Category Archives: Longform

Thursday 01/12 2017
The Bleeders Do Not Ride Bitch

“Halweg was laying out transmission pieces on the garage’s back table in anticipation of the more that were coming and was taking advantage of her bike’s forced downtime to do some maintenance work. Her 1983 Harley-Davidson Ironhead’s gas tank was licked with flames the kind of supernatural green you’d have seen on a Juicy J shirt in the mid-aughts, tipped with chartreuse, a perfectly iconic bit of motorcycle adornment she admitted she almost got rid of until she got matching grips—these sparkle-like fishing lures—and a seat, which makes the whole green thing look badass. Unfortunately, the Ironhead is one of those temperamental, needy kinds of beasts who regularly finds itself under the wrench.”

Read the rest of my profile of the Bleeders women’s riding club in Jezebel

Tuesday 12/13 2016
Chicago’s Favored Goats: A Rumination

“A couple hours south of Cook County, the pool table metropolis of Chicago gives way to the even flatter former prairie, which in turn has been given over to agriculture; on December 1, after the harvest season, tilled fields sit with the luxe organic blackness of oil, interspersed with the dry tans of Shearling coats and a little haggard green, laying like a great flat calico cat fur beneath a dramatic sky, which runs flush with the land on the horizon as massive morning clouds move across it like glaciers. The most dynamic gradients are the overpasses and the billboards advertising seed financing. The wind, unabated, gathers itself up across the plains and pushes the cars on Interstate 75 sideways.”

Read the rest of my article on the goats of Kilgus Farmstead in Munchies

Wednesday 11/9 2016
The Sporting Singularity

“For decades, analog sports athletes were little more than grist for the mill. Before the rise of free agency, players had little to no control over which team they would play—and bleed and hazard bodily harm—for. Before the outcry over concussions suffused sports, hundreds of players had their brains beaten into jelly with little more than faded press clippings and souvenirs for severance. They had to organize and fight in the 1960s and 70s for salaries commensurate with both their sought-after skills and their sports’ ballooning profits.

Traditional sports learned these lessons the hard way, in other words, and their involvement in esports may expedite the learning curve for their digital brethren. The well-being of players may very well become baked into esports structures from their earliest days, rather than needing to be shoehorned in generations after the fact—and hopefully mitigating some of the potential downsides of professionalization. Organizations like the PEA may serve as the beginning of player’s associations and unions to protect esports athletes from being fleeced financially, as well as providing them with economic agency. Combine this with the analytic muscle and arms-race mentality of traditional sports, and a jump in skill and strategy could be forthcoming, as well.”

Read the rest at VICE Sports

Friday 09/23 2016
Make America Beer Again

“Except for one key difference: That steel is American steel, sourced from the productive Hells of Pennsylvania and Ohio—Ohio AK Steel, to be specific, at the time of MUNCHIES’ visit—and the stamping, cutting, embossing, welding, wrapping, packaging, and shipping are all done in America. In an industrial park adjacent to a Friendly’s and a Walmart Super Center, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on the outskirts of the Philadelphia metro area, lies the 30,000-square-foot American Keg, the only producer of stainless steel kegs in the United States.”

Read the rest of my story on the only stainless steel keg manufacturer in the U.S. at Munchies

Friday 09/9 2016
Who Rules The Waves?

“The Coast Guard and Merchant Marines work closely together. Outside of the military purview of the Navy, the two services are responsible for practically all the nation’s goings-on at sea. Their students experience a maritime life few others ever live, with on-board training every summer for the Coasties and for an entire year at Kings Point. Perhaps it is this familiarity that sparks such competitive fire on the gridiron each fall; as in a sibling rivalry, the knowledge that those across the field from you are motivated by the same desires, live the same rigorous days, and are destined for a familiar future is trumped by the burning need to assert internecine dominance: same conquering same.”

Read the rest at VICE Sports

Thursday 07/21 2016
Johnny and Tara Take Sports

“That “entertainment factor” is what led NBC to promote Weir and Lipinski to the top broadcasting slot for figure skating in the run up to PyeongChang 2018, and propelled them to be the delightfully different voices at such venerable sporting institutions as the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby and, now, the Summer Olympics. It is what keeps their social media feeds humming with roughly half a million followers, and also what caused my non-sports-fan friends to gush pronouncements of love for the pair when I told them about my assignment, and that is what makes them so important. In a sports-media landscape choked with old white guys offering hot takes, where antiquated notions of toughness and “honor” are conflated with masculinity and used to obfuscate or excuse violence and misogyny, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski bring something beyond entertainment and knowledge. They bring inclusiveness.”

Read the rest at VICE Sports

Friday 06/24 2016
Mind the Gap: Meditation, Athletes, and Mental Health

“The tennis player, the golfer, the free-throw taker or field-goal kicker or fustian batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth—all are under the kind of immense pressure from which our most precious natural resources are made, and those who transmute in the heat and weight are paid like the valuable commodity they are.”

Read the rest at VICE Sports

Tuesday 06/21 2016
Blood and Urethane: The Go Skateboarding Day Reader

In honor of Go Skateboarding Day, some of my writing on skateboarding:

“Blood and Urethane, or Skateboarding Shows its Work” for The Classical

“The Sagging Rope Expert, or Ali Boulala and the art of Sketchiness” for The Classical

“Paul Rodriguez’s Sense of Balance,” for VICE Sports

“Jaws vs The Lyon 25,” for VICE Sports

Monday 06/6 2016
Gaia’s Left Hand

” … there is the sky, brilliant orange, too orange, unnaturally orange, not the color of monarch butterflies or poison dart frogs or innumerable other toxic lifeforms, not the color of citrus or lantanas or marigolds—dreadfully close to poppies, however—but safety orange, menacing safety orange, the kind commercial fishermen wear to be plucked from the black maw of the sea or hunter’s place like a cuirass to protect against the accidental rending of human flesh, orange like the apocalypse, like literal and burning heat death, like the first and last glow of an existential risk, Nacarat Extinction, and it is apparent that East of Eden lies a place alien, fearful, sublime, hot and vibrating like catgut … “

Read the rest of my review of East of Eden, Whitney Bedford’s solo exhibition at Carrie Secrist Gallery, at New American Paintings

Friday 05/20 2016
A Michigan Mind

“Sports reward toughness, both physical and mental, and the language in which sports gets talked about, from locker rooms on out, hinges on the idea of toughness. Athletes must be able to deal and overcome, to perform, when pressure is high. Their ability to do so, they are told, is what separates them from the general public; the ability to do this seamlessly and perfectly is what separates the transcendent athletes from the merely mediocre or even great. There’s truth in these clichés, but also something that is all too easily weaponized. It’s an outlook that encourages athletes to put up a facade in order to avoid admitting to weakness.”

Read the rest of my story about Athletes Connected, the University of Michigan’s multi-department mental health initiative, at VICE Sports