It's fitting that this issue of The Classical Magazine is a few days late, because I edited it and am always late, and because it's August, when time sort of collapses into sprawling headlong sleepiness. (And, more to the point, because I was on vacation for a week.) But the issue is here, and it looks good and reads good, and is about where we go, what we bring, what we see and how we see sports in the various places we see them. Which, I know, is a very exciting sentence!
But it's tough, beyond the basic idea of Being There, to sum up the variousnesses that come with that experience; I try to do it in my introduction to the issue, but, like everyone other piece in the issue, finally wound up describing only the part of it I've seen and felt myself, my own little corner of this greater awe.
But awe is the word, which is why the issue exists. If there's nothing inherently significant about going someplace to play or watch a game -- because it's just a game, and because you've got to go someplace -- there's also the undeniability of the charge and heft and lift of it. Being there feels different, however familiar these places and the act of going and watching and cheering may be, because of what we bring with us, because of what it means to be there with each other, and because of what we find through being there that we can't and don't find elsewhere. That's what the issue of the magazine is about. It's a long issue, because this is a big thing.
The first half (or so) is about the spaces themselves. W.M. Akers visits the decrepit, defiant minor league ballpark in Nashville, and Benjamin Polk revisits the abandoned, horrible, beautiful Sad Marshmalow Dome of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Aaron Gordon addresses the perverse and self-satirizing quest to hang bigger television screens in stadiums built for humans. And Dan Packel finds the common ground—shabby and wonder-filled and reeking of cigarettes, as of course it would—between off-track betting parlors and real-world, real-smelling horseracing venues.
The second half is about the various things we find in those places. Holly M. Wendt goes to a college rodeo and finds horror and humor and hope in equal overwhelming measure. Chris Collision (it's not his real name) sneaks a flask into a minor league hockey game and catches sight of the small, proud significance in a massively insignificant sporting event. Mike Piellucci watched Reggie Bush do things no football player has ever done, then watched as the NCAA wrote them out of existence. And, finally, David Temple writes about the confluence of fandom and participation and pitchers of beer that prevail at curling matches.
You'll also find original art by Eli Neugeboren, J. Maddison Bond, Dustin P. Watson, Jeff Dowdy, Robert Silverman, Lee Ginsberg and J.O. Applegate; the cover, which you see above, is by JF Frankel.
So: there is all that. If you have The Classical app, this issue is ready to be downloaded now. If you don't have it, the issue is also ready, but you should get the app so as to download it. That is a situation you can remedy by clicking here. And, as ever, if you want a non-iOS version -- that is, if you want a PDF, or a .MOBI or .EPUB or .BORT version -- our own Pete Beatty can set you up. Send him an email. And thanks, as ever, for reading and caring and subscribing.