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The SportsThink Weekly Review #15
September 18, 2020
Hello and welcome to the fifteenth edition of the Weekly Review. A big sports week in our household, with my son’s first encounter with “organized” sports: tee-ball. I wasn’t able to attend, but the scouting report and video analysis from my wife were solid: a steady swing, speedy-if not chaotic-on the base paths. Oh yeah, he also dropped his shorts and peed on home plate, which I guess is a potty-training success for an almost-3-year-old. There’s also some genetics at play here, as I once had a bit of an accident at the baseball Hall of Fame. Anyway, on to the reads!
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
The Sports Biblio Reader’s 2020 Fall Sports Book Preview by Wendy Parker, via the Sports Biblio Reader newsletter. Another good newsletter focused on sports reads, but of the book-length variety. Their first edition with a new name and a very exciting slate of books for the months ahead. What am I most excited for? Too many to name them all, but I’m really looking forward to:
The Home Team: My Bromance with Off-Brand Football, by Scott Adamson. I have a serious obsession with non-major pro sports teams and leagues, so this looks great.
Three Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty, by Jeff Pearlman. Time flies. Excited to look back at an era I followed extremely closely.
Because It's Saturday: A Journey Into Football's Heartland, by Gavin Bell. Football=soccer in this case. Similar to the Adamson book, I’m excited for this dive into lower level competition in England.
Boca Juniors: A History and Appreciation of Buenos Aires’ Most Successful Futbol Team, by Stephen Brandt. As a “soccer guy,” I’m embarrassed to admit that the majority of my knowledge lies in the European side of the game. Time to dig deeper into one of the world’s most legendary clubs (in any sport). If you know anything about Boca, it’s likely their passionate fan base. I know that we take a lot of pride in college sports atmospheres, but there’s really no comparison. Here’s some Boca madness:
Understanding Craig Stecyk, by Joe Donnelly, via Longreads. My current academic project is a social/technological history of the skateboard park boom (and bust) of the 1970s. Yes, this research is as fun as it sounds. Great piece from Donnelly exploring the work and legacy of the man arguably most responsible for the rebel spirit of the skateboard lifestyle as we know it, artist and all-around visionary, CR Stecyk III.
The Star College Football Recruit, His Parents' Unusual Decision and a Cross-country Move by Mark Schlabach, via ESPN. American high school sports are truly a unique beast: a family goes through a faux-divorce in pursuit of the promised land of an NCAA scholarship.
Running the Full-Court Press: How College Athletic Departments Unlawfully Restrict Athletes’ Rights to Speak to the News Media by Frank D. LoMonte and Virginia Hamrick, via the Nebraska Law Review. Ok, so this isn’t as fun as some of the stuff I usually share (it is a law review article, after all). But it’s timely, well argued, and pretty interesting stuff.
Dear White Clemson Fan, by Dante Stewart via his blog. The former Clemson cornerback and current seminary student offers a response to fans who have been critical of activism by athletes. His passion occasionally trumps the clarity of his writing, but this is powerful stuff from a young man who is wise beyond his years.
A bonus! This Woman Surfed the Biggest Wave of the Year by Maggie Mertens, via the Atlantic. On Maya Gabeira’s absolutely insane 73.5 foot wave at Nazaré, and why this epic ride hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.
The Week on SportsThink
Between teaching, writing the newsletter, and an impending house move, I’m in a busy stretch and the blog is taking a bit of a back seat. But I’m still trying to share relevant and timely content and commentary when I’m able to. This week: an interesting story on using bots to get tee times, some links on current goings-on, and the return of Big 10 football.
Tweet of the Week
What sports are really about.
He Invented the Rubik’s Cube. He’s Still Learning From It. by Alexandra Alter, via the NYT. On Enro Rubik, his eponymous toy/puzzle, and more.
"Elvis In The Box": The National Enquirer Issue that Made Today's Celebrity Culture by Michael Nelson, via the History News Network. How did the National Enquirer get the photo of the King in his coffin?
The Magical Art of Selling Soap by Ellen Wayland-Smith, via Lapham’s Quarterly. Tracing the roots of American advertising by way of snake-oil salesmen and other hucksters. Advertising might be the quintessential American art form and this is a great piece of history (apologies to jazz, hip-hop, and fast food). If you’re fascinated by the topic, I highly recommend Roland Marchand’s Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940.
As always, thank you for reading and letting me into your inbox. Please consider sharing the newsletter if you’re finding it worth your time!
See you next week,