Sketches of Redskins Fandom

Football is a game of numbers, statistics, metrics, predictions, analysis, massive crowds, huge salaries, gigantic men. My relationship to football, my personal connection to it, is far different – its basis in the intimate and not the organized – I never played for or cared about my junior or high school teams, but spent afternoons in the neighborhood, running post routes in the street, tackling my friends into piles of dog shit; and Sundays on the couch, shouting at the TV. My perspective on the ‘big picture’ is ever evolving, during some seasons I get in such a disgusting funk over the whole thing I can’t bear to watch, other seasons it’s all I can do not to replay a game three times during week. I’ve at times been casual, meticulous, and absent in my fandom. I’ve been zealous, and then skeptical, and then angry, and then glad. It comes …

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on the Simpsons, and Keeping Score

In a short news promo before last night’s rerun of the Simpsons, something caught my attention about an upcoming hockey game. The sportscaster said, in her spiel about why the game was worth watching – “Every point counts!” It was a typical phrase, probably used daily in a sports broadcast somewhere around the world, a rhetorical statement not really specific to the game, but a general excitement builder. It made me pause and think, though – Does every point count? In hockey and soccer, yes. Goals are worth a point. In Baseball, yes, runs are worth a point. They matter. In other sports, the singular point is only incidental. There is a possibility that a single point (not several points at once) cannot be scored in basketball, football, and tennis. The ‘extra’ point in football is the only instance in which a team can add 1 to their tally, and …

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on Basketball

Among the Egyptian students, the American students, the Japanese and African students, the bright students and the wild students, Carmelo Anthony stood out as the most visible student on the tiny campus of Oak Hill Academy, tucked away in microscopic Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.Now on the worldwide stage, he stands out in the news media, on NBA basketball courts, and in the Olympic Games. I don’t remember the first time I met him.I might even venture to say I never actually met him, merely shared space with him, sitting in the same classrooms, chapels, library, gym, and cafeteria that he did during our senior year in high school.For a brief time, in a rural town plumb in the middle of Appalachia, our very different lives intersected.Yet, and such is true of all successful athletes, there remained a barrier between him and the rest of us.As his career has propelled him …

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