Lance Armstrong

One Question For Daniel Coyle by Anne Kreamer

Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Book of Talent, The Talent Code, Lance Armstrong’s War, and Hardball: A Season in Projects.  A contributing editor for Outside Magazine, he is a two-time National Magazine Award finalist.  Coyle lives in Cleveland, Ohio during the school year and in Homer, Alaska, during the summer with his wife Jen, and their four children.

Dan Coyle PC Scott Dickerson

Q: What’s the most significant risk you’ve taken professionally?

Daniel: It was 1991. I was 26 and working as an associate editor at Outside Magazine, which, in the kind of juxtaposition that happens in Chicago, happened to be located less than a mile from Cabrini-Green, one of the city’s poorest, most notorious housing projects. One day, one of my fellow editors told me about a youth baseball league that was starting in Cabrini. He and I started coaching with a few other guys our age, and quickly grew to love it -- particularly the remarkable, resilient kids we met. At the end of the first year, I realized that there might be a book to be written about our team: one that would tell the story of their lives over the course of a single season.

At that point, the longest piece of journalism I’d written was a one-page article on waterproof-breathable jackets. But naivete is a powerful fuel. I took an unpaid leave of absence from Outside and began spending my days at Cabrini. On the advice of a local social worker, I wore a worn-out sport jacket in order that local gang members would take me for a social worker instead of a police officer. I spent much of the summer in Cabrini-Green, rode with police, spent endless afternoons on the ballfield, and got to know that neighborhood better than I knew my own. Our team, which was average at best, somehow made it all the way to the league championship game. By summer’s end, I had the material for Hardball: A Season in the Projects.