Senior writer for “Sports Illustrated” George Dohrmann spoke at the University of Indianapolis on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. as part of the Kellogg Writer’s Series and UIndy’s annual University Series and Sutphin Lecture Series. Dohrmann is a 2000 Pulitzer Prize Winner for beat reporting and has been a journalist for nearly two decades.
Dohrmann published a book in 2010 called “Play Their Hearts Out.” His book has been named one of the best sports books of the year by the “Los Angeles Times,” among other accolades.
Dohrmann’s book is about a group of boys in youth basketball in southern California whom he followed from the ages of 9 to 18.
“I wanted to write about the failures [of players],” he said. “There were so many stories written about the successes about grassroots basketball.”
That is what Dohrmann’s book illustrates to the readers—how students under the pressure can break.
“I felt like they needed a voice, but it wouldn’t be enough, of course, to go back and recreate it, or what not,” he said. “I felt like you had to know them before. Then you had to see them after. You had to see the full arch of what happened to them.”
Dohrmann read a part near the end of his book, in Chapter 27. He explained how the prodigy kid Demetrius Walker was hitting rock bottom, by hiding in the bathroom from the pressure that he was under at a sports camp he was attending in the summertime.
He not only spoke in the evening, but throughout the day at a roundtable discussion sponsored by UIndy student chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists and on WICR, the UIndy student radio station 88.7 FM. Dohrmann invited students to ask question at the end of the lecture.
Dohrmann said he wanted to differentiate himself from other writers by following a team for 10 years instead of the normal one-year.
“Admittedly, I was full of myself at the time since I [had] just won a Pulitzer Prize,” he said. “Everyone follows a team for a year. Why not follow them for 10 years instead of the normal year most sports journalists usually do.”
The Kellogg Writer’s Series has concluded for the semester but will start up again in January.