a digital common place book | an @s_m_i production | one of a few

We almost expect women athletes to not be classically beautiful or feminine, and therefore we’re not surprised to learn they’re gay. Male professional athletes, by contrast, are thought to be our most masculine specimens. So when they come out as gay, it seems they’re playing against type. Even more than with femininity, masculinity and heterosexuality are widely perceived to be linked. For all the progress that’s been made, there’s still a perception that the bullied gay kid is spending his after-school hours curating a Lana Del Rey Tumblr, not practicing with the varsity basketball team. The bullied teen lesbian? She’s the one on the court.

runners who’d loaded up on carbohydrates the day before the race ran faster than those who had eaten fewer carbohydrates. The difference was especially striking beginning at about the 18-mile mark, just when many runners famously “hit the wall” and feel their energy flag. The carbo-loaded runners jauntily maintained their pace. The others did not.

In both studies, carbohydrates eaten at breakfast on race day, during the race itself or on days earlier in the week were relatively unimportant. It was primarily what people ate on the day before the race that mattered.

it strikes me as at least compellingly problematic that this Ariel-Aurora pageant ideal is the image offered up by one of just two Summer Olympic sports that are open only to women. Because it folds back on itself: You want to support RG, because you want to support women’s sports — but then why, really, should world-class athletes have to put on makeup to win a medal?
- 'why, really, should world-class athletes have to put on makeup to win a medal?' - by @runofplay

Brian Phillips on Olympic rhythmic gymnastics - Grantland

Tennis, more than any other professional sport, seems to amplify the pain of losing. When a tennis player loses a match, he or she must face the pain all alone. There are no teammates to turn to, no caddy to give an enthusiastic pat on the back as the match slips from one’s grasp. A losing tennis player must shake hands, waive to the crowd and sit there alone, contemplating what could have been. There’s no easy way to lose a tennis match, especially when the match is the final of a grand slam and the pressures and expectations of the moment raise the stakes even higher.
In sports as well as technology, the real power of data isn’t that it’s open to everyone. That’s a fantasy. The point is to use data of any and all kinds to win. That’s why big companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon opposed SOPA/PIPA; the free flow of data across the web helps them to win. That is, up until the exact moment it arrives on their servers, at which point the vast majority of it disappears from public view forever.
to be fair, Brooks’ job as alien columnist for the New York Times changes every week. “Alien, write about immigration!” “Alien, it’s time for a crumbling American society column!” That is a difficult job. It may be made even more difficult if his bosses are aliens themselves, just throwing this other poor green thing wearing a human mask in a barn in suburban Virginia weird, non-sequential assignments on deadline at random.
With its giants in skimpy uniforms, basketball allows us to see, clearly and plainly, the differences between us, the fans, and the athletes on the floor. Our perception of those bodies is driven by antiquated, but overwhelmingly accepted ideas of race. Dwight Howard is described as the winner of a “genetic lottery.” Lebron is either “otherworldly” or “superhuman,” whereas Steve Nash’s success comes from his ability to “overcome his athletic limitations.” When confronted with the task of placing their man on either side of the divide, Jeremy Lin’s fans, who have spread their research out across message boards and sports blogs, point out his breakaway speed, his vertical leap, his deceptive height. What they do not discuss is his jump shot, his free-throw percentage or his ability to throw a crisp bounce pass. Somewhere in the endless comparisons, odd personal anecdotes about meeting the man, and obsessive odes to Lin’s musculature, these fans have placed an implicit caveat onto his story: if he makes it to the league and plays a White game, this will all be for nothing. Unfair, yes. But those of us trapped within the metanarrative have been conditioned our entire lives to imagine White. Like Jin before him, what Jeremy Lin represents is a re-conception of our bodies, a visible measure of how the emasculated Asian-American body might measure up to the mythic legion of Big Black supermen. Within that singularly American calculus, it’s not about basketball at all. It’s about our fucked up anthropology.
During the interwar period, public recognition of Jewish basketball led both Jews and non-Jews to describe basketball as a uniquely ‘Jewish game.’ The ‘Jewish game’ existed not simply because of the prevalence of Jewish players, but also because Jews were considered inherently good at basketball. This led to the construction of a racialized ‘basketball Jew,’ whose small, but quick body and mental agility produced the ideal basketball player. By considering the connection between racial identity and athleticism, this study of Jewish basketball will help reveal the relationship between sport and American Jewish culture, which involved play on the court and the meanings associated with this play.