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The SportsThink Weekly Review #56
August 27, 2021
Hello and welcome to the fifty-sixth edition of the Weekly Review! It was back to school this week and I must admit that it was great to return to some semblance of campus life, even if UT’s approach to the current pandemic situation is less than ideal (and yes, we’re hamstrung by the state government). For example: I can’t require masks in a classroom, but I can use my own money to incentivize mask wearing via cookies or pizza or whatever. But hey, my vaccine card qualifies me for a campus drawing to win a tumbler or t-shirt, so at least there’s that. It is what it is.
Between the onslaught of orientations and meetings and the return of class, another lighter newsletter this week…on to the content!
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
Nike’s End of Men, by Ethan Strauss, via House of Strauss. Recommended, but not necessarily endorsed. The former Athletic writer launches his newsletter with this salvo railing against the (perceived) woke-ification/political correctness of Nike’s contemporary approach to marketing and advertising. In my corners of the internet, this piece was praised by as many people as it was dragged, which is inevitably good for generating traffic to your new newsletter. A bit sprawling and in need of an editor, but one worth reading no matter where you stand in the current culture wars. Thanks to Austin Duckworth for sending this my way.
University NIL policies, via Darren Heitner. Not an article, but a very useful, centralized repository of the current state of NCAA name-image-likeness rights policies for over 150 schools. Pretty fascinating to click through and definitely useful for researchers and journalists.
“I Found Your Mom” by Adam Rittenburg and Kyle Bonagura, via ESPN. Heavy, but really well done. On college football coach Paul Wulff’s 41-year long journey to find answers about his mother, who disappeared when he was 12. A reminder that ESPN can still put out great work from time to time.
The Mundanity of Excellence: An Ethnographic Report on Stratification and Olympic Swimmers, by Daniel Chambliss. Some context here: I found myself responding to a Twitter thread about the “best essay you’ve ever read” and this one immediately came to mind. Probably my favorite academic piece ever, but one that is accessible and useful to everyone. Chambliss sets out to understand what makes great swimmers great and offers a perspective that can really be extended to what makes anyone great at anything. The answers are…mundane.
Tweet of the Week
Some of you have already seen this, but it could be the tweet-thread of the year. Wherein this guy prepares ex-NBA star (and father of Steph) Dell Curry for life after his divorce… (click through and get ready for a ride)
A Non-Sports Read
If you read one more thing on Afghanistan, it should be “What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban” by Ian Fritz. The former Air Force pilot’s account is as human as it is heavy. Thanks to Tommy Hunt for sharing.
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,