What’s Wrong With Letting It Slide?

The task of defrocking an American hero did not have many takers — or believers. To let Lance Armstrong ride away free — he of the hero worship, the good works and the arm-twisting — would have been easy. But Travis Tygart knew it wouldn’t have been fair.

Soul Catcher

This skittish child, whose inclination is to blend into the wallpaper, one day will become one of the most remarkable public school teachers not just in his state, but in the country; a man who will connect with students on levels so bottomless and with such skill that the most intimidating children of all — teenagers — will crowd into a room in which there are more heartbeats than chairs and sit upon a stack of books just to hear him talk.

Magic Mary

Even 12- and 13-year-olds, often boys, will sheepishly make their way to Mary Pope Osborne at a signing table, mumbling and apologetic for their presence among young kids. She is swept up by their “sweetness and their sincerity.” “I love them,” Osborne said in a whisper. “I feel like I’ve been given this extraordinary lesson. Their vulnerability — and their parent’s vulnerability, because they are so excited for their child — is all over their faces. Over and over, it breaks my heart. I have tons of these moments, and they add up, you know? And I go, ‘Mary, you’re pretty lucky, you know that?’ ”

The Client She’ll Never Give Up On

While they waited for Superior Court Judge Howard Manning to read the court’s finding — minutes that seemed almost as long as the six years Christine Mumma had worked to free Greg Taylor — Mumma became more convinced they had lost, while Taylor simply prayed that his heart would not give out. They waited together for a moment that had never before happened in the history of the judicial system, neither of them daring to believe.

Rye Barcott Goes to War

Two o'clock in the morning and the noise is deafening. Rye Barcott gets dressed, grabs his machete. It sounds like war coming down outside his shanty in Kenya, and swarms of people are running toward the railroad tracks on the border of the Kiberan slums. Barcott follows the candles, the flashlights, the moonbeams that shine like an interrogation lamp; he follows the banging, to a man who lies bloodied in the middle of an enormous mob. He's a thief, a mwizi, and his tale makes Barcott lose his voice. A villager stands over the mwizi. He appears to be flicking something at him. Seconds later, the thief is in flames.

Breathing Lessons

At the country's largest treatment and research center for cystic fibrosis, time slips away for a patient and his wife, while a doctor and his staff work obsessively to give it back

Blue Genes

Carolina Blue is going to proms, swing dancing in clubs, running down grassy trails and working out in gyms. It is even growing in your garden. It is the sky, it is the streets (certain inner-city gangs use Carolina Blue as an identifier), it is as ubiquitous as Michael Jordan himself. The difference between Jordan and Carolina Blue is that there is only one of him.

Educating Michie

Your wisdom says that Greg Michie, a middle-class white man from Charlotte, and these men, gang members and high school dropouts in Chicago, the sons of Mexican immigrants, all wish to be somewhere else tonight. And perhaps you are correct. But a man can find himself in the strangest places when he can't find himself in convention. A man can ache for Tuesday night.