March 25, 2017

"There were five Wisconsin players and one whirring blur of white cleaving all of them..."

"... a Florida point guard motoring up the court, veering out of control and finally planting his foot at just the right spot. It had to be the right spot, just beyond the 3-point line. It had to be the right time. It had to float for what seemed like an eternity and disappear softly through the net."

Sportswriting. In the NYT.

That's written by Zach Schonbrun. The game is lost. Let's rate the sportswriting. Just the part I've quoted above.

Rate the sportswriting quoted above.
 
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71 comments:

tim maguire said...

It's hard writing the same thing over and over and making it sound different. Sportswriting is some of the toughest writing there is.

David Baker said...

I watched the whole game and didn't see any white cleavage on or off the court.

rehajm said...

At least they got the picture right.

rhhardin said...

There's no woman in it. No plot.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

This quote has a sportscaster play-by-play vibe.

Can't complain that it is what it is.

Laslo Spatula said...

The Morning After the Game....

"Baby, you were right. I should've been practicing my free-throws. Then I could have anal sex. And talk about Injustice. As a Winner."

"Nigel, you did the best you could. Basketball isn't everything, you know..."

"Yeah, but now the White Man can criticize me for not being clutch. That's an Injustice, too."

"I know what this is REALLY about, Nigel?"

"Yeah? What's that?"

"It's about getting drafted by the NBA. Don't worry, baby: you'll still be a High Pick. And then you'll be in the NBA, where you can talk about Injustice. And have anal sex."

"You know me better than I know myself, I think."

"Just call it a Transsexual Woman's Intuition."

'Yeah. The NBA is used to the Black Brothers not making free-throws: it's all good."

"About the NBA..."

"Yeah?"

"A lot of the players have sex with groupies in every city."

"Oh, baby -- I ain't like that --"

"No, no: it's okay. But I want to let you in on a Secret."

:What's that?"

"A LOT of those NBA groupies are transsexuals."

"No shit?"

"Oh, it's common knowledge in the Community. NBA Stars are fucking all kinds of women who still have their cock and balls."

"Wow. Even LeBron?"

"Even LeBron, baby. You know that woman Kobe Bryant was accused of raping?"

"Yeah...?"

"She was a dude. That's why that shit got so out of hand."

"I had no idea..."

"Just wanted to let you know, Nigel. Now how about we have anal sex. And talk about Injustice."

"Sure thing.... ...but even LeBron?

"Even LeBron, baby: even LeBron..."

I am Laslo.

rehajm said...

I bet if you'd rolled a basketball into Zach's cubicle a couple of weeks ago he would have called maintenance for an exterminator.

rhhardin said...

You could read it as a description of sexual intercourse I suppose, with the writer taking some liberties.

Mark said...

You want to know what's old and tired?

Complaining about poorly written sports stories. The guys who go into that usually took a couple extra head shots as kids while playing sports.

Curious George said...

Showalter isn't doing that belt shit now https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/03/26/sports/25florida12/25florida12-superJumbo-v2.jpg

Curious George said...

"Mark said...
You want to know what's old and tired?

Complaining about poorly written sports stories. The guys who go into that usually took a couple extra head shots as kids while playing sports."

No they usually were in chess club in high school.

rhhardin said...

It reminds me of the wastebasket shot across the office I made once.

rhhardin said...

I thihk that was before they had 3 points though.

I'm hazy on the rules and so also their history.

rhhardin said...

Explaining the rules of basketball to a math major could be a comedy bit.

David Begley said...

Wasn't the FL player a tatted up Black guy in Florida's home white uniform?

rhhardin said...

Other rules I don't know: hockey, baseball, football, and of course soccer.

rehajm said...

Showalter turned toward Rodgers and mimicked Rodgers’s signature championship-belt celebration.

Isn't that belt shit commonly known as The Discount Double Check? Odds are that'd be news to Zach...

rhhardin said...

I'm good on cross-country, track and fencing rules.

rhhardin said...

You don't earn varsity letters at Oberlin without knowing rules, at least in your own mandated sport.

Big Mike said...

