Tag Archives: The Classical

Monday 06/26 2017
Remembering Frank Deford

“When people ask me why I write about sports, instead of some or any other thing, I tell them this: when it comes to social constructs—the membranes and ligaments which hold groups of people together, the bonding agents not visible on a map or in a flag, things that tie us together socially, not politically—there are only three which can rightfully claim true and enduring power: religion, war, and sport.

Those three social constructs reach, bring together, and separate more people than art or music or movies (both so close!) or literature or whatever else is generally deemed “more important” than sport.

And so, should not our writers who cover so important a social construct be admired and examined with the love and seriousness commensurate with what they cover? All of which is a long way of saying, sport matters, sportswriting matters, and Frank Deford was a fantastic sportswriter. His writing matters, and so does he.

And what fucking writing! Go on ahead and Google an image of Deford, because the easiest way to explain his rhetorical stylings is to say that he wrote how he looked. Unafraid of the purple and being picaresque, large but not bulky or intimidating, charming but not unctuous. He’s a rakish hero, broad shouldered and be-pompadoured, glossy and flashy but never to the point of inelegance.”

Read the rest in The Classical

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

Thursday 03/3 2016
God Bless Baseball

“There is, of course, a diamond, minimal almost to the point of abstraction, just baselines and bases and a batters box on a dark surface, somewhere between scratches on a mirror and ad hoc blacktop fields. The audience is in the outfield, the subtitles in the stadium seats, and looming over the entire thing—right over the batter’s box—is a sculpture. It looks like a TIE fighter cockpit covered in milk; actually, it looks exactly like a B-29 Superfortress nosecone, like the Enola Gay nosecone … and out there under the nosecone, to an organ melody of the “Charge!” song and the Mickey Mouse Club theme (“M-i-c …”) come two women with baseball mitts dangling from their hands, alien attachments at the end of their limbs that they fiddle and move with the grace of deep-sea submersible graspers.”

Read the rest of my story about Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada’s baseball-based play on Japan/Korean and American relations at The Classical

Tuesday 08/12 2014
The Sagging Rope Expert

” … that opening trick, the creativity, the embrace of aesthetics over technical proficiency, being sketchy. It changed how I would skate, how I would forever perceive art and motion and the panoply of human physical expression, in the same way a seminal novel or movie or album might have changed your life. It was like seeing a Basquiat for the first time, and also it was not really much like anything else.”

Read the rest at The Classical 

Friday 06/20 2014
We Were Gods: Notes on an Xbox Stanley Cup

“Oh! to hold those powerful sticks in hand; to know that a flick of the scepter could bring about crushing victory and moderate, if unimpressive, life (could this be how God feels while masturbating?), that the simple depression of one’s index finger could trigger the subtle action, set forth the proper variables to unleash, firstly and finally, the merciless tide.”

Read the rest at The Classical

Sunday 05/25 2014
Under the Sea

“Still, this is a fitting way to arrive in what’s perhaps the most amorphous civic entity in America; Orlando does not exist in the public consciousness as a city much as it does as a pair of anthropomorphized Mickey Mouse ears, perhaps being worn by a young Shaquille O’Neal. It is a conglomeration of brands, driven now not by a tourism industry but a tourism of industry. It’s a glittering dreamscape in a land once dominated by swamps, a Floridian city-state that does not avail itself of the state’s considerable geographical amenities, but which owes its very existence, in its present form, mainly to being cheap land and far enough from the coast to minimize the dangers of hurricane season. Before Walt Disney arrived, it was a citrus city, then an in-land tourist destination, and then a military city; now, it features more imagineering feats per square mile than any other place on earth, more flavors and facades and gasp-inducing examples of architectural whimsy. It sees more dreams and hopes and tears and laughs made concrete than perhaps any place before or since.”

Read the full article at The Classical

Sunday 05/25 2014
Elevate, Simba: Geopolitics, Economic Warfare and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

“The War Room consisted of one jet black, 52-inch, high-definition Samsung television, its cable receiver, subwoofer, and stereo sound system—whose two-tiny-boxes-upon-poles, positioned as they are so that noises they emit creep in from your peripherals, at first listening put your war correspondent on such edge that one would have thought they were heads on a pike rather than pretty benign pieces of quality home entertainment equipment—paired in conjunction with twin blonde pine fold out TV tray tables, one of which bore an embarrassingly new MacBook Airwhile the other played host to your correspondent’s loose leaf array of notes and official, custom made Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule/score card, which prominently featured a rendering of dueling squids, your correspondent’s semi-adroit allegory (the dueling cephalopod’s possession of eight arms apiece2 rather than the perfect-game mirroring five, which would have put my fathoms-deep struggle amongst Trailblazers logo-like levels of quasi-abstract hoops inspired art works3) for the basketball struggles being taken in, on both the large and small screens, from a rocking chair roughly twice as old as your correspondent.”

Read the rest of my David Foster Wallace tribute at The Classical

Thursday 05/22 2014
To Be Galactus

“But mania! Oh fucking good Lord God, when the manic swings come along? Then I am Everything. I fight tears of euphoria; I am sexuality personified, intelligence and wit made manifest; I am the light in the darkness and the darkness. I am, and this is very clear, the Greatest Writer Who Has Ever Lived. I am beyond Richard Sherman, beyond even Kanye West. The air is thin up there, and intoxicating. When I am there, I am nothing but ego, no filters, no public relations inhibitions and machinations. It is like living in a Tom Wolfe paragraph—one of those hot, buzzing, electric, alive, incandescent neon tube buzzing pink paragraphs—or, if the mania tacks darker, a Bret Easton Ellis run on. I place upon my head that ludicrous plumb teapot of a helmet that Galactus wears, and the Universe is mine, to hold, to crush, to devour, to effect myself upon.”

Read the rest at The Classical