Friday, April 5, 2013
20-plus Entries Later
By Caleb Butler
After spending the past ten weeks writing and editing articles about basketball and various concepts within black studies, honestly, I feel like a nerd. Back in January, I considered myself a “student of the game,” but I had no idea how intense I would study the game of basketball this semester. I’ve covered a lot of ground, from tracking the advanced statistics movement to examining the aesthetic choices of Russell Westbrook on and off the court, to considering at length Kevin Durant’s current (http://www.siueblackstudies.com/2013/01/mr-nicey-nice-so-they-say.html) and future (http://www.siueblackstudies.com/2013/02/kevin-durants-future-history.html) status.
In the process, my ghost curriculum on basketball came to life and grew into a fairly organized, very tangible collection of thoughts, seen on the Black Studies blog. While I have most definitely upped my focus in the last few months, it has been encouraging to see what knowledge I brought with me into this project. More than that, The Basketball Project gave me a space to explore questions and ideas that kept nagging me over the last few years as I have watched the game.
Perhaps most importantly, writing about basketball has reminded me that we love the game because it’s fun. Even as we have explored concerning topics within the NBA, like prejudice and the power of media, I have enjoyed the rare privilege of writing about the game of basketball for class credit. Because of the opportunity to write and talk about the game on an almost daily basis, I am a more excited fan of the game and a more intellectually invigorated student.
To speak on the writing and editing experience, I feel only a step better at blogging than I did in January, as I have learned that writing succinctly is an art form. Like rationing water for a hot shower, I am learning to appreciate the value of each word on the page because I have had so much to say each week in only nine or fifteen sentences. After writing ten entries, and editing an additional ten, I feel like I’m learning the art of blogging at the same pace as Barkley has learned the art of commentary.
I could not have imagined the ways a “simple” and “easy” class of writing about basketball weekly would shape the ways I view the beloved sport and the ways I approach writing. Twenty entries later, I feel accomplished to look back at the work I have produced (and edited), and am encouraged to continue developing my writing skills and my ability to critique basketball culture with an interdisciplinary approach. I may feel like a savant, but my friends just call me a basketball nerd.
The Basketball Project