This is a quick list of some of my favorite writing from The Classical. I originally had a whole thing written about being in middle school and falling really hard for the mythology of Rolling Stone magazine and not getting to read ego trip because I was a child and being late to the whole “blog revolution” presided over by FreeDarko/Run of Play, but you don’t wanna read that. You probably shouldn’t have read that last sentence. Truth is I was at the library the other day and spent a few minutes flipping through a couple of those Best American Sports Writing collections that come out every year. Sitting there I realized that it had been about year since The Classical’s Kickstarter campaign began and thought it would be cool to put together a list of my favorite articles from the site with some comments sprinkled in here and there. This list is by no means comprehensive. I put it together after one trip through the archives and tried to limit it to only one piece per author. I really enjoyed putting together this list and realizing how much awesome stuff The Classical puts out. Long live The Classical.
Defending The Realm by Avi Korine
The terrific No Mas NYC once described Avi Korine’s boxing blog Boxiana as being “embarrassingly grandiosely titled.” Maybe so, but there’s no other boxing writer I’d rather read than Korine. This article on Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito went up on the day The Classical finally went live and nine months later it was the first piece I thought when making this list. Just read that 11th paragraph. It’s so so good.
A Chronicle of Doing It by Kyle Beachy
Kyle Beachy is better at writing about skateboarding than most people are at doing anything. This is great for someone who’s owned three copies of Girl’s Yeah Right! in his life and who’s right wrist has never fully healed from busting has ass the first time down a driveway.
Three Short Essays About LeBron, Trayvon, Hoodies and Hope by David Roth, Eric Freeman, and Bethlehem Shoals
Self-explanatory and essential.
On Pitching and the AL MVP in the Hour of Chaos By Jack Hamilton
Jack Hamilton on Justin Verlander. Nuff said.
Undercover Bosses by David Roth
I could have written an entire post gushing over David Roth’s writing at The Classical. For my money he’s the most consistently awesome writer on the internet. He’s ridiculously smart and funny in a way that no one else can match. This piece on the Heat’s unfulfilled promise of beauty narrowly beat out this piece where Roth went downright Craggs-ian on the culture of college football
Fighting + Otherwise, Part 1 by Neil Chamberlain
Torreón’s Household Saints by Patrick Corcoran
My dad loves Club Santos Laguna. He grew up in Gomez Palacio right next to the club’s home of Torreón. My uncle and cousins still live there. He has more Santos Laguna clothing than all other North Texas sports teams combined. He has broken Santos Laguna clock hanging in his living room. Since April he’s hung a huge Santos Laguna flag outside his house that he’s only taken down for the 4th of July. My dad has yet to see them play in their new stadium because of the violence in the area. Just seeing the squad get coverage on the site meant a lot to me.
Mike Tyson: An Introduction by Brin-Jonathan Butler
Baseball’s White Rabbit by Paul Flannery
LeSean McCoy and the Insistent Style by Eric Freeman
I think if more football writing was this good I would pay more attention to the NFL. I actually read parts of this one to my nephew in an effort to convince him that reading things that aren’t completely dry and boring could help him in his English class.
Sick in the Head by Sean Conboy
FC Santisimo by Fredorrarci
Fredorrarci goes all Damned Utd. on Mourinho/Guardiola. Also, this other piece on Mourinho has my favorite title and a really fantastic line on the sun swallowing the earth.
A Stripper’s Guide to the Final Four by Bubbles Burbujas
Everybody into the Pool by Eric Angevine
The Queen of Elbows by Tomas Rios
I still don’t care about MMA, but I do care about reading Tomas Rios write about MMA.
Where Hot Wings Are Sassy by Benjy Sarlin
He’s Got the Whammy on Me by Sam Eifling
The New Germans by James Tyler
The Bounding Basque by Adam Doster
Yakkin’ About Upton: Think Like a Bro by Kate Perkins, Jessica Danielle
Think like a man, dougie like a lady
The Problem with “Ozzie Being Ozzie” by Max Rivlin-Nadler
Cardboard Gods: Morty by Josh Wilker
Read this then read everything else Josh Wilker has ever written. On the web, in his book, on bathroom walls, etc.
Hopeless Dopes by Ben Birdsall
The Disabled List: The Todd Bertuzzi Knock-Out Club by Jesse Ruddock
My Son, the Pistol by Zac Crain
Suggested Reading, Super Bowl Edition by Pete Segall
There a number of great Clog posts I could have included on this list, but it was long enough already. I always thought this one got overlooked.
A Handball Nation with a Basketball Problem by Gregg Gethard
Mystery Sports Theater 3000 by Elliott Turner
Talking About an Ass-Beating by Tom Breihan
Never thought I’d secretly love two skinheaded wrestlers who wear gasmasks, but that’s life I suppose.
Throw Some Dunks on it by Lang Whitaker
Inverting the Court by Bethlehem Shoals
"[Shoals]… is a lot like reading a language you’ve never seen. At first glance, there is nothing recognizable about what he does or where he is, but after a certain amount of time, similar patterns begin to emerge. We still can’t quite understand the language, but there is a definite logical syntax to his behavior. More importantly, the rest… are starting to understand him. They may not entirely comprehend what he’s saying out there, but they know where he wants them to be, and they’re getting to their spots. At any rate, they certainly speak his language better than anyone…"
Classical reader Marc Pavlofsky left this gem in the comments section of this essay on Rajon Rondo. The comment is actually about Rajon Rondo, but I thought it could have easily been about reading FreeDarko for the first time. This piece, more than any other, reminds me of why Shoals’ influence reverberates throughout the sports blogosphere. It sucks that the world’s illest basketball writer couldn’t find consistent work in a golden age of online sports writing that he helped usher in. Viva Shoals.