Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Who Says Sportswriting Has to be Dull and Leaden?

Not much time to write today, but I nevertheless feel the urge to pass along a few choice tidbits that have recently caught my attention. Like this brief passage about Lebron James. It was written by Tacoma News Tribune columnist John McGrath, on the occasion of the Cavs' west coast swing last week. I think it comes the closest I've seen to describing the true nature of Lebron's court brilliance, to say nothing of being vividly and wonderfully written:
A teenager until three weeks ago, the NBA's defending Rookie of the Year is as talented as advertised. But there's a dimension to his game, his intuitive court sense, that can't fully be appreciated on those seemingly nightly sports-highlight clips of King James on TV. Like a pool shark running a table, he knows when to blast it, when to tap it. His passes can be feathery soft, when the situation calls for feathery soft, or they can be lightning-bolt quick, when the situation demands lightning-bolt quick. He's got the moves of a circus acrobat, but no wasted motion. Everything he does is consistent with the context of the game.

That's writing worth paying for, and certainly worth reading. On the other hand, there's the more traditional sports journalist, the multimedia performer. This piece in Slate describes one such multi-tasking writer, who, it seems, files his print column while on the run between TV appearances, using a Blackberry no less! Now that, I'd pay to see. Imagine typing hundreds of words on those tiny little buttons. Who said writing is a lost art? At least that way, it requires fine motor skills...
Lots to do on February 12th. Just as I'm about to book a flight for North Carolina to attend Anton Zuiker's Triangle Blogger's Conference, which centers on using blogs to build community (a subject just inches from my heart), I get word that a couple of pretty interesting events will be taking place in Cleveland that same day. No matter--nothing could keep me away from seeing my boy Z in action, in his element. And the expected turnout (80 at last word, and still growing) has to be especially gratifying, even humbling, to the ever-modest Anton. But please, dear readers. If you're a fan of this site, why not consider patronizing either or possibly both of these events that Saturday (that is, of course, if you can't join us down in N.C. You hear me Jack R??). My new friend Larry Trupo (who's a maintenance whiz in my office building) has a double life as a musician with his wonderfully named band, Poultry in Motion. They're due to play the Barking Spider at 8:30 that night. Meanwhile, my favorite local indy bookseller, the sainted Suzanne Degaetano of Mac's Backs in Coventry, has come up with a truly wonderful idea for honoring the late Poet Laureate of Cuyahoga County, Daniel Thompson. I'll let her announcement do the talking:

Join us on Saturday, Feb. 12th at 7:30 p.m., at the Algebra Tea House in Cleveland's Little Italy for an evening of poetry, polemics and performance to benefit "The Daniel Thompson Poet Stone Fund." This absolutely free event is being held to raise donations for a tombstone in Lakeview Cemetary for Cuyahoga Count's late, great poet laureate, who passed away in May '04. The evening features scheduled readers and performers as well as an open mic session. Donations may also be sent c/o Mac's Back, 1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Hts., OH 44120, ascribed to "The Daniel Thompson Poet Stone Fund." The Algebra Tea House is located at 2136 Murray Hill Rd. in Little Italy. To participate, or for more information, contact Mark Hopkins at 216-231-7894 or email at

All in all, a brilliant idea to honor a special guy in Cleveland's recent past. I'll be sending along a modest check toward that, and I hope you might consider doing so as well. But here's another way to help that wouldn't cost a dime: show up in person that night to provide some moral support and to be a stand-in for me and Working With Words, which will be there in spirit if not body. And do follow up and let us know how it went, and we'll post that news then.


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