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The SportsThink Weekly Review #7
July 24, 2020
Hello and welcome to the seventh installment of the weekly review! Hope that you’ve had a good week, wherever this finds you.
Inside The Lines: The Best Writing On Sports I Read This Week
A Stadium at Iowa State Says His Name: Jack Trice by Jere Longman, via the NYT. An in-depth look at the history of the only college stadium named for a black man.
The Gymnastics Factory: The Rise and Fall of the Karolyi Ranch by Bonnie Ford and Alyssa Roenigk, via ESPN. A look at the ugly side of the famed gymnastics coaches, presented in a very cool multimedia format.
How Former Ref Tim Donaghy Conspired to Fix NBA Games by Scott Eden, via ESPN. Originally published last year, this one’s another nominee for the 2020 Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting. Fascinating stuff.
Sports Have Been on Pause. It’s Time for a Reboot. by the NYT sports desk. This one is fun, looking at how we might reinvent various sports following this rare opportunity for a reset.
The Curious Case of the Electrified Épée by Michal Farber, via SI. Cheating is bad, but creative cheating…is fascinating. Great old story that I’d never heard of.
Bonus! The Human Behavior Expert Who Helps Change College Sports Teams Interact by David Ubben, via the Athletic. You’ll need a subscription (or a free trial), but the Athletic is money very well spent. Send me an email if you don’t subscribe and would like to read this one.
The Week on SportsThink
The big piece this week was the second part of my post on Why Are We Against Doping? Also shared some baseball book recommendations on the cusp of the new, weird MLB season. I’m back to posting more regularly—almost daily—as always, you can find the full archive and new posts here.
Couple of good ones this week.
Getting to Noh: Myths of Japanese Minimalism by Glenn Adamson, via Hyperallergic. Adamson lays out an argument that the traditional, Western celebration of Japanese aesthetics as minimal is actually limited and wrongheaded.
In Praise of Aphorisms by Andrew Hui, via Aeon. Hui asks, “what if we see the history of philosophy not as a grand system of sustained critique, but as a series of brilliant fragments?” Good stuff, with plenty of Nietzsche.
We discussed the aesthetics of sports in my summer school class this week, focusing on a definition of style as the exploration of the limits of constraint. This compilation of plays speaks to that beautifully. You may, of course, enjoy it plenty without worrying about its philosophical implications.
Thanks so much for reading, please consider sharing the newsletter with someone if you’ve enjoyed it. See you next week!