If Schonbrun knew something about the game of basketball perhaps he could explain how the Florida point guard had no one in his face while taking the shot. Looks as though he was pretty undefended.

Three teams from the SEC in the Elite Eight. Zero from the Big Ten.

rhhardin said...

Sports writers could try going for understatement, except that it's hard to do understatement with sports.

Radio Derb this week gives the understatement prize to the Emperor of Japan on losing WWII

For superlative breathtaking understatement, I think the international crown has to go to the late Emperor of Japan, telling his subjects over the radio following the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by nuclear weapons that "The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage."

Let that be a model for sports writers.

rhhardin said...

I suppose that's litotes.

rhhardin said...

Though there's no indication that the Emperor was being ironic.

Eric said...

I'm surprised that the NYT is covering men's basketball.

rhhardin said...

"Here's General Eisenhower's phone number and here's the English for 'We give up.'"

Mitchell and Webb The New Fuehrer.

Writing the end of the contest, another model.

DavidD said...

He missed the opportunity to say "motorvating".

Bob Boyd said...

It's edgy to use the word "white" in any context at the New York Times these days.

Saint Croix said...

methinks this poll might be skewed by, uh, Wisconsin voters

Saint Croix said...

I just hope Nate Silver doesn't do a front page scoop on bad polling data on the Althouse blog

this isn't science damn it, this is a law blog!

when it's not an art blog!

not fake news so much as unhappy fans

real journalists know the difference

I had Villanova and UVA in my brackets so no dog in this hunt whatsoever

completely unbiased!

good sportswriting, props buddy

Curious George said...

"rehajm said...
Showalter turned toward Rodgers and mimicked Rodgers’s signature championship-belt celebration.

Isn't that belt shit commonly known as The Discount Double Check? Odds are that'd be news to Zach..."

I'm not sure if you are being facetious, but the "belt shit" is Rodgers mimicking the WWE move of showcasing the belt after victory. State Farm did a series of commercials were he was mocked because he copied their "Discount Double Check."

Curious George said...

"Big Mike said...
If Schonbrun knew something about the game of basketball perhaps he could explain how the Florida point guard had no one in his face while taking the shot. Looks as though he was pretty undefended.

Three teams from the SEC in the Elite Eight. Zero from the Big Ten."

They didn't want to foul. Unlike Florida who should have fouled at the end of regulation time with a three point lead, Wisconsin was only up two.

Meade said...

Nice blog post.

It had to be posted in just the right spot, just beyond the cafe post but before the Obamacare post. It had to be posted at the right time. It had to float for what seemed like an eternity and disappear softly through the internet.

AllenS said...

No need whatsoever to second guess what the Badgers should have done. It is what it is.

Meade said...

Your post was a whirling blur of white flummox .

Laslo Spatula said...

Meade said...3/25/17, 8:32 AM

Well done.

But there was no 'white cleaving'.

That would have made it stellar.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Isn't "White Flummox" a racist Dr. Suess character?

Read Dr. Suess with an eye for White Supremecy and you'll be surprised by what you find.

You'll never read "Green Eggs and Ham" the same way again.

I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

I love Meade's comment, but you should have heard the conversation we were having just before I read it. I was criticizing the use of the phrase "whirring blur of white" to refer to a human being who is not white. Meade acted as if I didn't know the writer was describing what he saw, the white uniform. I said I knew he was doing that literary thing of being very visual, but the man is a human being, having his great moment, and why should this be the point where you just have to go with metonymy.

robother said...

"Motoring up the court" is definitely old school radio broadcaster talk. I haven''t heard that phrase in over 30 years.

Ann Althouse said...

I was referring to Meade's 8:32 AM.

Not his 8:35, which is referring to the same thing I'm talking about at 8:39 and also using an earlier conversation we had about the "roundelay" post. Meade was the one person who knew (until he wrote that and revealed it to the world) that my favorite word is "flummox."

Laslo Spatula said...

" I said I knew he was doing that literary thing of being very visual, but the man is a human being, having his great moment, and why should this be the point where you just have to go with metonymy."

