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The SportsThink Weekly Review #93
August 18, 2023: Back To School
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 lifelong 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 everyone, happy Friday. Between my son starting kindergarten and the back to school hustle at UT, sadly not much time for commentary this week. And yes, it’s still Very Very Very Hot down here; autumn remains a pipe dream and it is certainly not back to school weather. Some good things to read this week. A bit of a grab bag, so hoping there’s something for everybody.
In the early part of this century, Virginia Tech football were super-competitive and an absolute blast: coach Frank Beamer’s “Beamerball” went all-in on special teams and defense and the Hokies had one of the best stadium experiences in the country, entering the field to Metallica and 60+ thousand fans going totally nuts. (I’ll never forget standing in the rain for almost 4 hours on a Thursday night in Blacksburg for an absolute slugfest against Boston College. The grandmother next to me filled a massive soda cup with tobacco spit over the course of the game. The guy on the other side of her gutted at least as much. Totally epic.)
Things change and recent years have been underwhelming for the team, to say the least. It’s the season for college football previews, but this article is much more than that. Deeply reported by Adelson, this is not just a great analysis of Virginia Tech football, but a piece that gets to the heart of how sports organizations work, rise, and fall.
Have a I ever shared something about cycling before? I’m not sure. Ok, this thing is a BEHEMOTH, maybe like 20,000 words? And I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten all the way through it, but it is fascinating and awesome. Love stuff like this. Here’s the pitch:
Australian cyclist Nick Clark built a loyal following at his Virginia bike shop, based in part on his national and international results and a lengthy professional career. There was just one problem: none of it was true.
This is the strange tale of the unravelling of a years-long deception – the ‘Catch Me If You Can’-like story of a man with a claimed past as a pro cyclist, a soldier, a CEO, a lawyer, an author, an academic, a hostage responder, and a weapons instructor.
These are the many lives of Nick Clark.
Wait, have a I ever shared something about darts before? We’re in uncharted waters. Yes, darts are the focus, but this is really about progress and records and the pursuit of perfection. Really interesting stuff, backed with some good data.
As always, thanks for reading. Don’t forget to set your DVRs for the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday morning, should be good one. Please share the newsletter with your fellow sportsthinkers and send me along the interesting articles that you stumble across.
See you next week,