Where the athlete’s trail of sacrifice reveals itself
The FIFTY strives to tell the stories of the most interesting athletes in the world. Through an innovative nomination process and an internal, highly selective process, we look to undercover stories of courage, change, achievement, triumph over doubt and the relentless pursuit of athletic perfection. Many of these athletes will be unknown to the general public, but by shining a light on their personal journey, we bring together a collection of stories that inform and inspire through emotional, award-winning visual storytelling and writing.
The FIFTY is a division of Perpetual Sports Network, which also owns and publishes Row One Seat One [R1S1].
Meet the staff
RONNIE LYNN began her journalism career in 2nd grade, when she was named editor of The Patterson Panther, her elementary school newspaper. There, she led a team of (very) cub reporters in hard-hitting coverage of siblings, snacks and other breaking news, and sold enough copies on day one to repay Principal Reed’s $10 loan for production and printing.
That experience fueled her lifelong drive to learn and tell stories that help readers know their world, community, and each other a little better. She went on to be an award-winning newspaper reporter and copywriter in some of the coolest places in the West — from Vail and Palm Springs to Lake Tahoe and Salt Lake City — and less cool places, too, i.e., Corporate America.
Now, after living and working in 12 states coast to coast, she’s more convinced than ever that everyone has a story, and she looks forward to telling as many as she can. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
MATT KEYSER found his love for sports as a young boy: studying the box scores of baseball games in the mornings and spending the afternoons striking out his little brother with a mix of fastballs and knee-buckling curveballs. Though his dreams of pitching in the big leagues never blossomed, Keyser began covering sports for the newspapers he grew up reading.
He’s covered everything from Texas high school football to the Houston Astros’ two World Series titles. When he’s not writing, you can find Keyser cooking Texas-style barbecue or lounging in a body of water with his wife and two daughters.
Matt is a senior writer for Perpetual Sports Network. He lives near Houston, Texas.
MICHAEL WEINREB is an award-winning journalist, author and screenwriter, specializing in sports, culture and history. He's written for The Atlantic, Grantland, ESPN, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Ringer and many more. He’s the author of four books, including Season of Saturdays, an acclaimed personal and cultural history of college football that was called “a beautifully written mix of memoir and reportage” by Sports Illustrated and was named one of the best books of the year by Newsweek and Quartz; Game of Kings, about a championship Brooklyn high school chess team, which won a Quill Award, was a New York Times’ editor’s choice, and was named one of Amazon’s best books of the year; and Bigger Than the Game, about the growth and marketing of sports in the 1980s, which served as an inspiration for ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary about Bo Jackson.
He was the lead writer for two seasons of Wondery’s “Sports Wars” podcast, and is currently working on a podcast about the political history and culture of San Francisco. He’s appeared on a number of national television and radio shows, including ESPN’s “30 for 30” and “College Football 150” series, and NPR’s “This American Life.” He lives in Oakland, California.
MATTHEW FULTS is an acclaimed writer, documentary filmmaker and photographer.
As a writer, his style has been humorously described as the love child of Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson on LSD. He has won awards at the state and national level, and has been published in newspapers, magazines and digital publications worldwide.
His documentary films have been celebrated by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press and others while also appearing as official selections in international film festivals. His work has appeared on ESPN, NBC, Fox Sports Networks, Comcast SportsNet, CNN and leading digital platforms such as NBCOlympics.com and Yahoo!
Through the lens he has worked with iconic international brands such as Reebok, REI, Subaru of America, CCM Hockey, Zeal Optics, Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange, Roxy, the United States Olympic Committee and the NCAA among others.
Matthew is executive editor and chief content officer for Perpetual Sports Network. He lives in Laguna Beach, California.
As a 25-year veteran of the film and television industry, CHRIS SOULE began his career working with Ridley Scott to choreograph stunts for G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore. As a cinematographer and director, he has established himself as a unique visual storyteller in feature films, television, and advertising, with clients spanning a wide range of iconic brands including Apple, Dreamworks, Sony, and Ralph Lauren. Most recently, Chris helped create Amy Poehler's Emmy-nominated Making It television series, and he directed the highly-acclaimed In Plain Sight docuseries that was also nominated for an Emmy. His creative vision on Into Being earned him Best Cinematography at the 2016 Patagonia Film Festival. In addition, he is the cinematographer for The Race to Save the World, a five-year project on climate change activism that won Best Documentary at the 2020 Soho International Film Festival and the 2021 New York Independent Cinema Awards.
Prior to his entertainment career, Chris was one of the most celebrated athletes in the winter sport of skeleton. A 2003 World Cup Champion as well as a three-time U.S. National Champion, Chris competed in two Olympics: Salt Lake 2002 and Torino 2006. On multiple occasions he was named Athlete of the Month by the U.S. Olympic Committee He helped advance the sport by creating a sport-specific racing shoe with Nike innovator Toby Hatfield and developed a technically advanced speed suit with Speedo. Chris retired after the 2006 Games but has continued to coach and mentor younger Olympians.
Chris is director of photography and a producer for The Fifty's television series. It is his passion to follow his athletic career by relaying stories of some of the most incredible athletes on the planet - especially the ones who are doing what they love and pushing the boundaries of sport and athletics, but never get the spotlight.
Chris lives in Topanga Canyon, California with his wife and two sons.
A writer and editor, JOHN FINGER was instrumental in the creation of Comcast SportsNet in 2000. In his roles as reporter, columnist, essayist, and commentator for Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports, John covered both the Phillies and the Philadelphia 76ers during their most successful and notable periods. He was there when the Phillies won the World Series as well as for the entirety of "The Process" with the 76ers. He was also in the building for memorable moments like Allen Iverson's “Practice!” press conference.
John graduated from J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He has a B.A. in American Studies from Temple University and is slowly working toward an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Drexel University.
He is managing editor/national desk for Perpetual Sports Network and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
PAUL HAGEN became aware of baseball when his third-grade teacher said she was rooting for the White Sox in the 1959 World Series. He immediately began pulling for the Dodgers.
That affinity grew two years later when he read his first book, The Pee Wee Reese Story. Through a series of lucky breaks, fortuitous coincidences and incredible serendipity that would have tested the credulity of any statistician with a rudimentary understanding of odds, he was somehow able to parlay those random events into opportunities to cover the Dodgers for the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, the Rangers for the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Phillies and national baseball for the Philadelphia Daily News and MLB.com.
He has subsequently pulled off his most impressive trick yet, convincing his family, friends and a handful of strangers that he won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing in 2013.
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