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JUST BREW IT: Yes, I read it, and look at the pictures

Wednesday, Mar. 26 | By Peter Brewington
My wife hates the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Every year she says the same thing when it arrives.

"How can they call that a swimsuit issue when they're not wearing swimsuits?" she said recently.

She makes a face and scowls, and sometimes the magazine disappears.

I see her point. Those girls on this year's cover are half naked, posing topless with their backs to the camera.

How can there be enough fabric in those outfits to qualify as swimsuits? And would non-supermodel women really wear those suits?

While I never want to upset my wife, I don't mind the SI swimsuit issue. I glance at it a while, then move on. When I was younger I used to save them. Christie Brinkley, Elle MacPherson, Kathy Ireland and Pavlina Porzkova used to grace the cover, looking so good, it seemed a shame to throw it away.

I grew up a dedicated reader of Sports Illustrated. It helped mold my path as a sportswriter. SI was a simply a work of fine art that represented the merging of elite photography and statement sportswriting.

Legendary SI writers like Frank Deford, Curry Kirkpatrick, Gary Smith, Alexander Wolff, Jack McCallum, Clive Gammon, Rick Reilly were like rock stars to me. They wrote with flair and talent that made them as much a part of their stories as their subjects due to the level of sophistication and artistry in the writing.

Growing up in Chevy Chase, Md., I dreamed of working for either the Washington Post or Sports Illustrated.
SI was the high altar of sports journalism. And if I could not get a staff job there, perhaps I could get just one story published as a free-lance submission.

I tried in the 1990s, submitting an anecdote about one night at my job as a late night sports guy at USA TODAY.

I wrote a true story about how “God” scored the winning goal for the Edmonton Oilers in an NHL hockey game. What happened was that one of my USA TODAY late night colleagues — irresponsibly, playfully, stupidly, and in a career-threatening decision — chose not to type in Wayne Gretzky as the goal scorer in the “Game-Winning Goal” category in the NHL standings.

Gretzky was scoring so many goals then that it was shocking.Well, after Gretzky had a typically monster night yet again anbd scored the winning goal, my colleague knowingly typed “God” in the category as the player with the winning goal and it got printed in USA TODAY.

My submitted vignette tell-all tale didn’t make SI. No problem. I concluded long ago I was not good enough.

As for SI’s photography. it simply does not get any better. How often have I paused to gaze at SI photos — not just the swimsuit issue — for long moments studying the detail and quality.

Recently I wondered if SI was on its death bed since the magazine is so thin, almost emaciated.But, after re-subscribing several swimsuit issues ago, I’m enjoying it immensely. The articles are still expertly written and, unlike ESPN the Magazine (which I find bulky and pretentious), I can get through SI in an hour or so, depending on whether I read every story, which I often do.

I've rediscovered Sports Illustrated, and enjoy moving briskly through it, feeling satisfied when I'm done.

Which brings me back to the 2014 SI swimsuit issue. I've not read it yet, or enjoyed the photography.

We had some people over the other day, and I think my wife wanted it out of sight since it looks so scandalous.


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