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Shea Serrano Coming to OKC

Bestselling author to talk writing (and other things)



 



There is an army of humans – the FOH Army, to be precise – who will not be happy if this next part is wrong, but: Shea Serrano is a sports writer for really smart nerds who happen to love sports. He’s much more than that, but he’s at least that. His fan base is bigger than that, but it’s that nerdy core that animates the movement. It is entirely likely that none of them will be offended by the nerd designation, which speaks volumes about the kinds of humans who read his work.
 

Serrano, a San Antonio native, is one of the best follows on Twitter right now, and that’s in large part due to his ability to shape 140-character tweets (“i’ll cut my fingers off before i send a 280 character tweet” – tweet from 10/30/17) into comic brilliance, combined with deep thought, reading and reflection on why sports matter. No, his skillset is not limited to Twitter; he’s a master of the essay, too, and that gift is regularly on display at The Ringer – the sports and pop culture website that is the brainchild of Bill Simmons – as well as in his books: 2015’s The Rap Year Book and 2017’s Basketball (and Other Things).

A former middle school math teacher, Serrano got started writing because his wife, a former special needs math teacher, was pregnant with twins, and he needed the income to support his family. The details of his writing career are well documented, but it’s worth noting that he said openly that some nights you have to stay up all night to balance family, work and a budding career as a writer.

On March 17, Serrano will be at the Downtown Oklahoma City Public Library for a presentation about writing and freelancing, followed by a book signing. Judith Matthews, the adult engagement supervisor at the downtown library, reached out to Serrano, and he accepted. He agreed to speak with 405 Magazine ahead of that visit – we spoke by phone, and he actually refused to consider seeing the questions in advance.

Is this part of a nationwide tour you are doing?

“No. Not a tour at all. I really like libraries. She hit me up and said she was from the Oklahoma City library, and asked if I wanted to come give a talk. I said, ‘All right, I’ve never done that before, so let’s do it and see what happens.’”

Have you talked to writers before about the process in a formal setting like this?

“Yeah, I’ve done that at a bunch of places: journalism classes at colleges, newsrooms, newspapers, those sorts of places.”

 


 

You spent time at a Title I school in Houston after your emergency certification. What was that experience like?

“Resources were not great, but the kids were great. I wanted to teach at a school like that because that’s the kind of school I attended. I’m from the south side of San Antonio, and the school I went to teach at in Houston was 90-something percent Hispanic. My school in San Antonio was about the same percentage, so that was where I felt the most comfortable, but also felt like I could do some good there.

After becoming established as a writer, you told GQ, “You just gotta say you’re a thing, and people will think you’re that thing.” Is that still a truism in your life?

“One hundred percent. That’s the way I became a writer – just started telling people I was a writer. That’s the way I became an author. They asked if I could do a book, and I was like, ‘Of course.’ I had no idea how to do a book. That’s how I sold a TV show. They just asked if I could do it. I said, ‘I know how to do that.’”

You’re well known for your quirky approach to asking questions, as you did in your book Basketball (and Other Things), wherein you include a chapter titled “If 1997 Karl Malone and a Bear Swapped Places for a Season, Who Would Be More Successful?” With that in mind, and thanks to my roommate for this, please answer this question: LeBron James versus a shark – who wins the fight?

“You need to set up some parameters. This is the thing I’ve learned about asking questions like that: You can’t just ask an open question like that without building a fence to keep the conversation under control. There would have to be some specifics, like – where are they fighting, first of all? Are they fighting in the middle of the ocean? That’s different than fighting in the middle of a three-foot saltwater pool.”

Let’s try this, then. They’re in the middle of the ocean. LeBron has a knife, and it’s a tiger shark.

“OK. What I would do then is read a whole bunch about tiger sharks. Where do they do most of their hunting? How aggressive are they? Do they even frequent the middle of the ocean, or do they try to stay close to shore so that LeBron would have an advantage there? When are they fighting? What month is it? My gut just tells me LeBron would win.”

Why is that?

“The argument I would make without knowing anything else is that we saw a very similar situation in the movie The Beach. It was Leonardo DiCaprio versus a shark, not a tiger shark. He was a medium-sized shark. But he killed him with a knife. He defeated him. If Leonardo DiCaprio can kill a shark with a knife, then I have to believe LeBron James could, too.”

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

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Heritage Place
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Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
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Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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