Publish date:

50 Years, 50 Sports, 50 States


In the grand tradition of 50-50 sporting propositions, we're
commemorating our golden anniversary with a 50-week celebration
of sports in America. Each issue from now until July 5, 2004,
will include a section focusing on one of the 50 states: an essay
on its sports history and culture and a feature about a game or
event particular to that state--think rodeos, ski races and
mountain biking (with some meat-and-potato sports in the stew
too). We'll also be polling residents to get their take on their
state's top athletes, greatest moments and biggest sports
villains. The series kicks off with the very big sports state of
Rhode Island, which this week hosts a regatta, Tennis Hall of
Fame inductions and a grass-court tournament. "Finding an event
to cover in a different sport, in a different state, each week
for 50 weeks is like planning the ultimate sports vacation," says
assistant managing editor Craig Neff, a 24-year veteran of SI and
SI FOR KIDS, who plotted the itinerary. "But it's also like
solving Rubik's Cube."

Alexander Wolff

This week's story on sailing in the Ocean State (page 34) gave
senior writer Alexander Wolff his first real taste of sports in
and around Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. "I'd expected blazers
and ascots," says Wolff, who lives in Cornwall, Vt., "but in fact
the sporting life is pretty down-to-earth. I actually can't think
of a state that packs more contrasts into its allotted space.
Remember, this is where the X Games started. Of course, when I
stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Starkville, Miss., a few
months ago, they didn't serve an afternoon high tea--which they
did at my B&B on the Hill in Newport."

Peter Farrelly

Peter Farrelly, who contributed the essay on basketball at his
alma mater, Providence College (page 39), is a dyed-in-the-wool
Rhode Islander. He and younger brother Bobby are the
writer-director team behind such cheerfully disturbing comedies
as Kingpin, There's Something about Mary and Dumb and Dumber. The
hero of Peter's first novel, The Comedy Writer, is a screenwriter
from the Farrellys' hometown of Cumberland; his second novel,
Outside Providence, pays homage to his old college. Sports
suffuses the Farrellys' next feature film, Stuck on You, about
conjoined twins (played by Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear) who excel
at hockey, football and baseball. "The twins play tennis, but
only one makes the team," Farrelly says. "The other has to tag

B/W PHOTO: MEL LEVINE TOUCH OF GOLD Neff plotted the course for our 50th-anniversary tour.