Grantland Rice

The best-loved sportswriter ever could capture the drama of an event with a lead paragraph that perfectly set the stage for the story which followed. In his most famous lead, he gave immortality to a quartet of merely above-average football players by dubbing them the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, a comparison to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Rice often used self-penned poetry in his columns, a famous example being “Game Called,” on the date of Babe Ruth‘s death (“Game called by darkness – let the curtain fall,/ No more remembered thunder sweeps the field.”). The well-known saying “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” is derived from his poem “Alumnus Football.”

Rice’s long, eventful career was described in the autobiography he finished shortly before his death, The Tumult and the Shouting. A well-rounded, polished writer, Grantland Rice is the benchmark those who would write sports are measured against.