin, where he majored in English and rowed for the Badgers, who won the 1986 national championship. "I was in a boat we called Third World" says Jaffe, "because that was usually how far we'd finish behind the first two in practice." Jaffe went on to earn a master's degree in creative writing at Columbia, where his thesis was a collection of short stories.
Mainly by four novelists: Salinger, Faulkner and the Fords—Ford Madox and Richard. Jaffe traces the beginnings of his writing career to a 1981 SI cover story by Frank Deford on Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight. On the reams of paper left lying around the house by his mother, artist Paula Rubinstein, Jaffe penned his own story about a fictional coach, complete with illustrations. Not coincidentally, a character in a novel Jaffe is writing is a hard nosed basketball coach from the Midwest.
As a fashion plate. "He's light-years ahead of the rest of us when it comes to clothes," says staff writer Merrell Noden. Jaffe longs to live in Montana one day, and his wardrobe reflects a mix of high fashion and high plains. "It's sort of Giorgio Armani meets Lonesome Dove" says Jaffe.
To helping FOR THE RECORD establish a new voice. Says Jaffe, "What we're trying to do is take the most-read part of the old RECORD—the Mileposts—and expand on them. The aim is to find subjects that haven't been written about much or, if they have been, to put a new spin on them." For instance, when Mitch Voges won the U.S. Amateur golf title in August, Jaffe noted that Voges's average of 1.6 putts per green hardly squared with his vanity license plate: LIP OUT.
Jaffe has given "For The Record" a new voice.