– Great, great writing from Steve Rushin, best known for his work at SI, in this profile of the man in charge of the Boston Marathon. Rushin has a way with words, and the lead alone is worth the price of admission. Fantastic opening.
– Huh. Who would have guessed that living together first actually hurts couples who later get married? People are starting to get the idea that cohabiting doesn’t work. (Are you really going to enjoy marriage more if you’ve already had all the benefits with none of the commitment?)
– More great writing from new Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Sanders on the bravest woman in Seattle.
– Top Ten Table Tennis Shots of 2011. Unbelievable.
– And since I keep talking about great writing, here are seven tips on how to write well. My favorite is number five:
The meaning of life is all in verbs. If you emphasize verbs, you emphasize action. If you emphasize action, you have to emphasize people. If you emphasize people, you will have drama. If you have drama, you’ll have interest. And if you have interest, you’ll have the reader.
Some great stories the last couple days:
– Fantastic column from Joe Posnanski on Bubba Watson winning the Masters. Talks about why we love, watch and write about sports. Just a sample:
It feels like the rest of the entertainment world has been trying for years to express the immediacy of sports, to capture what it is about these games that captures us. What, after all, are reality TV shows except an effort to reproduce the drama and unexpected turns of sports? Cooking shows try to be like sports. Televised poker tries to be like sports. Movies try twist endings to surprise us the way sports can and do. Those questions — Will he or won’t he? Can she or can’t she? Victory or defeat? — will startle and thrill and frustrate us forever. This is why I love writing about games.
Plus he gets major bonus points for not one, but two Princess Bride references.
This additional SI coverage of Bubba is great as well. Love that he bought the General Lee from the old show The Dukes of Hazzard.
– Good advice on how to parent boys from The Resurgence.
– Martin Luther was a blogger? The Reformation was fueled by social media? Well, yeah, according to The Economist.
– Not always a big Rick Reilly fan, but he’s pretty good in this column on Manning/Tebow. He’s from Denver, so he’s got a good handle on the Broncos organization. Love this line:
It’s sad that the city of Denver will be losing a man as giving and selfless as Tebow, who spent more time in Denver hospitals than the Vicodin rep. Then again, Denver is getting a man who has a children’s hospital in Indianapolis named after him.
A couple thoughts on Manning/Tebow while I’m at it. Elway never seemed to like Tebow all that much, even when the team was winning and the fans were falling in love. Tebow was just so different than he was — how could that possibly be good? Wanted to tell Elway, “Dude, just support your quarterback and your team. It’s not that hard.”
Signing Peyton Manning was really the only way he could plausibly get rid of Tebow, and that’s what happened. Really, how can anyone blame him for going after one of the best quarterbacks of all time?
Here’s the thing, though: why does he have to get rid of Tebow? Isn’t having both of them the ideal situation? Manning comes in for a couple years, plays well, teaches Tebow everything he knows, sets the stage for Tebow to take over. Plus, you’ve got insurance if Manning gets hurt again, which is a distinct possibility.
But Elway won’t keep Tebow because he doesn’t want him. Seems crazy to get rid of a guy who inspires so much loyalty and passion, but who’d have thought Indy would tell Manning goodbye?
– Switching topics entirely, this is from World’s website on how an affair begins. It starts by not being careful, but ignoring the check in your spirit that God puts there for a reason. Good reminder.
– Always blows my mind how impossibly vast space is and how small we are. And then how incredible it is that God should set his mind upon us. Check it out here.
Got a batch from the last few days:
– The Jewish team from the last post that was willing to forfeit a trip to the state semifinals rather than play on the Sabbath? Ended up getting the game time changed, played and won.
– Speaking of basketball, fantastic interview with Coach Cal. You might not like him (I didn’t until he became our coach), but he works within the NCAA system better than most.
– Need a good insult? Check out Martin Luther’s collection. The man had a way with words. One example: “You are a wolf and apostle of Satan.” Okay, one more: “We leave you to your own devices, for nothing properly suits you except hypocrisy, flattery, and lies.”
– First rule of storytelling/newsgathering? Get the name of the dog. Seriously.
– Utterly brilliant analysis of the best comic strip of all time, Calvin and Hobbes.
