• "Swimmers are probably the most intensively trained of athletes; certainly in my day, at the high school level, there was no question. Swimmers seemed to train every day of the year at roughly the worst level I ever experienced, summer two-a-days in cross-country. Starting at 4:30 AM. But then you never risked running into anything while you were doing it."
--James B. S. Riley, part of the thirty-three year "discussion" with his Poor Wife--it should be pointed out here that she shares no responsibility for the interminability of this or any other argument where I'm involved--entitled "Swimmers vs. Track Athletes: What Crazy Shit is Riley Saying Now?" It's played in the spirit of fun. My Poor Wife knows it's played in the spirit of fun, and still humors me for some reason, probably testicle size, despite, y'know 1) being bored beyond human endurance; and 2) knowing that, at the core, it's not just for fun with me.
•Jeff MacGregor, "An Open Letter to Lance Armstrong: Confess". May 23
Rush Limbaugh, the West Palm Beach Balloonatic, makes regular crypto- and not-so-crypto-racist remarks. And it's important to remember that he's not just gotten away with it, but amassed a gaudy fortune doing so. The worst Limbaugh suffers in the mass-market news media is the condescending sneers of David Brooks.
Not so in the sports world, where the minute Limbaugh opened his racist yap he was out of a job.
Okay, so if I recall it actually took ESPN 72 hours to get a resignation out of him, but that's the suits. Sports journalists weren't having any part of it.
Sports journalism may be one of the least racist institutions in America (sexism is another matter). And that's why the continued high esteem Dishonesty is accorded is so disturbing.
When I was growing up sportscasters had lived through the college basketball points-shaving scandal, they remembered the Black Sox, and they knew prizefighting was occasionally not quite kosher. I don't recall anyone taking the attitude that "cheating was going to happen anyway". Big-time college athletics is the major culprit; it's difficult to find the sportsscribe who'll insist that college sports should remain, wholly and without blemish, an amateur affair. Particularly when it comes to paying athletes in top programs for being in top programs.
And this is interesting to me because the obvious alternative solution, that professional football and basketball actually fund their own development leagues and quit using college athletics as farm leagues, rarely is considered, and then only as "look at the stupid fucking alternative". Of course, if the problem of money in college athletics were solved that way--and it's not going to be solved the other way--the top programs in the country would be denuded of talent. Which the donors don't want, and the sportscasters don't want, because they'd rather cover USC-UCLA than the Lubbock Weevils vs. the Wyomaha Sparkle for the Class AA Mountain Conference championship.
I don't mean oversimplify Mr. MacGregor's position, but telling Lance to 'fees up now, and then point out everyone else was doing it, is about seven Tours tardy. At this late date anything Armstrong has to say is more in the way of a plea bargain. Assuming he's about to face real charges, or assuming that what everyone's been saying for years now is true, it's almost beyond belief anyone could propose any way at all he might redeem himself. The people who might still have a chance to come clean are sportswriters who've gone along with the status quo--wrecking, in the process, the fucking concept of Sport, as well as the record books of Major League Baseball and Track and Field--because that's where the open bar was. In the Land of the Wholly Unscrupulous the half-honest man is not king.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "All That Glitters May Redefine Run by Gingrich". May 24
Do we have to greet every pre-Primary season as though we are unfamiliar with the process? As though we have not held free elections in the living memory of anyone's parents? Gingrich can only be taken seriously because Trump was. It's a question of standards. Other than that, why th' fuck's the man on Meet the Press, or wherever he was, explaining anything? He's as big a phony as Trump, except he's got thirty years experience doing it in politics. There has never been any way other than a tornado striking the auditorium where every other Republican candidate was doing Meet & Greets, that Newt Gingrich gets within huffing distance of a primary victory. If anything and everything he says must be repeated on the air, it should be followed by the teleprompter reader in question reminding viewers that the man would fuck a woodpile on the chance there was a snake in it.*
George Eff Will, "Pawlenty's time to move". May 25
It just seems to me that an article expounding on Tim Pawlenty's opportunities which doesn't feel much compelled to mention Tim Pawlenty says a bit more than it might intend.
* I keep attributing this to Mr. Clemens.