“Grantland East” – Rembert Browne
Decked out in a red flannel shirt, the kind that suggests a casual work environment, Juliet Litman enthusiastically welcomed her congregation, a throng of young dudes, mostly white, with a few willing and able women scattered about. These parishioners had come to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, site of the Madden lectures a little over a month prior, to pay final respects to the most important sports blog ever, the recently-deceased standard for longform pop journalism and the sort of offbeat topics you concoct in your dorm lounge late one night after several too many adult beverages. This was the Grantland wake.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Sixteen years of disappointment, heartbreak and anticlimax led to this moment. For every commercial featuring Brandi Chastain, the weight of the world pushing her to the ground at the very moment it lifted, there was a rumble about Abby Wambach’s training regimen, Carli Lloyd’s inconsistency or Hope Solo’s extracurricular activities. Not having won a World Cup since 1999, despite a trio of Olympic gold medals, wore on this team. They grew tired of heeding to the Germanys and Japans of the world in its most important tournament, and a shaky start did not bode well for the Americans.
When they needed to get it together in a time of dire need, however, where they so often had misstepped on the biggest stage, the U.S. women delivered a barrage of cannonading blows, exorcising demons and returning their country to a once and present glory.
On Saturday night, the St. Louis Rams lost their starting quarterback and implicit hero of the future, Sam Bradford, to a season-ending injury in a preseason game against, of all teams, the Cleveland Browns. Because of a 2012 trade involving draft picks which allowed Washington to select Robert Griffin III (himself no stranger to the infirmary), the Rams are essentially left without a Plan B outside of 34-year-old former Amsterdam Admiral Shaun Hill. For what it’s worth, St. Louis has expressed interest in acquiring Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles, but you won’t see any positive letters of recommendation from this writer.
On the night of July 12, 2013, four of my friends (I’m not typically one to name names, but for the purposes of this piece and clarity, it seems necessary: Laura, Tommy, Mike and Ray) and I met in Brooklyn, packed into Ray’s black Hyundai and departed the five boroughs. Our destination lay on the South Shore of Long Island, around forty miles and an hour outside of the city. We were to meet another one of my friends, Conor, at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh for what was to be a concert event of the summer, for all the right and wrong reasons. Phish, the legendary genre-disregarding jam band which has been pounding the musical pavement for thirty years, was to perform that night, and if every other Phish show was any indication, it was going to be a night to remember. And so it was. Read More