When news broke last month that a Seattle Sounders fan was killed by a truck outside Lincoln City, Oregon, while dribbling a soccer ball on the shoulder of Highway 101—on the first and only leg of a journey to the World Cup in Brazil—it inspired double takes and some unfortunate jokes.
It also led to a phenomenal piece on Grantland this week.
In "Dribbling Man," sports reporter Robert Andrew Powell retraces the steps of Richard Swanson, the 42-year-old Seattle man whose quest to kick a soccer ball to South America grew out of unemployment and frustration.
Here's a sample.
His final video, taken in Lincoln City, is the most upbeat of all. "I finally made it to the ocean here!" he shouted, beaming. "I am in Lincoln City near the beach. I'm walking now to the waves. My feet are feeling amazing, having my shoes off and just walking through the water and kicking the ball." His smile grew even wider as he panned to Pacific waters lapping onto packed sand. "Very exciting moment today! I'm going to be on the ocean for thousands of miles, so this is my first taste of it, and I'm very excited about this. Finally!" He giggled — that's the right word — as cold surf lapped his ankles. "All right. I just wanted to say good morning. And I am very happy to be here. And hopefully today will be a wonderful day as I walk down the beach and [U.S. Route] 101 and enjoy everything that the ocean has to offer! All right, I will talk to you all later. Cheers, everyone!" Not 20 minutes later, Swanson would be dead.
Read the entire piece here.