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The SportsThink Weekly Review #46
May 7, 2021
Hello and welcome to the forty-sixth edition of the Weekly Review! I’m drawing a total blank on a notable #46, so send one if you’ve got one. Instead, I’ll celebrate #48, Longhorn linebacker Jake Ehlinger, who passed away far too young on Thursday. RIP Jake.
Several really good reads this week, like really good. So…On to the content!
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
Esports and the Dangers of Serving at the Pleasure of a King, by Matthew Ball, via his website. From last year. An early pandemic look at the esports marketplace, this might be the best thinkpiece on esports I’ve come across. Lots of insights on the challenges and future of esports, but also really wise takes on where esports converge and diverge from traditional sport. Worth the read even if you still think video games are for nerds.
What if Everything We Know About Gymnastics is Wrong? by Lizzie Fiedelson, via the NYT Magazine. Depressing but essential. There have been plenty of powerful pieces in recent years on the culture of abuse in gymnastics. Some of that ground is revisited here, but Fiedelson goes beyond that critique, questioning deeper assumptions about the accepted timelines and approaches to developing elite gymnasts. Of course, the culture of abuse and the approach to development have gone hand in hand, a connection Fiedelson ably navigates.
The Plot to Kill the Olympics, by Alex Perry, via Outside. A good companion to #2. On swimming, governing bodies, organized crime, politics, and—for lack of a better term—the soul of sport. This is so good. An indictment of the Olympics that will gnaw at you if you choose to watch this summer. Thanks to Ryan Murtha for sending this along.
Neil Johnston, by Curtis Harris, via his Pro Hoops History newsletter. Curtis is a great academic historian who also manages prolific, high quality online content on all sorts of basketball history. This latest edition dives deep on Johnston, a forgotten great who had the misfortune of playing at the same time as some better known greats.
Virtual Reality’s Missed 2020 Opportunity Was Years in the Making, by Jacob Feldman, via Sportico. Solid analysis on a trend that should have happened, but did not. Widely available VR has allegedly been “just around the corner” for a couple decades, but we’re not there yet.
Keeping Up With The Sports Page
I didn’t expect to enjoy this article on the scents of trees nearly as much as I did.
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,