Best Sports Writer (2008)
Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The best sports writing in any anthology is inevitably about the losers. Nothing beats the passion and drama of an athlete or team working ceaselessly toward a dream and falling just short. So South Florida, with our cornucopia of incompetent contenders in virtually every major sport, should be a sportswriter's paradise. The tragedy, the poetry, the cruel irony. And nobody frames the pathetic ineptitude of this once-great region with more heart and optimism (even the strongest optimism runs into realism eventually these days) than Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde. Hyde's writing also has a passionate curiosity. It might have been this curiosity which brought about one of his best pieces, "Jake Scott: Where's Jake Scott? We Found Him." For the story, Hyde went to Hawaii and tracked down the former Super Bowl MVP Dolphin who is a notorious recluse, living, as Hyde puts it, "In the last state. On the last island. Down the last road. At the last speck of a no-stoplight town before the United States drops into the Pacific Ocean." Actually, Hyde should get an award just for figuring out an excuse to fly to Hawaii on the Sun-Sentinel's dime.