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The SportsThink Monthly Review #6
April 29, 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!
Happy Friday everyone, hope that April has brought you joy and success. Busy days here at SportsThink HQ, so let’s get right to it. Here’s what I enjoyed and found interesting this month:
Something I should have known, but didn’t:
We had the pleasure of hosting my dear friend Jaime Schultz at UT earlier this month. She gave a wonderful talk, taking a critical look at 50 years of Title IX, the US civil rights legislation that has had a massive impact on girls’ and women’s sport. I teach this subject every semester, sometimes in multiple classes. I’m not an expert, but I know some stuff. But I learned this from Dr. Schultz: when colleges and universities tally their numbers of male and female athletes for federal gender equity reporting purposes, MALE PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR WOMEN’S TEAMS COUNT AS FEMALE ATHLETES. What a wonderfully cynical approach to bookkeeping and equity. (If you’re unfamiliar, male practice players are what they sound like: men from the student body who participate in practice and scrimmages with/against female varsity athletes. This is most common in women’s basketball, but is not limited to that sport.). There are as many ways to cook the books as there are seeds in a pomegranate, but this method is striking. Shout-out to Jaime for enlightening me. I’d recommend any of her books if you’re looking for some enlightenment of your own.
A podcast/project worth your time:
After putting it off for quite some time (and with no good reason), I finally started listening to the Sounding Off podcast, which is a lovely exploration of the intersection of sport and music. Very cool stuff and part of a bigger project called The Sound of Victory, which explores the aforementioned intersection in a variety of interesting ways. (As regular readers know, I’ve got thoughts on this subject! Here, at the bottom and here too.) Courtney M. Cox and Perry B. Johnson are the academics responsible for this great effort; I don’t know them personally but I think it is safe to assume that they are pretty cool. I *believe* they are working on a history of Super Bowl halftime shows, which is of course a fantastic project as well.
And of course, some reading:
Fascinating profile of Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner ever. Read this even if you’re not into running; I was particularly struck by his take on celebrations (or not celebrating). From 2021, but new to me (Irish Examiner).
A Bunch of Good Reads From the ST Community:
Lots of stories came out on the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut; most predictably focused on baseball. This one is a bit different, a nice perspective on his legacy as an entrepreneur (Forbes). Thank you to Matt Bowers for sharing.
If you’re interested in the geopolitics of sports and the increasing scrutiny of “sportwashing,” I highly recommend this piece on the relationship between the Rwandan regime and soccer clubs Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain (Mirror). Thank you to Kyle Martin for sharing.
Perhaps the most fun story I read this month: wherein a journalist accidentally discovers that his wife is the best Tetris player in the world (it wasn’t a secret, she didn’t know either). Great read (Boston Globe Magazine). Thank you to Ryan Murtha for sharing.
As always, thank you so much for reading. For more, including all of the Weekly Reads and Monthly Reviews, you can head over to the archive. If you enjoyed the newsletter, I’d appreciate you sharing it with others who might also like it.
See you next week,