Longreads Guest Pick: Rustin Dodd on 'The Courage Of Jill Costello'

Rustin Dodd is a sports reporter at The Kansas City Star. For the most part, he spends his time covering Kansas basketball and football, but he has also covered the Kansas City Royals for the last five years. He’s covered two Final Fours, two Major-League All-Star Games and The Masters. He resides in Lawrence, Kan., home of the best local music scene in the Midwest.


Every year or so, I find myself going back and reading ‘The Courage of Jill Costello,’ a Sports Illustrated story by Chris Ballard from Nov. 29, 2010. It’s often said that the best sports stories are not about sports — and that’s true, of course. But this story is an example of simple, rich storytelling, elegant and beautiful. Jill Costello is a coxswain on the Cal rowing team, diagnosed with cancer before her senior season. (Ballard retraces her final year on campus, letting his deep reporting do the work.) And at its core, Costello’s story is about youth and heart and determination and time, and the question we all ask ourselves: What would we would do if we only had a little bit of life left?

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