In the latest issue of Slate’s sports podcast “Hang Up and Listen,” co-host Josh Levin ironically commented on what he saw as the tendency of pundits to confuse the Kansas City Royals’ aggressive base-running and ability to put balls in play–the “actual” skills helped them defeat the New York Mets and win the World Series in 5 games–with clichéd “intangibles” like “heart” and “hustle.”
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been reading a number of iconic profiles of professional athletes, including John Updike’s New Yorker salute to Ted Williams’ last game at Fenway Park, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” Gay Talese’s poignant portrait of prize-fighter Floyd Patterson for Esquire, “The Loser,” and David Foster Wallace’s immortal paean to “Roger Federer as Religious Experience,” which he wrote for The New York Times in 2006.
Gridiron football has once again been linked with tragedy. The death of a high school quarterback in New Jersey raises some now familiar questions about the safety of the U.S.’s favorite sport. We’ve been thinking about the challenges facing football as we read Jeanne-Marie Laskas’ “The People v. Football,” which first ran in GQ in 2011.
Diego Costa’s performance against Arsenal on Saturday made me think of our class discussion of Thomas Oates and John Pauly’s “Sports Journalism as Moral and Ethical Discourse.”