Heat Waves, Soccer Babes and Unmarked Graves

Justin July 24, 2011 0

And there I sat, sweltering.

It was 8:30 Friday morning and the mercury had already risen past 90 degrees.  Fresh out of the shower, but already sweating,  I knew enough to put off getting dressed for work until the last possible minute.

I made my way into the living room with my bowl of cereal and my cup of coffee wearing nothing but boxers. Ordinarily I can sit on the couch and eat breakfast, but on this day, that was out of the question. A New York City Apartment can hold it’s heat. The combination of large windows, high ceilings and brick buildings means every unit can turn into a giant pizza oven in a matter of minutes. And on days of extreme heat, no air conditioner can break that spell. By now, my AC had been running since 5am. It didn’t matter. The couch was hot and completely out of the question.  I sat down on a chair situated directly in front of the AC.

And so, there I was, in a sweltering hot box apartment, sitting in a chair in nothing but my underwear while an air conditioner blew directly on my back and a pool of sweat began to gather on my chest.  And as I raised the spoonful of cheerios to my mouth while holding the bowl up to my face with the other hand, It struck me.

My god, Justin, You’ve finally made it.

Sports Illustrated July 25th, 2011

Hope  Solo, Soccer, U.S. National Team

PREGAME:

Here’s a quote from Jim Trotter’s Inside the NFL:

 imagine an NFL in which rookie salaries are restrained, two-a-day practices are prohibited and salaries are partially guaranteed against injury on deals with multiple years remaining. Each of those provisions could be part of the NFL’s new world order.

None of that matters to me. Trotter says the game will look the same on the field but there will be significant changes in the way the league does business. But I don’t care about how the league does business. How does the amount of money a rookie makes affect the way I watch? Do I care that guys won’t have to deal with two-a-days during training camp? NFL writers tend to get caught up in football culture and write for their colleagues and players more than for the fans. I think that’s been especially evident during the lockout. It’s the summer. I didn’t expect to see football so I’m not missing it. To football writers and players, the lockout has dragged on for more than a hundred days. To most fans, I don’t think it really starts until September 8th.

THE ARTICLES

Guts And Glory by Grant Wahl

It’s not that they lost, it’s that they didn’t win. That seems to be the way the sporting press has decided to treat the US Women’s World Cup team. In fact, it’s how we tend to treat all women’s sports. It’s not necessary anymore. We’re into the second generation of Title IV. Female athletes don’t need to be coddled anymore. There won’t be true equality until we stop going nuts over things. The game against Brazil was exciting. I get that. But it wasn’t the fifth most exciting moment in sports history, as ESPN proclaimed it a couple of days later.  I look forward to the day when we’re allowed to actively root against a woman. I want villains. I want a female Barry Bonds or a female Curt Schilling. I want someone who is utterly despicable. I want opponents who hate each other. I want heated rivalries and trash talk in the media. Only then will we have reached true sporting equality.

This article should have been about the Japanese team, which won a title for a country badly in need of some good news. It didn’t need the cumbaya “we’re all in this together” girl power bullshit that every article about female athletes invariably includes.

Fast Times in Shanghai by Kelli Anderson

Would you like to see how far I got before I skipped the rest of this article? Here’s the entirety of what I read:

The news bulletin appeared on the website of a Gainesville, Fla., television station on June 22, just a month before the start of the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai: RYAN LOCHTE CRASHES SCOOTER, HURTS CURRENT GATOR.

That is all. I actually had every intention of reading this whole thing, despite the fact that it is not an Olympic year and this swimmer does not appear to be Michael Phelps. But a scooter accident? That’s too much for me. I also question the news judgement of the web editor at this Gainesville television station. A swimmer falling off a scooter should not merit an all caps news bulletin.

Derek Fisher Wants The Ball by Ian Thomsen

I don’t find Derek Fisher particularly likable. Never have. Like a lot of older point guards before him (John Stockton especially,) I think Fisher is a dirty player who cheats to keep up with quicker and more athletic players. And I still think he used his daughter’s illness as an excuse to get out of a contract and return to the Lakers.  I do, however, respect him for actually immersing himself in the legal issues that surround the NBA labor strife.  I just see no connection between the two. This quote, from deputy commissioner Adam Silver, is nonsense:

“There’s a reason he has won five championships. He’s a strong advocate for all of the players in the league and he’s well-versed in all of the issues. He has set the tone for a very professional atmosphere.”

Is it that Fisher’s ability to read a legal document translates directly to his ability to pass to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant? Or is it that being drafted by the Lakers in 1996 instantly made Fisher smarter?

Then there’s this:

“Fish has a stabilizing presence in terms of the way he carries himself,” says Bryant, who has nicknamed his teammate Derek Obama in reference to his regal bearing. “He always stays in control, and he has a unique way to communicate and inspire.”

Kobe is a fucking moron. Is Barack Obama the only world leader he has ever heard of? That nickname is neither funny nor does it roll off the tongue.

Loving Baseball by Joe Posnanski

I was a little apprehensive going in. An article like this could very quickly become trite and saccharine sweet while loading up on sappy father son images. And a writer like Posnanski, as talented as he is, is the type of guy who could let this assignment get away from him. But he didn’t. Mission accomplished on all fronts. The prose was great. The then and now photography added to the story.  Even the father-son stuff stayed out of the easy tear jerker trap.

“They’re sending you around to the country to find the meaning of baseball?” he asked.

“Something like that,” I said. He looked at me with a mix of disbelief and wonder and, sure, pride. Dad’s job was to keep the sweater machines running. It was a clear assignment with a clear mission—plain questions and plain answers and no time for what he always called “baloney.”

“Well, baseball is fun, right?” he said.

Yes. Yes it is.

Point After by Phil Taylor

I’ve read about the effort to mark the graves of Negro Leaguers before. In fact, I feel like I may have read about in SI before. Either way, it seems like a recycled story from Phil Taylor that is in no way timely or particularly well written.

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