Thursday Ephemera: Don DeLillo in Sports Illustrated


Jacket Copy finds DeLillo’s “Total Loss Weekend,” an 1972 Sports Illustrated essay on a sports-gambling cousin, in the SI archives:

CJ is a gambler. He likes to bet on sporting events, almost any kind, and the dark crawling horror of Total Loss Weekend is never very distant. Misgivings and dread. Panic, remorse and deep trauma. A fumbled punt in Knoxville, a missed sign in Oakland, foul trouble in Baltimore, a slow track at Monticello. That is Total Loss Weekend, when it all comes apart at once, and the fragments of many such weekends are standard parts of CJ’s life.

This would’ve been one year after Americana, DeLillo’s fiction debut, and one year before End Zone, DeLillo’s funny football novel (which is being adapted for the screen right now with Kat Dennings and Josh Hartnett?) There’s also Amazons (1980), the pseudonymous and unacknowledged hockey book, all the baseball bits in Underworld, and, apparently, Game 6, a movie I never saw starring Michael Keaton and with a soundtrack from Yo La Tengo for which DeLillo wrote the screenplay. So presumably, this SI excerpt is a bit more real than that Onion election-blogging thing everyone fell for…

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