Thursday Required Reading

Harvard first year becomes youngest person ever to serve in Icelandic Parliament. Extra credit if you can spell her name.

Kohler can now run a bath with just a voice command. Need.

Forget giant asteroids, the Doomsday Glacier is coming for us all.

Next up in Ethiopia. Deepest bench in the world.

Sign of the apocalypse.

Less Politics, More Sports

Politics, in the (dis)United States is similar to sports in that one of two parties wins each election, but politics is significantly different from sports because the parties’ policy differences directly impact our quality of life. When your favorite athlete or sports team loses, life goes on, the same as before. There’s far, far less at stake.

Politics is a never-ending contest to create more hopeful, opportunistic conditions in which people might thrive; while sports is about unfulfilled fantasies mixed with the delusion that you can will your team to victory and the temporal bragging rights winning accords you. The bragging rights are fleeting because after every season records are wiped clean and there’s a complete reset.

In politics, we’re at a point where each side almost instinctively questions one another’s sanity and humanity. In contrast, we don’t wonder how can a sane person be a Chicago Bears fan, a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, a Chelsea fan, a Duke fan? Well, maybe Duke isn’t the best example since any Carolina fan will tell you that Duke has a distinctively Republican vibe. But I digress. We know sports fans choose their teams based upon some mix of nostalgia and geography, not a sense of superiority.

In contemporary U.S. politics, resentments continuously build. Records are never wiped clean and there are never any resets. As the last 5-10 years so clearly illustrates, antipathy just builds and builds and builds.

It’s to the point now, where I believe many Republican opinion leaders care more about Democrats doing poorly in elections than they care about the country doing well. Undoubtedly, many Republicans suspect the same of many Democratic opinion leaders.

That myopia of only seeing electoral trees at the expense of the forest is distinct to politics. Sports fans don’t cheer when opposing players are injured. In fact, despite a minority of “boo birds”, the majority don’t root against the other team, they simply root for their “home” team.

Of course, the problem with my “less politics, more sports” plea is that political apathy enables incompetent and/or corrupt politicians to harm the common good even more. In the end, I’m advocating for being more sports-like in our politics. How about organizing and rooting for your team without demonizing the other one nearly as much. And for a change of pace, root for your country even more than your team.

Monday Required Reading

There is no vacation from reading. Indeed, some take the view that there’s no vocation, but reading.

The rich vs the very, very rich: the Wentworth Golf Club rebellion. The makings of a great novel.

The very, very rich vs the Mormon church. I’d read that novel too.

It’s time for car companies to shut up about electric vehicles and just ship them. Amen.

Norway’s most popular cycle route. Yes please.

Here’s what schools are doing to try to address students’ social-emotional needs. Shame on me, I shoulda lead with this.

2021 Sportsperson Of The Year

This morning I asked the GalPal if she wanted to say anything on behalf of her candidacy for 2021 Sportsperson of the Year. But instead of touting her 2021 athletic greatest hits, she declined, saying, “I’m not into competition anymore.” 

How ironic because that’s exactly what this year’s winner says in the middle of this short documentary about what I’m deeming 2021’s Athletic Accomplishment of the Year. 

I present to you, the 2021 Sportsperson of the Year, Lachlan Morton and the 2021 Athletic Accomplishment of the Year, The Alt Tour.

What is there not to love about Morton? Among other attributes that tipped the scale his way was his self-awareness, his social conscience, his sense of humor, his commitment to fun, and his utter lack of ego. 

Sportsperson of the Year honorable mention goes to two athletes who, like Lachy, also inspire lots of other people without much media coverage at all (not counting Strava and Insta).   

Jeanette Byrnes for her commitment to open water swimming and monthly open water plunges sans wetsuit. #nails 

Dan, Dan, the Former Transportation Man for sticking like velcro for another year to the Boon Running Team, of which I am a proud member, despite giving up 2-13 years to the youngish, handsome “legends in their own minds” that make up the team. #nails

Sports Accomplishment of the Year honorable mention. M.A.’s inaugural marathon at 62 years young. Way to go rook.

The best of the rest: Tom Brady. 

The Covid Ball Is In The NBA’s Court

From “The NBA’s Big Covid Choice” by Ethan Strauss.

“The NBA actually has an opportunity here to end the precautionary moment, or at least signal its ebb. If commissioner Adam Silver steps forward and announces that his league is ending test protocols and treating this admittedly terrible disease in much the same way we deal with some other respiratory illnesses, that’s a potential cultural shift. The basic plan would be to test players and team officials only if they’re obviously sick (and sit said players if they test positive). And no more of the contact tracing that’s gummed up work behind the scenes of a highly mobile industry. The message could be simple: Look, we can’t functionally operate like it’s 2020; now that the disease is endemic, and vaccines are widely available, we must move into 2022.

This could be an influential move for all the reasons the NBA lockdown was important back in 2020, but now with one new one: The NBA is the archetypal blue state sport. The Covid question has broken along partisan lines, with Democrat-voting spaces far more likely to embrace interventionist measures. If the NBA announces a relaxation, there’s an element of “Nixon goes to China,” a credibility inherent to going against the grain. Such a proclamation grants space if not permission for other non-red world institutions to follow suit and open up despite the surge.”

Do read the whole thing. As thoughtful a rumination on our predicament with the “invisible enemy” as I’ve read. Granted, I might feel that way because I agree with Strauss.

Louisville’s Lakeside Swim Club

Dig the pictures. From the time I was 3 to 9 years-old, my family lived on Cardiff Road in Louisville, eight miles from this gem according to Google Maps.

I did not know LSC existed until stumbling upon this article. My fam frequented the much closer Plantation Country Club on a daily basis. Yes, you read that correctly, Plantation Country Club. Here’s some history on it. In short, it was an inexpensive, decidedly middle class public swim/tennis/golf club that no longer exists. My sister and a friend taught me to swim there. My brother was a 10-meter dare-devil jumping legend. I started playing golf there when I was 5 or 6. It was a nine hole executive course with lots of par 3s and short 4s. The first hole was about 75 yards long and I dominated it. My tennis greatness can also be traced back to Plantation. As well as my chronic skin cancer.

Hard to believe that when I was 6 and 7 years old, I’d lay a couple of clubs and a putter across my bicycle handlebars and ride to the course, crossing a very busy thoroughfare on the way. A benefit of being the fourth child I suppose.

My most vivid memory of those years—besides the Twinkies—was a family dinner after a long summer’s day on the links. I was a young Tommy Bolt. Earlier that evening, unbeknownst to me, my dad drove past the course on his way home from selling kitchen appliances at General Electric at the exact moment I let a club fly into the upper atmosphere. As dinner drew to a close, my dad said, “If I EVER see you toss another club, those will be your last ones!” And then it kinda ramped up from there.

My dinner plate overflowed with tears. And I never threw another club. Half of this paragraph is true.