I like sports a lot. I like pretending to invest in my fantasy football team and then forgetting to set my line-up and accidentally starting three players on bye week and two who are nursing busted knees or ankles. I like following Chicago sports so I can nod along with the sandwich guy about Charles Tillman’s wife, and damn, I hope she has that baby before Sunday!
I like sports because they raise so many other issues, about entitlement and academics, about fitness, health, beauty, gender, safety, parenting, money, community and values. I also really like when people write well about sports, like these folks:
- “The Hard Life of an NFL Long Shot” – The New York Times (Charles Siebert): Following his 21-year-old nephew through the the ups and downs of a maybe, someday, hopeful NFL-er, Siebert captures some of the frenzy we see on the surface of the NFL, and some of the loneliness and struggle of the almost-made-its.
- “The Favorite” - Grantland (Brian Phillips): Serena Williams is my favorite, and Brian Phillips’ too. He explores why (and other stuff, like race and privilege and pressure) in this excellent profile.
- “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer” - New York Times (John Branch): In this epic three part series, Branch examines the life and career of one of the NHL’s most notorious brawlers, and his death by accidental overdose at age 28.
- “The Woman Who Would Save Football” - Grantland (Jane Leavy): Dr. Ann McKee is a Packers fan. She is also the woman to whom brains are sent when athletes die.
- “A Basketball Fairytale in Middle America” - New York Times Magazine (Sam Anderson): Kevin Durant is the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in exchange, Oklahma City has devoted itself to Kevin Durant. This is a fabulous profile of a player (the youngest scoring champion in league history) and a city who levied a sales tax to build him a home.
- “Venus and Serena Against the World” - New York Times (John Jeremiah Sullivan): I know this is my second piece about the Williamses, but I just really like them, ok? Also, it’s really good.