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The SportsThink Weekly Review #72
October 22, 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!
Hello everyone, hope life is good. It’s a milestone week for the newsletter: the 100th edition I’ve published since starting in June of 2020. Yes, I realize this is Weekly Review #72, but there were some deviations and experiments along the way (Weekly Reads, The Monthly Review), all adding up to 100 journeys into your inboxes. I don’t have much in the way of a grand reflection, mostly just gratitude. Thank you to those who have read from the start, to those have just recently joined the fun, to those who have shared the newsletter with friends and family, to those have sent along articles to share, and to those who have reached out with feedback, praise, and criticism. There wasn’t much of a plan when I started this project, it was just a thing I wanted to do and a means of avoiding early pandemic doomscrolling. 2+ years later, there still isn’t much of a plan, but sitting down to write the newsletter (almost) every week remains a pleasure. Time is our most precious resource and that anyone would spend even a few minutes of their week reading my thoughts is an honor. So, seriously, thank you.
On to the content…
I first encountered Davis’ writing while working on academic research about surfing. His biography of Duke Kahanamoku is one of the best books on the sport, so well researched and put together. As an admirer of his work, I was stoked when he wrote me a note responding to an issue of the newsletter. It was a bit of legitimizing moment for me on this project: sure, my friends and family might feel an obligation to read my work, but here’s a legit Writer of Great Things, taking the time to read and reach out. Thank you, David.
As for this piece on Zagaris, a photographer whose work you know even if you don’t know his name, Davis is locked in as usual. Zagaris comes across as quite the character and given the life he’s lived, he’s an authentic character. A prolific chronicler of sports and music, it feels like Zagaris has been “there” for about half of the culturally relevant moments in the past 50+ years of American history. From Haight-Ashbury to the Kaepernick/Boyer photo that is the image of American sports in the last decade, he’s captured it all. Come for the words, stay for the pictures. Very cool stuff.
I’m struggling to find a way to adequately set this one up. I’ll try it this way: if you, like me, are an Internet geriatric, you will remember an old video of a high school basketball game where a missed shot absolutely smokes a little kid running on the baseline. This video was viral before viral was a thing and this is the history of this video. Ok, so maybe you have no memory of this, but that’s ok. Memory is actually at the center of this piece, which is unexpectedly engrossing. Let me try it another way: Feldman gets obsessed his investigation of the history of this video and goes DEEP; people come out of the woodwork and the story of the video gets more and more interesting. Ok, this is an awful sales pitch. I can’t figure out how to do this without spoiling things. So, please, read this. It’s fascinating and well told.
Ok, here’s your trivia of the day: someone who does parkour is called a traceur (traceuse if they are female). Amidst the European energy crisis, Parisian traceurs are making a bit of statement by using their skills to leap/scale/whatever their way to hard to reach light-switches and turn off retail signage running after-hours. Probably not making much of a dent in said crisis, but there’s always value in the symbolic. Good story with some nice images and a cool video at the top. Many thanks to Jaime Schultz for sharing.
Light and amusing. A look at the evolution of baseball’s in game nutrition. We’ve come a long way from locker-room snack bars featuring nachos and bowls of amphetamines. I enjoyed this, but I know I’m getting old when my reaction is something along the lines of “Sure, energy gels are great, but Wade Boggs ate a whole chicken before every game and averaged 50 beers per team flight and was pretty much the man. These kids would never.” (For the record, Boggs claims he once crushed 107 cold ones in flight. This stat gives me gas.)
I shared some stuff about booze-racing a few issues back, so I was far too excited to read this one. In the grand tradition of Messr. Boggs, the American gals took no prisoners at the recent Beer Mile World Championships. Are we surprised? No. Are we proud? Of course. USA! USA! USA!
Policy Analysis In Sport Management Revisited: A Critique and Discussion (Scott Jedlicka, Spencer Harris, and Barrie Houlihan, Journal of Sport Management)
This one is admittedly a little niche. Essential for the sport academics out there, but of interest to anyone fascinated by the intersection of sport and government and the policy making process more generally. Jedlicka and co. set out to update the landmark work of Laurence Chalip (who Scott and I both studied under) and the result is impressive. I expect this to be on many a syllabus for years to come.
Here’s the rub: you’re going to need university library credentials to get access. Fellow nerds should know how to find it. If you had the common sense to not become an academic, Scott has kindly agreed to share with anyone who’d like a copy. You can send him a DM on Twitter, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or knock on his door in Pullman and he’ll trade you a printed copy for a six pack of Busch or vintage Cardinals ephemera.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share the newsletter if you’re so inclined.
See you next week,