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The SportsThink Weekly Review #69
September 23, 2022
Welcome new readers! The SportsThink Weekly Review highlights my favorite sport-related reading of the week. Most articles are recently published, but some are not; the only rule is that I’ve read them within the past week. Some are relevant to my day job as a professor teaching courses on the business, history, and philosophy of sports. Others are just plain interesting, relevant to my life-long obsession with the games we play. I also occasionally share articles and assorted musings on Twitter. The newsletter is free, but comes with two requests. 1. I’m always open to suggestions, so send me the good stuff that you read! 2. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with other folks who might enjoy it as well. Finally, I try to focus on non-paywalled writing, but if you find yourself unable to access anything, just hit reply to the email and I’ll do my best to get you a copy. Thanks for reading!
Happy Friday everyone. A light week of reading at SportsThink HQ, but hopefully some morsels for you to enjoy over the weekend. Let’s get right to it.
I’d rather not think about how much time I’ve spent playing sports video games. I was never much of a Madden guy, but was borderline obsessed with Electronic Arts’ FIFA and NCAA football franchises. So. Much. FIFA. And a lot of NCAA. I haven’t played any video games in several years, but still have fond memories of destroying all opposition with West Virginia’s Pat White and Steve Slaton, running an absurd option offense. I think that was NCAA 2007? In any case, this is a great read for fans of the franchise, which disappeared for a long while because of money. Not the lack of money from interested fans, but the whole “players maybe should be compensated for appearing in a video game” thing. Given the reshaped college sports landscape, the door is open and the game is back on the table. I’m not sure if this is the push I need to pick up a new system, but I’ve probably got a year or two before my son kicks my but in all video games, so it just might be the time. Note: I think the link should work, even if you don’t subscribe to the Athletic.
This is an odd context for the subject: a column that complements the NYT crossword puzzle, but it’s still pretty cool. Wish it was longer, but some insight into the second-best fashion accessory that the sports world has produced. The first-best is—of course— the “foam dome” or beer-helmet/hat. Sadly I can’t find any history of this gem, but here’s the original patent.
It seems worth noting that this article is at least partly about a 50-ton, fire breathing spider. Smith is one of the best (maybe the best?) writers on soccer and this is a really good take on the spirit of the World Cup. On the tradeoffs of putting on a big show to cash-in on a (sporting) big show. A bit of culture, a bit of politics, but an overall interesting piece on the upcoming tournament in Qatar.
Something Wonderfully Silly and Dangerous
I encountered two sports for the first time this week. The first is Slap Fighting, which is stupid and should be outlawed. It’s what it sounds like: you take turns hitting each other. If you like boxing or MMA, but find the movement, defense, and artistry to be generally cumbersome, I guess this this the sport for you? If you make the mistake I made and decide to watch some videos (I won’t share them), you’ll probably be enthralled for 30 seconds before realizing you’re just watching snuff films of massive (mostly) Eastern European dudes (and some women) damaging each other’s brains.
ANYWAY, sidecar racing, on the other hand, seems worth a look. Absolutely human in that there is really no need for this to exist. I’m inspired that people have committed to this pursuit. I’ll leave it at that. Click the first tweet and you’ll get to the thread, which is pretty well put together.
As always, thank you for reading. Please share the newsletter!
See you next week,