Discover more from The SportsThink Newsletter
The SportsThink Weekly Review #29
January 8, 2021
Hello and welcome to the 29th edition of the Weekly Review! And a belated happy new year as well. Another crazy week in the world, hope that everyone is staying safe and positive.
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Writing on Sports I Read This Week
The Anniversary of a Rare Loss for the Harlem Globetrotters, by Kendall Baker, via the Axios Sports newsletter. Who doesn’t love the Globetrotters? A short piece, but pretty fun and some good trivia in general. Washington Generals pun not intended, but I’ll take it.
Kelly Loeffler is Done in the Senate, but what about in the WNBA?, by Sopan Deb and Kevin Draper, via the NYT. In line with some articles I’ve previously shared, the impact of WNBA activism in the Georgia senate runoffs appears to have been pretty significant. Certainly a big moment in understanding the potential for athlete activism beyond symbolic gestures. Deb and Draper take a look at Loeffler’s future as a league owner; I can’t imagine she’d want to stick around, but I’m not pretending to understand her motivations one bit.
‘I Would Be Nothing Without You’: Remembering Sandra Scully, the Wind Beneath Vin’s Wings, by Mike Digiovanna, via the LA Times. As I’ve previously written, legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully has been a fixture in my life. As a kid, he helped me develop a deep appreciation for the English language; today, his bobblehead keeps me company in the office. Vin’s wife Sandra passed away this week, a really nice tribute from Digionvanna here. And, late breaking, it appears that former Dodger player and manager (and pasta sauce impresario) Tommy Lasorda has passed away at 93. RIP Sandra, RIP Skip.
Under Pressure: Why Athletes Choke, by A. Mark Williams and Tim Wigmore, via the Guardian. Not the first time this subject has been addressed, but this is a pretty solid deep dive into the underlying factors of performance anxiety.
Brentford's Focus on the Human Touch Belies Moneyball Reputation, by Jonathan Liew via The Guardian. A nice piece on how the English soccer club balances its heavy reliance on analytics with a people-focused organizational culture. Lessons to be learned.
Tweet of the Week
I don’t mean to make light of the absurd attack on the capitol, but this gave me a chuckle.
The Plague Year, by Lawerence Wright, via the New Yorker. In the previous edition of this newsletter, I expressed how thankful I was that my family and friends had thus far escaped the worst of the pandemic. I almost spoke too soon. On the cusp of Christmas, my father, step-mom, and sister all tested positive. Dad ended up spending a week in the hospital; there were some scary moments. But he’s been home for a week and all three are doing real well, so gratitude reigns supreme going into 2021. Major gratitude.
Given the recent stress, I almost didn’t have the appetite to tackle this article by Wright, despite it being recommended by several people I trust dearly. But I’m so glad I took three hours to read it last night because it is simply masterful reporting on the US pandemic experience. (and yes, it took 3 hours because it is an absolute beast. Except for a brief piece of fiction and some columns, it literally comprises the entire current print edition of the magazine.) Wright offers a sprawling chronicle of the past 12 months, focusing on several instances where we simply failed as a country. Yes, it’s an indictment of the outbound administration, but also of our lower level failures to look out for each other. It’s not all negative either, there are some real bright spots to celebrate as well. There will surely be many pieces like this one when all is said and done, but it is hard to imagine any being much better. Make the time for it.
Seriously, just read the Wright article.
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,