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3:33 Sports Shorts

3:33 Sports Short #63 // Calvinist Football by Zachary Allard

My father suffers from a rare neurological disorder, and he's in pain every moment of the day. For most of his life, he was a proud working man, collar blue to the skin. He bought used pickups and changed the brakes himself. There were times he worked as many as four jobs. Today, he's on disability, and there's little else he can do than sit in his chair, feeling trapped.

And every Sunday, he watches football. He reads about The Dallas Cowboys during the week. He knows the names of the players and we talk about them when I call home.


3:33 Sports Short #62 // American Football: The Modern Day Spartan Agōgē by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Dating back to the 6th century BCE Sparta mandated military training for all males ages 7 and up. Renowned throughout history as the ultimate rite of passage for male youth, the agōgē’s pulse can be found today in the form of American Football.

I know because I lived it, and in Texas no less.

Why can’t we move on from this ancient rite?

The simple answer?

All the powerful countries in the world are dictated by ancient faith(s) and ancient rites; why would this be any different? Evolution has plateaued and the “Me vs. You” instinct has never been more prevalent.

3:33 Sports Short #61 // At Home by Daiva Markelis

I prefer watching baseball on television rather than in the ballpark. I like seeing pitchers talking to themselves (Did he just use the f-word?) and batters high-fiving each other in the dugout. I enjoy observing the distorted faces of managers as they argue with the umps. Most of all I love viewing the players up close: the big-assed batters who look like short-order cooks, the wiry pitchers with Gumby-like arms, the players too short and skinny to succeed in most other sports. They’re clearly athletes, but they look like younger versions of my dad.  Their faces reveal a roiling sea of emotion I don’t often see in men in real life, at least not in the space of two and a half hours: anger, disgust, worry, hope, relief, vulnerability, gratitude, and elation.

3:33 Sports Short #60 // We Ain't Supposed To Play by Lorraine Caputo

I rubbed oil into my new Dave Winfield mitt. Being the youngest of the older four kids in a family that could only afford one worn glove, I finally had my own. For several months, a friend taught me to catch – a skill I never really learned as a kid in our backyard games. Oh, I can smack that ball okay (how many windows we broke!) and I’ve still got a mean pitching arm. But no, I never learned how to catch.

In 1988, I was ready to hit the road for my first trip to Central America, come what will – even a pick-up game with kids. I packed that glove and a new ball into the bottom of my old canvas pack and headed to the bus station. They would provide much fun over the next few months – even playing catch with three Honduran soldiers on the border with Nicaragua.

3:33 Sports Short #59 // Not Supposed to by Micah Ling

You searched “boxing gym with nice showers.” You wanted to learn how to box, but only if you could do it early in the morning and shower before work. You wanted to learn how to box because you’re a woman and you’re not supposed to. You wanted to learn how to box because it’s like dancing but with fire.

This is New York City, so you found your gym. Chelsea. It’s an intimidating room: 40 hanging bags, low light, and loud music.  You signed up for a class, and it’s been your religion ever since.

First you jog a mile, to warm up: you need to run. Your father taught you that.

The class is 45-minutes of sweat. Old-school calisthenics, shadowboxing with hand-wraps, and 7 rounds on the heavy-bags with gloves. You learn the difference between speed and strength. And the exact length of a single minute.

3:33 Sports Short #58 // Learning to Fall by Jennifer McGuiggan

We started my very first practice with a falling drill. Knowing how to fall correctly is a key part of roller derby. It's not that you want to fall, but you have to accept that it's going to happen, and you need to know how to do it as safely and painlessly as possible. Plus—and this is the real kicker—you need to not fear it. This mental aspect is much harder to master than the physical aspects of falling safely.

Strap eight wheels onto your feet, and everything in your body and mind screams at you: No! For the love of your beautiful bones, don't fall! You must overcome this. You have to trust that all of this gear you're wearing will protect if you just follow the instructions of how to move your body.

3:33 Sports Short #57 // Translations by Gabrielle Bellot

When I rode a skateboard, hope seemed to live all around me, seemed to twinkle in my hair like fireflies. I was younger back then, and I had not as yet released the woman inside me, the girl I had long known I was but had felt I must deny to live, but I still existed in a world of pure hope, sometimes, when I got on my board. I would find a deserted place on my college campus in the United States, a sea from my home in the Caribbean where I had grown up hearing that skateboards were ‘for white boys,’ and I would try to become a ballerina of the pavement. I could hardly even ollie, the most basic trick in street skating, but what I wanted more than anything was to be able to freestyle on the board like Rodney Mullen. It seemed beautiful, the lyrical-made-physical, to do the strange tricks my friends who skated did not think to attempt, the primos, truckstands, walk-the-dogs, manuals.

3:33 Sports Short #56 // On Favorite Sports by Libby Kalmbach

“Chess boxing,” is what my brother Bob says without hesitation when asked what his favorite sport is. Chess boxing, for the uninitiated, is a hybrid competition in which two people alternate rounds of chess with rounds of boxing.

“Basketball,” is what I say if you ask me. Basketball, for the uninitiated, is a sport in which teams of five players compete against each other in trying to score the most points by launching a rubber ball through a hoop mounted about 10 feet off the ground.

Chess boxing was invented by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh. I can’t say for sure that it’s the only sport invented by a performance artist, but it just might be.

Basketball was invented by Canadian medical doctor James Naismith. I don’t know whether it is the only sport invented by a medical doctor. It seems entirely possible that it is not.

Bob was not very interested in sports as a child.

3:33 Sports Short #55 // Mind Games by Amaris Ketcham

I started fencing about a year ago. In addition to learning a thousand and one new French vocabulary words, that is possible to avoid being immediately stabbed every single time I squat en guarde, I have learned some of the standard ways that fencers talk about the sport to non-fencers. The most common comparison they use? “Fencing is like a physical game of chess.”

Now, I admit that I don’t know much about chess, but I assume fencers mean both have a strategic and a tactical element. Strategy is about long-term thinking, setting up positions for certain advantages later. You can watch how someone plays and devise exactly how you’ll win when you play them next.

3:33 Sports Short #54 // Connections by Vandana Khanna

Thousands of miles away and 10 hours into a new day, my grandfather would call me, when his phone line was working, to talk McEnroe and Connors, Lendl and Amritraj. Tennis was the one of the few things a nine year old in America and a 60 year old in India had in common. We would watch the matches separated by oceans and time zones and continents, me on the small boxed TV in our cramped living room in Virginia, he on his first-ever color TV in Greater Kailash. Over the random static and echoed voices of a typical transatlantic phone call, we would talk shots and drama.


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