More good stories:
– A high school Jewish basketball team in Texas is forfeiting a trip to the state semifinals because their game falls on Friday night at 9 — just after the beginning of their Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Gotta admire their courage to stick to their convictions.
– Wanna watch a bridge explode? Here you go. Pretty cool — it’s the Fort Steuben bridge over the Ohio River between Ohio and West Virginia. The slo-mo replay is even better.
– Great NYT story on the life of players trying to catch on in the NBA with 10-day contracts. They’ve got a really short window to impress. Story follows one such player named Andre Emmett and his 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets.
Now this is cool. Travis Pastrana, who is, shall we say, good at jumping cars and motorcyles through the air, takes on a new challenge — a backflip off a megaramp on the immortal Big Wheel. All kinds of goodness:
Plus, great footage of kids racing downhill on Big Wheels. Sweet. I can see about seven Hoak boys trying this in the not-too-distant-future:
I’m conflicted about whether or not to root for Tiger Woods as he makes his return to golf in the Masters this week.
Okay, I’m really not all that conflicted — I don’t want him to win. But I caught a few seconds of the broadcast today and another guy watching started clapping when Tiger made a birdie putt. People at the course seemed to be cheering for him too.
And that made me start thinking — why are they rooting for him? Why am I not?
They’ re rooting for him because America loves a good redemption story. I’m not because it doesn’t feel like he’s earned it yet.
His image has been shattered and he’s trying to pick up the pieces. He says lots of the right things, but does he really seem sincere? Not really, but he’s pretty tightly controlled most of the time. The way he has handled the media indicates that he still wants to control what people see about him, what they think. (His creepy new Nike ad does not help.)
But it hasn’t been that long. This is his first tournament since his life fell apart, his first competition, his first time back in the full glare of the spotlight. And he goes out and shoots a two-under the first day. Imagine if he wins — it will be difficult to find a news outlet talking about anything else.
Seems like he hasn’t earned our forgiveness yet, he hasn’t shown enough repentance, hasn’t shown us that he has truly changed from the self-absorbed, me-first star who made a mockery of his marriage. He doesn’t deserve my cheers, my praise. He needs to struggle through a few tournaments first, get booed and derided and shamed. Then maybe I’ll think about pulling for him.
Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not. His transgressions were pretty egregious. To prove he has changed will take some time and some work. He burned us once — it’ll take a while to earn back trust.
But here’s the thing — God’s forgiveness isn’t like that. You can’t earn it, work for it, add to it or suffer for it. It’s a free gift of grace, unmerited and undeserved, now and forever.
Forgiveness means a clean start, and in the few seconds I saw him today, Tiger seemed more relaxed, more loose, more cheerful. How could he not be compared to all he was carrying around before?
To be truly free, he needs the forgiveness of his Maker. (Yeah, that means Brit Hume was right.) And he can’t earn that. All he has to do is ask for it.
I liked Rick Pitino. Great coach, great style of play, motivational leader.
But apparently not a good role model. I would have sent my son to play for him. Not anymore, not on the heels of the revelation that he got drunk one night at a restaurant six years ago and had sex with a woman he had just met. She later became pregnant and he gave her money for “health insurance” — when he knew she was going to get an abortion.
This is not a man I want my son to be around. He says things like, “If you tell the truth, the problem becomes part of the past. If you lie, it become part of your future.” Which is true, as far as it goes, but the only reason he’s talking about it now is that he got caught. Otherwise, he would have continued lying about it.
The president of U of L and the AD should send him packing. Immediately. There is a clause in Pitino’s contract that allows him to be fired for moral depravity. Um, yeah, this qualifies.
But they’ll stand behind him, say they support him and we need to move forward, blah blah blah. Why? Because he wins games. If his record last year had been 5-31 instead of 31-5, he’d already be gone.
One other note. Where does he find his assistants and how much are they paid? One of them stuck around (to keep watch?) while Pitino was having sex after hours in the restaurant. Another let Pitino and Karen Sypher meet secretly at his condo so Pitino could pay her off. And then he later married her. Yeah.
Pitino was a great coach at Kentucky. He has done well at U of L. He’d have been on the list of my favorite coaches. And sure, he can find forgiveness. But he doesn’t need to be coaching young men.
The honorable way out would have been to meet with his team, tell them what he’d done, ask their forgiveness, resign and go home to work full-time on repairing his marriage and family. He could afford it.