I'm writing this on an airplane. In the $10 choice between in-flight blogging and in-flight drinking, I may not have chosen wisely.
Get On The Bus With Royce White
In a fairly quiet first week of training camps, the biggest news came out of Houston, where it was reported that Royce White, one of the Rockets' draft picks, was holding out from camp until he and the Rockets could come to an agreement on a plan that would address White's well-publicized diagnoses of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders as he begins his NBA career. The plan would include a number of coping-mechanisms, including bus rides to close by games, diet changes, and regularly scheduled visits with team doctors and counselors. While most of the blogosphere and commenting public was in favor of White's decision, there were a few insensitive tweets send White's way. Henry Abbott, who has long championed recognizing the beauty of human imperfection in highly sculpted NBA athletes, writes a wonderful piece that contextualizes White's diagnoses in light of other injuries. Abbott reminds us that most athletes, when injured, have a plan for continued participation that take into account rest and recovery. Abbott asks a great question: why are White's mental health issues any different? This is a smart, sympathetic piece. The blogosphere is lucky to have Abbott around.
Royce White's holdout from training camp prompted a variety of responses, perhaps none more powerful than this short piece written by Matt Moore. Moore discloses that he, himself, suffers from anxiety disorder, and struggled to manage panic attacks throughout most of his younger years. Moore's experience with panic attacks can be summarized simply: "Panic attacks are like snowflakes that suck. They're all different." Moore's point is simple: everyone is different. Hence, it is not our job to offer assessments of whether White is "sick", "demanding" or "crazy". It's a good reminder from someone who, unfortunately, has first hand experience managing (and living successfully and functionally) with the disease.
Team USA's heavy use of Instagram and Twitter proved that NBA players, despite their fame and finances, really enjoy trips. They do. Perhaps it reminds them of times when basketball was just a game, and excursions related to said game was mostly focused on development and having fun. But it was clear that Team USA loved their traveling, spending time together, and chronicling it on various social networks. It is with that realization in mind that we observe recent pictures taken by the Sacramento Kings, who recently completed a team building weekend at a ropes course in Colorado Springs last week. There's nothing out of the ordinary here, except 6'8'', 250-something pound men, strapped up to harnesses and flying around trees like some sort of multi-millionaire church youth group. And the smiles on their faces seem genuine. Awwwww, our widdle Jimmer's making new fwiends.
The reason this piece is included in the reader is because of its theme: being a fan of a bad team. Moskovitz, a lifelong fan of the Pirates, issues this lament at the end of the Pirates' 20th losing season; one that saw them finish 79-83, and fall from first to fourth in the NL Central in epic fashion. Reading Moskovitz's smart analysis on why people root for bad teams, and the coping mechanisms they use to get by, reads almost like a instruction manual on "How To Cope With Your Always Terrible Team." Her most interesting assertion is that people are fans of bad teams to feel better about themselves; that seeing ineptitude, and supporting it through thick and thin, makes us feel better about our ability to persevere through tough times. Perhaps. Pirates and Warriors fans need to get together and start a support group.
It's a DC sportswriters internet brawl, and Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs) has all the dirty deets! In one corner: Michael Wilbon, former Washington Post columnist-turned-ESPN personality. In the other corner: Dan Steinberg, current Post columnist and lead blogger on the DC Sports blog. Their subject: Washington, D.C., and whether the city is one of America's "best sports town". Yoder's perspective: who cares? The answer: these guys. A lot. Tune in for the internet fisticuffs, and watch Wilbon totally lose his marbles on the Facebooks. Moral: I'm really happy I just do this blogging stuff for kicks.