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3:33 Sports Shorts

3:33 Sports Short #33 // The Rock Says by Francisco Delgado

We mourned The Rock when white people started to cheer him. They could buy The Rock’s merchandise carefree. They wore his t-shirts in the front row. Their voices, while as loud as ours, could actually be heard because they were so much closer.

We loved The Rock first, though: us misfit kids at school, us poor kids, the brown or black and the ugliest-of-all kids. When he debuted, he smiled the way we wished we could: a bright-white and unapologetic smile. We memorized it so we could substitute it for our own one day. Our teeth were either covered in braces or, even worse, still as crooked as they were when they came in and as crooked as they’d always be.

3:33 Sports Short #32 // Sex Tape by Michael Chin

After yesterday's piece on the noble sport of dodgeball we decided to follow it up with a duo of posts on another modern sport that artfully blends aggression and performance, professional wrestling. Below is Michael Chin's poetic recollection of his childhood memories of Hulk Hogan in light of the Hulkster's recent sex tape controversey. Click here for Francisco Delgado's meditation the experience of being a fan of The Rock before white kids started wearing his T-shirts.


I heard there was a Hulk Hogan sex tape. That he sleeps with his friend’s wife, and it may or may not have been his friend filming.

I heard Hulk knew he was on tape.

I heard that he didn’t.

I heard he was angry.

3:33 Sports Short #31 // Introduction to Dodgeball by Jenn Koiter

The game wants to be played. The way a story presses you to tell it. Without you, it is the mancala board’s dusty hollows, is pitz or faro, is dice in Egyptian tombs. You play because you want to, because, from the opening rush to the last woman out, your body knows exactly what to do. The court simplifies. Catch. Drill. Hold the corner, scamper, hunker down.

Whether you forget yourself in a flurry of purple no-sting dodgeballs, or move with conscious delight at being in a body, being in your body, is entirely up to you. If you sit down, the balls will come. If you want to be the best, learn how best to submit, how best to be complicit with the game as it moves you.

3:33 Sports Short #30 // Game Seven Overtime by Abigail Mitchell

At twenty-two I don’t think often of my history at ice rinks–salty fries, my uncle cheering at Raiders games, how the air smells and blades sound– but when I return it feels like a homecoming. I’m at my first hockey game in Anaheim and everything is bright, orange, loud. The Raiders no longer play at the Romford rink, and Romford is thousands of miles away, and tonight I’m surrounded by a sea of red as Blackhawks fans swarm the Honda Center. I’m thinking about how good it feels to shout like this, to want something so simple. I am thinking about how the cold air feels in my lungs, which is goddamn liberating. When Patrick Kane skates past us during warm ups, my voice joins the litany of support pouring through the glass, and I feel like I am a part of something for the first time since I came to California, since I ran away from everybody and everything for this soul-sucking desert of a godforsaken city.

3:33 Sports Short #29 // Perspective by Shelley Johansson

Today's pair of 3:33 Sports Shorts also focus on a sport that recently wrapped up in America... hockey! Although we don't have any fond memories from a writer who grew up loving the Penguins in the glory days of Mario Lemieux, we do have Shelley Johansson's lyrical recalling of the iconic "Miracle on Ice" and a harrowing recollection of what it felt like to be a fan on the losing end of an intense seven game Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, courtesy of Abigail Mitchell. Enjoy!

3:33 Sports Short #26 // Vanished Cathedral, Recollections from a Cavaliers Childhood by Doug Cornett

The 3:33 Sports Shorts series is back! We're kicking off this week with a trio of posts about basketball. The first comes courtesy of the recently vindicated Doug Cornett, whose lifelong fandom of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers has just been rewarded with a championship! We've also got great work from Michael Nye on recovering from Achilles surgery after a basketball injury, and Michael Wasson on growing up playing basketball where hoops and courts are hard to come by.


It’s the early round of the NBA playoffs, 1992. I’m ten years old, settled into the belly of the Richfield Coliseum, the Palace on the Prairie, to watch our boys do battle.

3:33 Sports Short #25 // Quitter by Brooke Randel

The first sport I quit was softball. I had been playing since elementary school, but by junior high, everyone had become bigger and stronger. They outgrew me. My bat speed wasn't fast enough, my fielding wasn't fast enough, I wasn't fast enough. I didn't even quit fast enough. The last season I played I got beaned in the head by a foul ball from another game.

3:33 Sports Short #23 // “Mad Man” Pondo by Dylan D. Debelis

Screams. Drowned out by the weedwacker whirr slicing skin off “sick” Nick Mondo’s chest.

Light-tube graveyard. Florescent ghosts lodging themselves inside the gummy throats and wounds from barbed wire that replaced the ring ropes.

I called in sick to school more than once to stay home and watch Cage of Death matches.

Looking back on my skinny arms I’m not sure what drew the lines in like fish hooks through my eyes.

How far the knee will bend before the bone pokes through.

Two bodies, just over forty years between the two of them, sticking their veins with tacks and glass for a fifteen hundred person sellout crowd in a high school gym.

The reverence of violence. When his skull cracked against the concrete I heard the crowd let out a gasp of solemn prayer.

3:33 Sports Short #22 // Foil by Ann E. Michael

Today's duo of Sports Shorts both share formal qualities insofar as both are short, lyric, meditative bursts on sports quite different from one another: fencing and professional wrestling. Below is Ann E. Michael on the former, click here for Dylan D. Debelis on the latter.

3:33 Sports Short #21 // Pick Up Soccer in the City by Rob Jacklosky

Seven years ago, six strangers met in the "dust bowl" of Central Park on a hot Saturday morning to kick a soccer ball around. The woman who organized this "Meet Up" was named Julie. It was called the "The Manhattan (Beginning) Pick-Up Soccer Meetup." Others in attendance that day and the succeeding Saturdays were Dale, Paul, and Simon. Like other Meet Ups organized through Meet Up.com, these people had nothing other than soccer in common, and affiliated randomly on the basis of a whim. They somehow found the Meet Up post, paid two dollars and met at the corner of Central Park West to see what was up.

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