The SportsThink Weekly Review #8

July 31, 2020

Hello and welcome to the eighth installment of the Weekly Review! It’s been a big week in sports, with the return of the NBA, a big dose of chaos in MLB with virus outbreaks, and the opening of a criminal investigation against FIFA president Gianni Infantino. On to the reading!

Inside the Lines: The Best Writing on Sports I Read This Week

  1. Sledheadby Matthew Futterman, via the NYT. Worth it for the harrowing video at the top alone, Futterman examines issues of head trauma and suicide in winter sledding sports.

  2. Hitting the Wall by John Gonzalez, via the Ringer. “At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Milorad Cavic lost the 100-meter butterfly to Michael Phelps by one one-hundredth of a second. Or maybe he won and there was a timing error.” A great look at what can happen when you miss out on glory by a millimeter. And a dose of conspiracy.

  3. Massacre at Tlatelolco by Ryan Murtha, via Contingent Magazine. On the Mexican government’s brutal murder of student protestors on the eve of the Mexico City Olympics. The death toll remains contested, but the consensus is a staggering 300-400 victims (some suggests it should actually be in quadruple digits). Full disclosure on this one, I’m co-advisor on Ryan’s Ph.D. and supervised his thesis on Tlatelolco, which you can read here. For the best academic treatment of the Mexico City games, I highly recommend Kevin Witherspoon’s Before the Eyes of the World (2008), which won the annual book prize from the North American Society for Sport History.

  4. The King Self-Motivates by Henry Abbott, via TrueHoop. On the obsessions of Lebron James, still the best in the game. An in-depth look on what makes Lebron Lebron and why that makes him particularly well-suited for life in the NBA bubble (sorry, “campus”).

  5. The Ugly, Gory, Bloody Secret Life of NHL Dentists by David Fleming, via ESPN. One from last year, but timely given the upcoming return of hockey.

The Week on SportsThink

It’s been a busy stretch with summer school, so no long-form posts this week. But I have ramped up posting frequency, with daily posts each of the last 10 days. Head to the site for updates on FIFA, the return of fans to German soccer, hiccups in boxing, data supporting Trump’s assertion that protests led to declines in NFL viewership, and more.

Watch

The World’s Greatest Wiffle Ball Tournament via Vice. Former MLB player Fernando Perez covers a surprisingly interesting event. A few years old, but pretty timeless.

As always, thanks for reading. If you’ve been enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing with someone who might enjoy it as well.

See you next week,

Tolga