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The SportsThink Weekly Review # 27
December 11, 2020
Hello and welcome to the twenty-seventh edition of the Weekly Review! Let’s get reading.
Inside the Lines: The Best Writing on Sports I Read This Week
Youth sports' response to COVID-19 has failed. Here's what we need to do now. by Jon Solomon, via USA Today. Sure, we could replace “youth sports” with several other sectors, but this is a sports newsletter. Solomon, the editorial director of the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society Program, offers a fair and strong critique and a path forward. I’m sorry to say I’m not particularly optimistic, but this is important stuff.
The Worst Team in the World Plans To Get Rid of that Label, by Jon Arnold, via his Get Concacafed newsletter. The tiny Caribbean island of Anguillla is not very good at soccer. OK, they are bad: ranked 209 out of 210 in FIFA’s official rankings. Arnold offers a nice chronicle of how the national soccer federation plans to climb out of the global soccer basement.
Sherman Poppen’s Snurfer, by Meg Maher, via the Smithsonian Institute’s blog. From 2019. Really cool piece of history on innovation and the birth and rise of snowboarding. It’s 80 degrees in Austin this week, but reading this made me want to head to the snow.
Virtual Cycling and Real Cheating: Cracking Down on ‘Digital Doping,’ by Nick Busca, via the NYT. I cover cheating and performance enhancement in my classes and while we often blame the hyper-competitive modern sports world for incentivizing bad behavior, there’s ample evidence that cheating and doping are as old as sports themselves. Thus, can we be surprised that pandemic-era remote competitions are trying to come to terms with new ways to game results? Nah, not one bit.
Jack Easterby’s Rise to Power and the Chaos That Followed, by Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop, via SI. If you’re looking to understand the Houston Texans’ lousy season, you might find some answers here. Damning profile of the team’s controversial vice-president; a good sports piece as well as a solid case study of organizational failures. Very well reported from Vrentas and Bishop.
Tweet of the Week
Play the hand you’re dealt.
Bathroom Reading, by Rose Hendrie, via the Literary Review of Canada. Yes, the is the cultural history of the potty you were looking for. “Defecation was once a public, unremarkable activity, even a celebrated responsibility for those attending to a monarch’s needs, in the alternative throne room.”
On the Exciting Subject of Earwax and Unsupported Medical Arguments, from the Resident Contrarian Newsletter. Sticking with the bathroom here, on q-tips specifically and listening to our doctors more generally.
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,