The SportsThink Weekly Review #82
February 24, 2023
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!
Hi folks. My apologies for the prolonged absence from your inboxes, but it’s been a bit of a hectic stretch. We had the now annual tradition of a catastrophic winter storm in Texas (thankfully not very catastrophic for us, but no school for the kid and a city mostly shut down = an exhausting flavor of cabin fever), as well as the emerging annual tradition of “some combination of people in the household are sick at any given time between October and March.” Everyone told me that we’d be hammered by germs in the preschool years, but I really had no idea how sustained the onslaught would be. Anyway. That’s all a long way of saying that between catching up on work and trying to keep the various life-family-work balls in the air, I haven’t had much time at all to keep up with the reading that begets this newsletter.
I’m still not really back up to speed, but I didn’t want another week to go by without checking in, so here are a couple pieces to get you through the weekend.
Jimmy Carter Runs the Race (Michael Weinreb, Throwbacks Newsletter)
One of the few non-work things I was able to read this week, my favorite of the bunch. A short, sports-tinged tribute to the 39th president, who has entered end-of-life care in hospice. Carter was before my time, but has always struck me as a principled man with definite Good Dude Energy. I’m with Weinreb in thinking that his legacy will evolve over time, rightfully so. A short read and worth a few minutes of your time.
Three Man Weave (Chuck Klosterman, Grantland, from 2011)
Since I don’t have much to share, I figured I’d go to the archives. I last shared this in 2020 and it remains one of my all time favorites. Some people have comfort foods; I have comfort reads, and this is one I go back to when I’m in a certain mood. (And yes, I have plenty of comfort foods as well.) I know Klosterman can be grating to some folks, but I’ve always enjoyed his writing. I’ll defer to a bit of his intro to set the stage, but this is a great one if you’ve never read it. Highly recommended.
More than 23 years ago, a pair of low-profile junior college basketball teams played a forgotten game on a neutral floor in southeast North Dakota. The favored team was a school best known for its two-year forestry program; the underdog was a miniscule all-Native American college whose campus is located outside the Bismarck, N.D., airport. You’ve (probably) never heard of either school, and — in all likelihood — you will (probably) never hear of either one again. And if you remember this game, you (probably) played in it….
In this particular game, a team won with only three players on the floor. And this was not a “metaphorical” victory or a “moral” victory: They literally won the game, 84-81, finishing the final 66 seconds by playing three-on-five. To refer to this as a David and Goliath battle devalues the impact of that cliché; it was more like a blind, one-armed David fighting Goliath without a rock. Yet there was no trick to this win and there was no deception — the team won by playing precisely how you’d expect. The crazy part is that it worked.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share the newsletter and send along good and interesting reading when you come across it. Hopefully back to more robust content soon.
See you next week,