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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.

Ivan Maisel
Photo by Danielle L. Goldstein
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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.