That was my thought, too. Really. Headline makes you think it was a White Guy to the rescue. Which undercuts the magic of the man who actually made it happen.

"but you should have heard the conversation we were having just before I read it."

You never invite me over for breakfast and coffee.

I am Laslo.

Meade said...

Notice I used the appropriate word, whirling, unlike the sports writer (whirring). Whirring refers to sound. Whirling is visual.

Now excuse me while I write a roundelay.

rehajm said...

but you should have heard the conversation we were having just before I read it.

I'm picturing you sitting ten feet from each other, messaging.

Meade said...

"You never invite me over for breakfast and coffee."

That's odd. I could've sworn you're here every morning. Just before Zeus whirls his tail as he motors through the back yard hostas, cleaving all of them and floating for what seems like an eternity and disappearing softly through the house looking for his stuffed raccoon.

Sebastian said...

It's so bad it's good. But basketballs don't "disappear" though the net.

Laslo Spatula said...

"I'm picturing you sitting ten feet from each other, messaging."

I'M picturing them sitting ten feet from each other, massaging.

Because of the distance, a massaging device is involved.

Ah, yes: Here it is.

But use the Althouse Portal, not the link.

I bet you were expecting a 'different' kind of 'massaging device'.

I know how you people think.

I am Laslo.

Meade said...

...fetchingly fetching his raccoon, veering here and there, in and out, to and fro. Before dropping it softly at my feet while making a low weird preternatural whirring sound deep in his canine throat that says, "where's my shining moment of a biscuit, bro?"

Meade said...

Sorry... I meant a low weird preternatural whirring sound deep in his canine throat that seems to say...

Laslo Spatula said...

In my 8:59 AM comment I picture Althouse and Meade each having a pad, but having the other's remote control.

That would be just like them.

I am Laslo.

cronus titan said...

Meade, does this mean that (unlike Villanova) Florida campaigned in Wisconsin?

Meade said...

And you wonder why we can't have you over for breakfast.

Meade said...

@cronus, not only did Florida campaign, but It's as if Hillary didn't even bother to watch the tapes.

J2 said...

I voted for beautifully written.

I have to discount the reviews from anyone who did not see this play in real time.

Anne, what do you mean "The game is lost."? Not in my bracket.

(Also please correct my punctuation)

khesanh0802 said...

I don't watch men's basketball, but I read enough comments to get me to look at the box score. WI foul shooting wasn't great (67%), but it wasn't much worse than FL (71%). The real problem in the box score is that K. Allen scored 35 (!) points. Did WI decide not to cover the guy? If K. Allen had scored his season average points (15) WI would have won by 20. Clearly something wrong wth WI defensive game plan.

I know this is a cliche, but "defense wins championships."

damikesc said...

I know this is a cliche, but "defense wins championships."

My alma mater is certainly praying that is the case. They shut Baylor down something fierce.

Steven Wilson said...

As bad as it was to be a WVU fan on Thursday night, it was much worse to be a Badger at the conclusion of this game. I just happened to to tune in to see the free throws and the subsequent frantic dash down the floor. I remember thinking at the time it
would probably be better to miss the second free throw and cause Florida to improvise rather than have a set play.

Nyamujal said...

"...The game is lost.."

I blame Olivia Munn.

mockturtle said...

Typical sportspeak.

The Battle of the Jesuits today: Xavier vs. Gonzaga. Go Zags!

BudBrown said...

I vote the whirring white critique is a trolling. At least in basketball these days nobody this side of a college safe space should get race confused into that. I vote the use of softly is the crime. 3 pointers don't do softly. Suddenly maybe works but then that could be some kind of sex crime on campus these days. They sat in the parked car for what seemed like an eternity and then softly banged their teeth together.

Meade said...

mockturtle said...

"The Battle of the Jesuits today: Xavier vs. Gonzaga. Go Zags!"

Gonzaga has reached eight Sweet 16s and three Elite Eights, but the Bulldogs have never played in a Final Four. For Xavier those numbers are, well, exactly the same.

The hoops gods must like coincidences. The basketball programs of these two Jesuit schools, 2,000 miles apart, have mirrored each other with an eerie degree of fidelity over the last two decades.

