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The SportsThink Monthly Review #4
February 25, 2022
The SportsThink Monthly Review highlights my favorite sport-related content of the previous month. Between Monthly Reviews, subscribers receive the Weekly Read, featuring a sports article that I think is worth everyone’s time. Most articles and content are recently published, but some are not; the only rule is that I’ve read them within the past week (or the past month, in the case of the Monthly Review). Some are relevant to my day job as a professor teaching courses on the business, history, and philosophy of sports. Others are just plain interesting, relevant to my life-long obsession with the games we play. The newsletter is free, but comes with two requests. 1. I’m always open to suggestions, so send me the good stuff that you read! 2. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with other folks who might enjoy it as well. Finally, I try to focus on non-paywalled writing, but if you find yourself unable to access anything, just hit reply to the email and I’ll do my best to get you a copy. Thanks for reading!
Rapid global change shouldn’t surprise us anymore, but the world is a much different place than it was when I sent the newsletter out last Friday. Sports feel trivial in a time of a war, but maybe we can use a distraction from the big story of the week. And of course, a war featuring a superpower inevitably affects a number of things around the globe, and sports are not exempt. UEFA has pulled the Champion’s League Final out of Moscow and Formula 1 is suspending the Russian Grand Prix. Athletes, including some notable Russians, are speaking out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Witaly Klitschko, the former heavyweight champ and current mayor of Kiev, announced that he’s taking up arms and joining the war effort. These are heavy times, to say the least. With all due to respect to those in the war zone, here’s the Monthly Review…
Some More Olympic Reading
The Winter Games were a dud for NBC and American audiences. It’s impossible to pinpoint a reason, but I think a weaker-than-average American team was a factor here, especially our lack of a contender in women’s figure skating, which remains the premiere event of the Games. Another factor might be fatigue, given the short gap between the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, barely out of the rearview. Or maybe it was the lack of atmosphere in sparsely attended venues? In any case, it all felt flat. Our household is pretty Olympic obsessed and even we couldn’t really get into it.
The big story, of course, was the doping scandal in figure skating. If you missed it last week, here’s my perspective.
Eileen Gu, the American born but China representing free skier, was arguably the breakout celebrity of the Games. She crushed it in competition and made for a compelling—and occasionally divisive—narrative, highlighting the inescapable geopolitical side of sports. Fox News called her a traitor, but Defector disagrees (as do I). Here are a couple good pieces on her, from ESPN and the New York Times.
The Super Bowl
I’ve got nothing for you here. It was a decent game and I’ve already ranted about the halftime show. I didn’t read anything particularly interesting about the game and I assume that everyone who cares about it has gotten their fill of the NFL for the moment. So instead, here’s the 1989 Bengals “Who Dey Rap,” which has a great hook, but is not as good as the ‘85 Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” or the ‘86 Raiders’ “Silver and Black Attack.” (Ok, Who Dey Rap might be better than Silver and Black Attack, if only because Howie Long’s verse is especially awful.)
Other Sports Reads I Enjoyed or Paid Attention To, In No Particular Order
I’ve tried and failed to wear the Nike Cortez, a shoe I think looks great on everyone but me. But it’s still an icon and this is a really good oral history of the shoe to listen to or read. Excellent photos as well.
A fun short piece on the micro-nation that was formed when the Suez Canal was blocked for 8 years (1967-1975). They even had their own Olympics! (This is from last year, written in the wake of the Ever Given saga, but I just came across it)
Very unexpected, but absolutely fascinating (and somewhat depressing): Inside the Athlete Uprising that Brought Down a Wheelchair Hoops Legend.
Don’t Forget the Archive
That’s all until next week, but if you ever need more, there’s always the newsletter archive, compiling all of the Weekly Reads, Monthly Reviews, and the original incarnation of the newsletter, The Weekly Review.
As always, thanks for reading. Please consider sharing!
See you next week,