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The SportsThink Weekly Review #23
November 13, 2020
Hello and welcome to the twenty-third edition of the Weekly Review! After last week’s election-exhaustion inspired brain dump, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. A little heavy on NYT content this week; let me know if you exhaust your free access and need me to send a copy of any of these. On to the reads!
Inside the Lines: The Best Writing on Sports I Read This Week
Let’s Drop the Charade and Pay College Athletes, by John Thompson, via the NYT. A powerful excerpt from the forthcoming autobiography of the legendary basketball coach, who passed away this summer.
A Record-Setting Ascent of El Capitan, by Marie Fazio, via the NYT. Emily Harrington is an absolute badass.
A Letter to My Present Self, by Nate Boyer via the Player’s Tribune. An honest and powerful piece for Veteran’s Day, by another absolute badass.
'Hockey with a ball you could see': the Major Indoor Soccer League turns 40, by Michael Lewis, via the Guardian. The Axios newsletter informed me that this week would have been the 42nd anniversary of the MISL (the league only lasted 17 years). I love love love fringe pro-sports leagues and this is a nice introduction to an at-times kooky attempt at making soccer “American.”
Bryson DeChambeau’s Golf Revolution Turns Toward the Masters, by Bill Pennington, via the NYT. A second newsletter appearance for golf’s current lightning rod. As of this writing, DeChambeau isn’t exactly crushing the tournament, but he’s still an interesting figure for the sport.
Ultimate Fighting Election: How the UFC Gambled and Lost in the 2020 Presidential Election, by Karim Zidan, via Bloody Elbow. In any other year, the extended, booming appearance of UFC head honcho Dana White during the Republican National Convention would be peak weirdness. If you watched, you know what I’m talking about. But anyway. Zidan—arguably the best chronicler of the politics of fight sports— does a nice job surveying the UFC’s political adventure and what a Biden presidency might mean for one of sport’s biggest brands. Related: a short piece on a UFC competitor working its way into the Middle East, fertile ground in the geopolitics of sports.
The Week on SportsThink
The blog is on an unfortunate, but needed, hiatus. I’m on deadline for an academic publication and the end of the semester looms large. Hope to return to a good content rhythm next month, but the newsletter remains weekly!
Tweet of the Week
I appreciate any and all indictments of sporting cowardice, so this is a pretty good concept for an account.
The Air Conditioned Cowboy, by Stefan Al via The MIT Press Reader. The story of the El Rancho resort and how it set the stage for Las Vegas as we know it. Some cool history.
100 Years on a Dirty Dog: The History of Greyhound, by Gary Belsky via Mental Floss. I’m pretty sure I’ve only taken one trip on a Greyhound bus (and it was awful), but I enjoyed this history of the iconic American brand.
As always, thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble accessing any articles, happy to send them directly your way. And, if you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone else who might like it.
See you next week,