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3:33 Sports Short #28 // Small Meditations by Michael Wasson

Crushed in the hands, the scent of pine needles & the smear of sap on the ball. My jump shot comes to me from hours behind my childhood home shooting at the hoop that my long-haired uncles drilled into the face of the pine. No real court to dribble on. That’s okay. I just shoot under the large pine that I mistake for a fatherly skeleton crucified at dusk. After a few weeks, the ball lies half-discolored. A face I’ve not touched in years it seems. Flattening. But I pick it up again & arc through the low hanging arms of this skeletal, living tree.


3:33 Sports Short #27 // Loop Recovery by Michael Nye

I said basketball, and the technician just laughed. He looked up from selecting the appropriate cast to wrap around my right ankle.

“Let me guess,” he said. “Shooting a layup.”

Here’s what happened: a jump shot had gone up strong side; I had been standing at the free throw line. The shot bricked, ricocheted high, and the rebound was batted in the air like a balloon, once, twice, then tapped to the corner. I turned to race after it. One player made a last leap for the ball, missed it, and landed directly on the back of my ankle. His weight anchored me, and his weight and force ruptured my Achilles.

The technician shook his head. “That’s crazy. I’ve never heard one like that.”

The paper underneath me crinkled as I shifted on the examination table. It occurred to me that if the guy was an inch or two to the other side of my leg, we probably just tangle up, crash, and my Achilles remains intact.

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.

Evil and Joy and That Other Mushy Part In-Between: An Interview with Kiese Laymon

by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

The deadline for our Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest is August 1st. The winner will receive a prize of $250 and publication in our Spring 2017 issue. Read below to get a sense of what contest judge Kiese Laymon is looking for. Click here to submit.

Your recent essays address Mississippi House Bill 1523, the conversation surrounding Bill Cosby and sexual assault, the hopes you have for your daughter, Mississippi football, and the church shootings in Charleston. In one essay you write that you are “concerned about any and all things relating to my body, your body, our feelings, power, sexual history, sexual imagination and intimacy.” What drives these concerns? What sets an essay in motion? How or why does the genre facilitate these conversations?

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 #24 // So Far by Mindy Misener

Today's pair of 3:33 Sports Shorts both concern one's relation to sports as time passes. Mindy Misener's piece below and Brook Randel's piece "Quitter" both explore loss, albeit in interestingly contradictory yet complementary ways. Enjoy!

I am in first grade and I am running full-tilt after a boy who has—as is the custom—seized and taken off with some girl’s plastic headband. My own teacher steps in front of me, intercepting me.

"Why are you doing this?” she asks me.

“If I don’t get them,” I say, “who will?”


There’s a scrawny, pale boy in my fourth-grade class. We are both on the track team, a connection I treasure. I am an industrious, rule-abiding student; this boy tells dirty jokes when the teacher leaves the room.

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.

3:33 Sports Short #20 // Twenty Years of Tango by Tariq al Haydar

Today's pair of 3:33 Sports Shorts are both about the most popular sport in the world: fùtbol, or, as we more commonly call it, soccer. Below is a post by Tariq al Haydar about how a Saudi winds up being a fan of Aregentina's soccer team. Click here for Rob Jacklosky on playing pick up soccer in New York City.

I’m a Saudi who loves soccer but hates the Saudi national team. I started rooting for Argentina in the early nineties, when the great Diego Maradona’s career was tiptoeing toward its twilight. Sometimes, I tell people that Maradona seduced me into loving Argentina, but that’s a lie. I fell in love with Argentina because of a video game. Pixelated players with fictional names: Fuerte, Domingo, Repala, Capitale. My cousin gave his fictional Germans nicknames like “Son of Satan” and “Hell’s Messenger.” To this day, I can’t stand Germany.


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