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reading tiger

Silver Linings Post

Another silver lining to this whole divorce thing is that I am able to watch sports documentaries without having to listen for the steamkettle to whistle, as it were. Which is extra-nice as ESPN is starting to put out some pretty fascinating stuff via its "30 for 30" series.

This weekend it was "Bad Boys," a look at the Isaiah Thomas/Bill Laimbeer back-to-back championship era of the Detroit Pistons.

This was the time when I left my school in Chicago to go back home and finish up in Michigan. I have mentioned in the past the ongoing conversations I had with my Popular Culture instructor over the semiotics of the Pistons during one of those championship years. About opposing teams playing "Buffalo Stance." About Bill Laimbeer's pink shirt. I have looked for years for a picture of Laimbeer in his pink shirt during that era, and I can't find one on the web. But there he was in the documentary, wearing a pink button-down. I may have screamed. Vindicated!

The documentary didn't make the connection explicitly, but I could see some of what has turned Isaiah Thomas into who he is today, and the potential for a different path. I really felt sorry for him, honestly. I think he got shafted in more ways than one.

There was lots of other interesting stuff, too, like the fact that Mark Aguirre pulled himself from the starting rotation to give Dennis Rodman a spot. I didn't need a doc to humanize these players, but I felt like it did a good job of allowing them to be all of who they were. Warts too. (The PopMatters review makes a remark about the team's legendary fractiousness "even as Laimbeer and Thomas and Dennis Rodman too insist on the sense of family they felt," which makes me wonder just for a moment what kind of family the author Cynthis Fuchs has, where family and fractious are mutually exclusive?)

I was sad it was made after Chuck Daly passed. I would have liked to have heard his point of view. RIP, Chuck.

Another nice sports documentary that I could not have watched in this house at my leisure before: "Maradona '86." Which is worth it merely for using Wagner as the soundtrack; getting Eduardo Galeano of Soccer in Sun and Shadow fame to narrate is just icing on the cake. Unlike Wagner, it was short but sweet, and ends with a great quote:

“By winning the World Cup, we didn’t change the world, we didn’t bring down the price of bread. It was a lovely thought that football players can solve people’s problems; I wish we could. We’d all be better off.”


I love those 30 for 30 docs. well, most of them at least. I was underwhelmed by the Baltimore Colts marching band one, but pretty much everything else has been excellent.