Brett Christopherson reports for Post-Crescent Media, specializing in digital content and sports, and in 2013 he published what has to be a dream project for any sports enthusiast. Over and Back, Mickey Crowe: the Strange and Troubled Life of a Wisconsin High School Basketball Legend follows the rise and fall of Wisconsin high school basketball star Mickey Crowe.
Christopherson spoke with family and friends of Crowe and plowed through piles of old newspaper articles in an attempt to capture the most comprehensive report of Crowe’s story. He’ll share that process with folks at the Fox Cities Book Festival this April.
“I’ll be discussing the legend of Mickey Crowe, his continued relevance among Wisconsin sports icons despite him achieving his fame during a high school career that ended 40 years ago, his debilitating fall as he dealt with mental illness, depression, drugs and alcohol and how the book project served as a source of therapy,” says Christopherson.
What began as a feature story for his paper evolved into a full-fledged book-writing endeavor. “I’ve always been enamored with sports history and biographies and had heard about the Crowe legend while growing up in Wisconsin. I always wondered what had happened to him, so I reached out to a family friend and arranged a face-to-face interview in Mickey’s hometown of Eau Claire. We ended up having a great two-hour conversation, and I turned the meeting into a sports feature that ran in The Post-Crescent. But because I had so much unused material from that interview, I was convinced I could write a book about his life. So I approached him about my idea, he pledged support and we ended up having many more discussions throughout the years as I sought to tell the story of one of the more intriguing and iconic figures in Wisconsin sports history.”
Christopherson says that response to Over and Back, Mickey Crowe has been positive. “I’ve received a lot of emails and phone calls from folks telling me how much they enjoyed reading the book. It’s a tribute to Mickey, what he was able to accomplish and the impact he had that he’s still remembered so strongly 40 years after he graduated from high school. There might have been better players that have come through the state high school basketball circuit, but no player before or since has garnered so much hype, intensity and scrutiny."