Thursday, April 11, 2013

Technology and Intimacy, Pt. 1

By Caleb Butler

As we sat in Prof. Rambsy’s office watching Rutgers’ former coach, Mike Rice, chuck basketballs at his players in practice, I realized that I was most disturbed by how intimate it felt. There is an incredibly personal dynamic between a coach and his players in practice, so in watching Rice abuse his players physically and emotionally on video, it felt wrong in several ways.

I felt as if I was crossing into the team’s sacred space, meanwhile the video I was watching showed a coach that was violating his players in far more personal ways. Without the technology of online streaming video, I never would have entered into the intimate setting of the Rutgers men’s basketball team practice, but this new technology has created a culture that expects to see these things.

I hate the way that video of Mike Rice makes me feel, but that same intimacy is what I love about following basketball in my day to day life. Every outlet of video streaming and news is at my fingertips all day, every day. I can watch last night’s highlights on my phone while brushing my teeth in the morning, I can read the box scores on my way to class, or I can read a Grantland article about LeBron James training with Hakeem Olajuwon on my laptop in the cafeteria.

The increasing availability of the NBA, because of the emergent technology, gives me a sense of intimacy with teams and players that my parents generation could never have imagined. In this new, intimate era of sports, we have seemingly unlimited access to games, sometimes practices, and even players’ thoughts.

The Basketball Project

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