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The SportsThink Weekly Review #10
August 14, 2020
Hello and welcome to the tenth edition of the Weekly Review! Time flies: the summer is almost over and this weekly roundup is already in the double digits. I hope you’ll stick around for the next ten issues and beyond!
Inside the Lines: The Best Writing on Sports I Read This Week
NBA Players are Slowly But Surely Adapting to Bubble-Game Differences by Paulo Uggetti, via The Ringer. On adjusting to a very different game atmosphere.
The Dark Fairy Tale of Atalanta by Rory Smith, via the NYT. Another week, another great one by Smith. Published on the eve of the Italian cinderella’s heartbreaking Champion’s League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, a great chronicle of a town and its team. Sadly, it’s pretty clear now that their match against Spain’s Valencia in February was a “super-spreading” event on the continent.
The Hidden Queer History Behind a “A League of Their Own” by Britni De La Cretaz, via Narratively. On the late redemption of lesbian ballplayers. A timely piece with the upcoming Amazon series based on the classic film, which will “expand its lens to explore race and sexuality as the series follows a new ensemble of women carving out their own paths in the league and outside of it.” Of course, I can’t mention the film and not share this:
A few on the current state of college sports, especially football. The biggest American sports story of the week was the postponement/cancellation of seasons for about half of the major college conferences. Yet others are pressing on. Alan Blinder for the NYT summarizes the current state of affairs. Ben Bloch for the LA Times interviews an infectious disease expert who argues that playing on is incredibly risky: “I feel like the Titanic — we have hit the iceberg and we’re trying to make decisions of what time should we have the band play.” A group of academics argues that the move to cancel seasons has more to do with stifling growing players’ rights movements than with health concerns (I don’t agree with all of their analysis, but they do make important points.)
For Aspiring Performers, The NBA Is The Best Place To Be A Mascot by Josh Planos, via 538. Something fun!!
The Week on SportsThink
Caruso, Crooners, Ice Cube by Paul Orlando, via 3 Quarks Daily. On how technological change shapes the music we hear.
The Deck is Not Rigged: Poker and The Limits of AI by Maria Konnikova, via Singularity Hub. On poker as the gold standard for developing artificial intelligence. The author’s recent book, The Biggest Bluff, is also quite good.
The Battle to Invent the Automatic Rice Cooker by Anne Ewbank, via Atlas Obscura. On innovation, competition, and the quest for the perfect grain.
As always, thanks for reading. If you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone who might enjoy it as well.
See you next week,