In the long, long time ago, when Borders bookstores were part of the urban landscape, I ran across Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball. Bought it immediately. Read it immediately. If you were anywhere close to me in the fall of 2010, you heard about it. A lot.
It is a brilliant book. A fantastic read. Truly, as the author intended, a love letter to the Philippines.
More than anything else, what struck me about the book was how unlikely it seemed that I would accidentally run across something so exquisitely written in a chain bookstore. Although the recipient of plenty of favorable reviews, I had not seen them. My pinoy family did not know about it. It was just sitting there, at the Borders, and I was fortunate to have run across it and to have my love of sports validated from a totally unexpected place.
I like Bill Simmons. When Rafe Batholomew showed up on a byline at Grantland, Grantland became my jam.
In 2012, at a Barnes and Noble – still a thing – This Love Is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juarez was on one of the shelves. Bought it immediately. Read it immediately. If you anywhere close to me in the fall of 2012, you heard about it. A lot.
It is a brilliant book. A fantastic read. Truly, as the author intended, a love letter to Ciudad Juarez.
This time, however, it was not a total surprise. Grantland had published an excerpt of Robert Andrew Powell’s book in March 2012 and I had been keeping an eye out for the book after reading the excerpt.
Independent of Grantland, I, like a whole lot of other people, devoured Chuck Klosterman’s books. Charles Pierce’s Idiot America is one of the better pisstakes on the contradictions of America’s political and religious culture. That they contributed to Grantland seemed unfair.
Over time, I became enamored with virtually all of the contributors to the online publication. I hadn’t read something so closely and regularly since The New Republic in the late 1990s. Over the last couple of years, the quality – and quantity – of Grantland’s content led to a daily ritual of printing out whatever articles the site had published that day that seemed interesting so that I could read them on the Metro ride home. For the last year, there was so much good and interesting stuff there that I couldn’t get through all the articles by the time the green line pulled into Greenbelt station.
Lots of people are sad that Grantland was shuttered by ESPN on Friday. I count myself among them. But I prefer to focus on how amazing it is that Grantland existed in the first place.