— Charles P. Pierce. “The Human Drama.”
"Once every four years — or every two now, since they jacked around with the Olympic schedule, risking the wrath of Zeus — we get knocked out of our comfort zone a little and wind up rooting for athletes who compete in sports we don’t totally understand. This was the essential truth that Wide World taught a generation of fans: that competition is competition, even if you don’t completely grasp the rules of the game, let alone the people who devote their lives and hearts to playing it. This is especially true for the snow-and-ice events of the Winter Olympics. We have hockey, and we understand that. But we also have skeleton, with its echoes of the Cresta Run, and we have all those endless cross-country events, even the ones with guns that, as good Americans, we really ought to understand, but don’t. And I have short track, which is on the thin edge of chaos in every turn, much like life, I guess."
"How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives."
"So, I mean, not to sound too un–Jim Rome here, but at what point do we let humanity back into sports discourse? Isn’t it possible to get fed up with robotronic superstars who “control the narrative,” meaning warp their whole personas to fit some moistly goateed blood-pressure addict’s notion of how to overcompensate for masculine insecurity? Landon Donovan will never win over the guy who wants soulless cadet-destroyers trampling his favorite sports grass. He is maybe the least laser-sound-effect-friendly fast person in the history of professional athletics. But sadness is a thing people feel. Homesickness is a thing people feel. People are mostly uncool and prone to listen to terrible pop music. People get depressed. It’s normal to make decisions based on this stuff. I can barely look up what channel a match is on without browsing past three websites that make me feel like my brain is quietly disintegrating; no athlete owes it to me to make himself crazy doing his job."
Brian Phillips on Landon Donovan: Crying Out Loud