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The SportsThink Weekly Review #36
Hello and welcome to the thirty-sixth edition of the Weekly Review! I’m sure I’m forgetting some greats, but the #36 jersey doesn’t bring too many folks to mind…Rasheed Wallace and Jerome Bettis? I’ll go with the Bus, but I came to love Sheed by the end of his career. On a personal note, #36 happens to coincide with my wife’s 36th birthday tomorrow: happy birthday, Katy! Love you!
A bit of hectic week as things came back to life on campus, but there was plenty to read. Here we go….
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
The Good, the Bad, and the Exotico, by Roberto Jose Andrade Franco, via Texas Highways. On lucha libre in the El Paso-Juarez borderlands. Great work—as always—from Franco, an elegant reminder that culture, family, and spectacle transcend political lines on maps.
Sports Media Really Whiffed on the Tiger Woods Coverage, by Donovan Dooley, via Deadspin. A short, but incisive and necessary critique of the rush by many in the media to imbue the golfer’s horrific car accident with the legacy of his past mistakes. I know that we’re supposed to hate Deadspin these days, but this is good work from Dooley.
Urban Meyer Embodies the Hubris of the US Sports Industry, by Oliver Connolly, via the Guardian. Pretty scathing piece on what we’re willing to ignore in the pursuit of victory. While I’ve seen plenty of social media critiques of Meyer, I haven’t come across much like this in the US sports media. Read alongside the Dooley piece, there’s certainly a meta-critique American sports coverage to be had here as well. (and yes, there’s plenty of hubris and ugliness to point out in international sport as well.)
Olympian McKayla Maroney Ensnared Mystery ‘Cult’ the Church of the Master Angels, by Cheyenne Roundtree, via the Daily Beast. I don’t love the tabloid title, but this was fascinating. Tangentially a sports piece, but it’s hard to disconnect Maroney’s gymnastic past from the story at hand.
And let us not forget this moment of pure perfection. Can you imagine your entire life’s work coming down to executing something that takes 2 seconds? (and sorry, I can’t embed the video, so you’ll have to watch it on youtube. Thanks IOC!)
‘Suddenly, Liverpool was having a pint. Even more of pint than normal’ by Neil Atkinson, via the 42. This is great. An excerpt from a new book called From the Jaws of Victory: A History of Football’s Nearly Men, compiled and edited by Adam Bushby and Rob MacDonald. As the book title suggests, it’s all about teams that should’ve, could’ve won it all, but didn’t. Atkinson’s piece is on 2013-14 Liverpool, an excellent team that came oh so close. Even if you aren’t familiar with the names, you’re familiar with the agony and the ecstasy.
This Book is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It. By Joe Lemire, via the NYT. On the impact of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow on America’s pastime. This book is a decade old, but is the landmark popular work on behavioral psychology and the games our brains play. I know it found its way into sports not long after it was published, but Lemire’s piece does a nice job capturing how sports-thinking (ha!) evolves.
A bonus, but only if you’ve got a subscription to the Athletic. Meanies, Beer Bellies, Big City Boys: The MLB Team Names that Almost Were, by Grant Brisbee. The title says it all and this is great fun.
Keeping Up With The Sports Page
Could the latest California college NIL legislation hurt the state’s universities? (thanks to Matt Caplan for this one)
Tweet of the Week
After the week we had in Texas, I needed this cheap laugh. Click through for other gems in the thread.
A Non-Sports Read
When Did Generic Grocery Brands Get So Good Looking? by Rachel del Valle via Aiga Eye on Design. They definitely have! Pretty interesting.
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,