Someone to Lean on by Gary Smith
First off, Gary Smith has been writing masterful longform journalism since before it was called longform journalism. He has written for Sports Illustrated for years and consistently produces the most interesting stories in the magazine. He doesn't write about sports as much as the humanity involved in them. For example, this piece is relatively famous because it was turned into a movie, Radio, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris in 2003, seven years after publication.
Article: 9 of 10
The article tells the story of an developmentally challenged African-American man, Radio, who gets taken under the wing by a white football coach, Coach Jones, in the south. To be honest, I'm pretty sure that race has nothing to do with the story. Smith writes about the troubles Radio has and how Coach Jones brings him out of his shell and helps Radio find his voice and himself. It is very inspirational.
Teachability: 8 of 10
It's an excellent article to teach with very high interest from the students and Smith is such a good writer that there is plenty to talk about with his style. The story is fascinating, uplifting, and true so that's a win with the students. The frustrating part is that if you cover this in class, each and every student will want to watch the movie. And the movie just isn't that good compared to the article.