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College football writer Ivan Maisel sees the world in a new way after the loss of his son

For a lot of sports fans in the South, these are the holy days—it’s college football season.

Photo by Danielle L. Goldstein

Our guest, Ivan Maisel, has covered college football for nearly 40 years. He’s written for Sports Illustrated and ESPN, among others, and now writes for a college sports website called On3.com. I talked to Ivan as he was getting ready to cover the Clemson-Wake Forest game in Winston-Salem. (Spoiler alert: Clemson won in double overtime.)

But that’s not the only reason I wanted to talk to Ivan. Back in 2015, his only son, Max, ended his own life by walking off a pier onto the frozen surface of Lake Ontario. They’ll never know exactly what happened or why.

Ivan wrote a book about it called “I Keep Trying To Catch His Eye: A Memoir of Loss, Grief, and Love.” It’s as candid a book as I’ve ever read about processing loss and finding the love inside it.

So the first half of this podcast is about college football; the second half about more important matters. We all contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman said. Ivan Maisel knows all about that.

Show notes

Other music in this episode

  • Siddartha Corsus, "The Secret Pass"
  • Podington Bear, "Miss You"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.