I am dumbfounded in learning about your academic credentials. Why, oh why, would a man with the kind of intelligence needed to obtain a Master's degree in Medieval Literature and to go as far as you have toward earning a Ph.D. do something as meaningless as spending your life writing about basketball? Sportswriters, announcers, etc, are pathetically irrelevant, but can be excused if what they're doing is all they are capable of doing. To be fair, you certainly are by far the best basketball writer in the business and the most analytical. Do you really think you are doing something important? John Miller, Jakarta, Indonesia
Let's be realistic here. What else might I have done with my degrees and my almost-degrees? Little except to teach on a college level which I did for four years. However, my teaching experience was profoundly unsatisfying. I saw too many veteran teachers who had been teaching the same year 20 times. I saw too few students who were really interested in learning. And I saw very little relevance in what I was teaching to the "real" world.
Not that I'm anti-intellectual. Not by any means. I read at least two books a week mostly history and biographies, both literary and political. But there's life out there beyond the book covers and beyond the academic enclaves.
For me, every basketball game is a true-life drama that, among other things, reveals how individuals (players, coaches, refs, announcers and writers) react to stressful situations. The games reveal every aspect of the participants' character, both strengths and flaws.
The appeal also includes the humanity, the passion, the skills, and the suspense all being played out without a script.
Of even greater interest to me, the games we play and watch reveal critical aspects of our culture: How easily most of us are influenced by glitz rather than by substance.
If I can, in any way, help people to view their worlds with a bit more discernment, while at the same time helping them to see beauty and grace in actions they might not have previously noticed, then yes, I believe that what I'm doing is not only relevant but necessary moreso today than ever before.