Short Stories About Sports

On this page you can find a short story set in the world of sports. There won’t be play-by-play action in all of them. Sometimes the characters just talk about a sport.

You Could Look it Up | James Thurber

Squawks Magrew manages the league-leading pro baseball team. The team goes on a losing streak. Magrew brings in a midget to shake things up.

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Thicker Than Water | Paul Gallico

Tommy and Joey White were boxers. Tommy was a champion with the heart of a lion; Joey was technically excellent but had no heart – as soon as he got hit, he was done. When Tommy is killed in action in WWII, it falls to Joey to take care of the family. Tommy’s old trainer works with Joey, but he isn’t confident that Joey has what it takes.

The Higher Pragmatism | O. Henry

Jack is in love with Mildred, a woman above him socially and financially. He explains his situation to a vagrant. The vagrant, an ex-boxer, tells Jack the story of his career, which he believes serves as a parallel to Jack’s situation – he couldn’t stand up to the professionals.

Read “The Higher Pragmatism”

The Thrill of the Grass | W. P. Kinsella

A little while into the 1981 MLB strike, the narrator comes home from work, stops into the stadium parking lot, and sees some sort of a magical door on the side of the building. He loves being inside, but is upset by the artificial turf. He has an idea to change it.

Amigo Brothers | Piri Thomas

Two seventeen-year-old boys in a poor neighborhood train together as boxers. They are best friends, and successful fighters. They know that eventually they will have to fight each other to see who will be the Boys Club’s Golden Gloves representative.

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Independence Day | A. B. Guthrie, Jr.

On Independence Day in 1920, a boxing match is scheduled between Bill the Butch, a young German, and the Fairfax Soldier, an ex-military boxing champ. The crowd is solidly against Bill, but one spectator, Charlie, has mixed feelings.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner | Allan Sillitoe

A teenager is sentenced to a school for delinquents for robbing a bakery. He turns to long-distance running and excels. He’s offered a reduced workload for the remainder of his sentence if he wins a prestigious race for his school.

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No Win Phuong | Alden R. Carter

Ngo Huynh Phuong (pronounced “no win fong”) starts school in central Wisconsin. Bull and Jeff, members of the baseball team, want him to join the team, assuming he’s a great baseball player. He turns out to have a strong fastball but poor control. Phuong doesn’t want to play on the team.

The Slump | John Updike

A professional baseball player is in a hitting slump. He tries to figure out what his problem is. He considers physical and philosophical reasons, and tries to work through it.

Read “The Slump”

The Milk Pitcher | Howard Brubaker

Phil Fuller is a left-handed, red-haired boy who lives on a farm. He loves his cow, Dolly, and loves throwing things. As he grows up, he learns about dairy farming and gets into baseball.

A Moment in the Sun Field | William Brohaugh

Bobby, his friend, and his dad play 500—a baseball type game where you get points for catching and fielding the ball.

Read “A Moment in the Sun Field”

The Assault on the Record | Stephen Hoffius

A fifteen-year-old boy decides he wants to set a world record. He and a group of friends plan to run a one hundred-mile relay.

Raymond’s Run | Toni Cade Bambara

A young girl, Hazel, trains for a May Day race while looking after her older, mentally challenged brother, Raymond. Hazel is known as the fastest runner in her neighborhood and is determined to live up to her reputation.

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The Last Blow | Octavus Roy Cohen

Whitey manages and coaches The Kid to an impressive start in his boxing career. When he turns twenty, The Kid starts to think Whitey is holding him back; he decides to terminate their relationship.

Return to Kansas City | Irwin Shaw

While Eddie sleeps Arline cries near his bed and wakes him up. Eddie is a boxer. Arline feels ignored because he spends his time training and sleeping. They are in New York; she wants to visit her family and friends in Kansas City.

Read “Return to Kansas City” (Scroll down slightly)