I grew up in New Jersey. My father was a bank executive in the days when bankers were underpaid, sober men who didn't pose for magazine photo spreads with dollar bills stuffed in their mouths.
I attended public schools and did not write for my high school newspaper. I graduated from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and did not write for my college newspaper. I did play football.
After college I worked for a documentary filmmaker in New York City, then briefly as a social worker, followed by a fling with public relations. Having gotten all that out of my system, I earned a masters degree in journalism at New York University.
My first job was at New Jersey Monthly and for the next 20 years I trafficked back and forth between staff positions and periods of full-time freelancing. I was a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler and George, John Kennedy Jr.'s genre-bending magazine that commingled politics and culture. From 2003 to 2007 I was a feature writer at The Baltimore Sun. My freelance credits include The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Travel & Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as commentaries for National Public Radio.
I've written about politics, adventure travel, sports, and health/medicine, in formats ranging from long narratives to essays. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a world-class mountaineer, hiked the Arizona desert with Senator John McCain, tagged along with high-tech bounty hunters chasing "skips", and drove Bruce Willis' Dodge Charger while Mr. Willis rode shotgun.
I spent four years researching and writing my first book, Color Blind, about the lost world of semipro town baseball. It's the story of an integrated team that broke the color line more than a decade before Jackie Robinson made his historic Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
I live with my wife, Jessica, and two disobedient dogs on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I regularly cycle and jog the National Mall, usually late at night when the tourists are gone and the rats come out to play.