Yancey Ward said...

It is piss poor writing because it is just fucking inaccurate. You want to know why the Florida guard was able to get off that shot? It wasn't 5 Wisconsin players vs 1 Florida guard- all of Florida's players were there as potential shooters off a pass once the ball passed mid-court- Wisconsin's defense had to respect that, and you want Florida to take a shot like that rather than a normal jump shot, unfortunately for Wisconsin that off-balance runner went in for Florida, too. Remarkable.

Yancey Ward said...

"I remember thinking at the time it would probably be better to miss the second free throw and cause Florida to improvise rather than have a set play."

Steven, yes- Florida was out of timeouts and having to rebound the miss would have cost Florida at least a second in time and 20 feet of floor distance. In fact, I was shocked that Wisconsin didn't use the last timeout after Hayes hit the first foul shot to at least discuss the best strategy. You run the risk of losing to a two-pointer by deliberately missing the second foul shot, but it was never all that likely that Florida was going to shoot anything other than a three-pointer of some sort given there being only four seconds left.

Saint Croix said...

It is piss poor writing because it is just fucking inaccurate.

That's an awesome first sentence, in my opinion. It's not Call me Ishmael or Mom died today. But for literary criticism, that works for me.

You want to know why the Florida guard was able to get off that shot? It wasn't 5 Wisconsin players vs 1 Florida guard- all of Florida's players were there as potential shooters off a pass once the ball passed mid-court- Wisconsin's defense had to respect that, and you want Florida to take a shot like that rather than a normal jump shot, unfortunately for Wisconsin that off-balance runner went in for Florida, too. Remarkable.

That's why every color commentator needs a solid play-by-play man, otherwise we don't even know what the hell game we're playing. Is this lacrosse? Where the hell are we? But there's room for poetry in journalism, that's all I'm saying. Also I think we should allow "fuck" and "piss-poor." But maybe just on cable.

SukieTawdry said...

I think it would make Jim Murray gag.

Zach said...

"Whirring blur of white" is fine.

"It had to be the right spot, just beyond the 3-point line. " is trite. If you need a three pointer, just past the three point line is the place to be. It's not thematically appropriate, it's just the rules of basketball.

mockturtle said...

Saint-Croix asserts: That's why every color commentator needs a solid play-by-play man, otherwise we don't even know what the hell game we're playing. Is this lacrosse? Where the hell are we? But there's room for poetry in journalism, that's all I'm saying. Also I think we should allow "fuck" and "piss-poor." But maybe just on cable.

I sometimes listen to baseball games in Spanish because there is ONLY a play-by-play announcer.

Ann Althouse said...

""Whirring blur of white" is fine."

But there was no whirring at all. If you want to refer to sound, the word should be "squeaking."

Ann Althouse said...

""It had to be the right spot, just beyond the 3-point line. " is trite. If you need a three pointer, just past the three point line is the place to be. It's not thematically appropriate, it's just the rules of basketball."

But since he was moving toward the line, the right spot WASN'T beyond it. It was BEFORE it.

He's trying to put us there, seeing what was to be seen, but the words don't take us where we need to be.

David53 said...

From a previous post,

"That white Florida player wasn't too proud to shoot his free throws granny style. Made them both. Just sayin."

That white kid is NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry's son, Canyon Barry. If you don't know about the Barrys' and their unorthodox free throw shooting you haven't watched much basketball. Rick's lifetime NBA FT% is .900, Canyon is only shooting .890 this year. Canyon's 7 points, including 3 for 3 from the line, and an incredible block of a run-away layup at the end of the game were crucial to the Gator's win. Go SEC!

DanTheMan said...

>>an incredible block of a run-away layup at the end of the game

That's the play of the game to me. Without that, the 3 pointer is meaningless.

mockturtle said...

""Whirring blur of white" is fine."

But there was no whirring at all. If you want to refer to sound, the word should be "squeaking."


Few of us sports fans are Lit majors. And 'squeaking' simply lacks the necessary alliteration. [Squeaking blur?]

mockturtle said...

Both of my teams won today. Great day!!! :-)