A Few Words

JWprofile2A lot of things in this big world appeal to me — music and travel, consciousness and creativity in its wildest forms — but the thing I’ve been around the most over the years is sports. After more than 20 years in an enormously fun job as an editor for The Boston Globe sports pages, I left the paper and left sports entirely in order to help launch an innovative magazine for parents who like to read. I’ve since moved on from that wild Wondertime venture — and right back into sports (while also expanding into the arts and other areas as a regular contributor to the Globe).

The sport I mainly write about today is mixed martial arts. From late 2010 until the summer of 2016, I served as MMA columnist for Sports Illustrated. In 2016 I also began contributing MMA writing to The Washington Post, which I continued until 2018. I left that gig when I took a position as part of the ESPN combat sports team, which covers MMA and boxing. I do a mix of editing and writing. I write the big-picture column on fight night.

Writing about MMA is invigorating, more so than other sportswriting jobs, because it puts me in a front-row seat to witness a young sport and its leading promotion, the UFC, growing into the mainstream. And because it’s still a niche sport, opportunities arise. As an outgrowth of my MMA writing, I got to spend five years as a regular panelist on a weekly online TV show, The MMA Beat, and have made numerous appearances on ESPN Radio, SiriusXM and stations around the country as well as in TV features and even a documentary about the UFC’s first 20 years.

During my time away from sports, I was a founding editor of a really cool magazine called Wondertime, where for several years I wrote essays and feature stories on topics such as how to raise a crazed little sports fan. (OK, so I never really left sports.) I was a new dad when I took the job, and it was fun to intertwine my home life and work day. Shortly before the magazine bit the dust in early 2009 because of the sagging economy, I won a national award for a (sort of) first-person account of the birth of my son. (I used to have a hyperlink here so you could read the story, but after deep-sixing Wondertime, Disney Publishing wiped the Internet clean of any DNA evidence that the mag ever existed. Boo!)

I live in the cultural oasis of western Massachusetts with my wife, the amazing musician Sarah Swersey, and our fabulous teens, videographer/creator Aaron and baker/designer Rebecca. When I’m not writing or editing for ESPN or typing something up for one of my occasional freelance assignments, I can be found hunting-and-pecking an essay or short story or something else for fun. Some of these have ended up as Friday morning news commentaries on New England Public Radio, WFCR (88.5 FM in Amherst, Mass.). I used to also be on the radio on weekends, spending several fun years as host of a long-running, locally legendary American roots music program, Country, Blues & Bluegrass. I yearn for those days. Radio, radio is a sound salvation.