Friedman doesn't use those words lightly, either; he knows something about the end of the world. He was an 8-year-old in Brooklyn, playing stick-ball in the streets and worshiping the Dodgers, when life as he knew it came to an abrupt halt. In 1957 his idols traded the trust of little boys for the lust of L.A. "I realized I'd never be happy again unless they moved the Dodgers back to Brooklyn and rebuilt Ebbets Field brick by brick," says Friedman, now 37. "Yet I persevere."
Thanks to that perseverance PEOPLE readers have been treated to dozens of lively, often humorous sports stories over the past three years. Among the more memorable were Friedman's account of Tom Seaver going for his 300th win and Heisman winner Bo Jackson's debut in the minors with the Memphis Chicks. This week's story on "the Boz" is another winner. "What I hope to get across in the story is what a truly great football player he is," Friedman says. "He's an enormous physical talent. The game turns him into a gladiator. He comes to beat the daylights out of you, but that's what football is about." Friedman liked it that Bosworth both understands the game and has fun with it. "Although the Boz comes off like a Neanderthal," he notes, "he has a very sharp mind."
Friedman, the son of a wine salesman and a housewife, started writing because "it was the only thing I could do in life." After majoring in philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he wrote for the Village Voice, New York and New Times magazines before joining PEOPLE. And though it doesn't look as if the Dodgers will be returning to Brooklyn any time soon, Friedman is slowly coming out of his nearly 30-year funk, thanks to his new wife, Laura Sanno, a professional weaver, who's pregnant with their first child. When they were courting a year ago, Laura gave him a Brooklyn Dodgers jacket. It was then, says Friedman, "that I realized she was the one. Anyone who allows me to wear my heart on my chest I had to marry."
Senior Writer Jack Friedman is a low-keyed kind of guy, not given to gross exaggeration. So to hear him describe Oklahoma Sooner linebacker Brian Bosworth (p. 171) as if he were an agent of Armageddon, you know Bosworth must be something special. Says Friedman: "He's like one of the avenging creatures in the Book of Revelations."