Welcome to The Jerky Loudspeaker - an independent sports and culture newsletter, I’m super excited to have you here! Before you dive in, let me quickly break down how the newsletter is structured. Think of it like a mini newspaper, with three sections:
Deep Dive - Each piece/series in this section will be an in-depth analysis of the thoughts and emotions that arise from my interactions and experiences with the arts
Consumption Corner - A weekly review of what I’m watching, reading and listening to.
Balls, Bats & Baskets - As always, sports on the back page. In this section I’ll geek out about the happenings in this world of balls, bats and baskets.
Passion Projects - Once a month, I feature Q&As with creatives from different professional and personal backgrounds.
Balls, Bats & Baskets
It was around 11:30 PM on Saturday night and I was caught in a dilemma. Kickoff for Spain - Poland was at 12:30 AM and tipoff for Game 7 of Bucks-Nets was at 6am. I had to make a choice. In an ideal world, I would have pulled an all-nighter and watched both. But in an ideal world, I wouldn’t have needed 7 hours of sleep just to feel human.
I weighed up the pros and cons.
Watching the Spain game: Watching the Bucks - Nets game:
- need to stay up for just one more hour > need to wake up at 6am on a Sunday
- Spain aren’t fun to watch right now < The game guarantees fireworks
- You’ve dozed off in the last 10 min for You’re more likely to watch
every 12:30AM kickoff < the entire game
- It’s a group game < It’s a Game 7
- Watching Morata, Moreno, Llorente < Watching KD, Harden, Giannis
I put the Spain game on record, set my alarm and went to bed. I woke up at six, read the Guardian match report of the game and did feel the faintest FOMO but Kevin Durant ensured that it didn’t last for long. I knew I’d made the right choice. At halftime, I decided to take a short nap and decided against putting an alarm. That wasn’t the right choice.
I woke frantically an hour later, dreading the game had ended. Luckily it hadn’t and I rejoined the game with 7 minutes left in Q4. It felt like I’d left a party just as it began to swing into its groove. I was grateful I’d returned in time, but I didn’t feel like I belonged to the experience anymore. The ‘What a game’ and fire emoji messages on my Whatsapp group chats didn’t help. The flood of Tweets and match clips on Instagram hailing the game as an epic didn’t help.
‘God, please ensure the next seven minutes are legendary’, I prayed. God didn’t listen, but KD did. I wanted the Nets to win so I was obviously happy when he sent the game to overtime. But, I was especially happy about having five more minutes of basketball to watch.
You don’t know FOMO until you’ve slept through a game. It’s that sinking feeling of waking up on the couch in the dead of the night, with the post-match show playing in the background. It’s watching the highlights on YouTube and then scrolling through Twitter to know what really happened in the game. You want to message your friends to discuss the game, but you feel like an imposter doing so.
Sleeping through a game is shameful. But it’s something everyone’s been guilty of. Early morning tipoffs and late night kickoffs are brutal.
When I was deliberating between the Spain game and Bucks-Nets, one of my friends was telling me how he did the double - stayed up for a EUROS game and woke up for the NBA playoffs - and how it took a couple of days for his sleep cycle to fully recover.
It’s a survival of the fittest. Even passion crumbles under sleep.
What I’m reading: This longform piece on the cultural impact Dil Chahta Hai had on Indian cinema is quite phenomenal. The piece goes into how DCH managed to capture the essence of the urban youth of the country and is also filled with loads of interesting trivia.
For ex. Aamir Khan was original cast as Sid but asked to play Aakash because he was tired of playing serious characters.
What I’m watching: Came across this ad on Father’s Day. Nike never disappoints.
What I’m listening to:
Seven thoughts on the England football team
England go into their game against Czech Republic under a lot of pressure. Not the pressure of qualification rather the pressure of performance. A comprehensive win is needed for a morale boost. Not for the players, but for the nation.
The headlines in the aftermath of the draw against Scotland have been seeped in cataclysm. Sure it was a terribly drab performance and the lack of bite in attack needs to be addressed, but there’s a need from some perspective on the issue. Four points from two games, that includes a win over the 2018 World Cup finalists and two clean sheets is a commendable start.
The reaction is as much about the identity of the opposition as much as it was about performance. Scotland at Wembley under the lights in pouring rain - it was a setting that demanded to be scripted. A sequel to Paul Gascoigne’s EURO 96 heroics was expected. And it’s the expectations the England fans once again fell prey to. The only thing that matters in derbies is the result. A reversal of their results would reverse the narrative around them.
Given the embarrassment of riches at his disposal, Southgate’s selections are never going to receive universal acceptance. It’s a situation all the Captain Hindsights of the world revel in. The reason behind dropped points will always be put down to the ‘match-winners’ Southgate left on the bench. Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho’s stock has never been higher.
That being said, it’s quite ironic that Southgate’s first name on the team sheet is the player whose performances are facing the most scrutiny. Harry Kane belongs to a rare breed of English players whose performances are justified rather than vilified, no matter how poor they’ve been. His absentia in the first two games has been put down to fatigue after a long season. Raheem Sterling is just a year younger than Kane and made the same number of appearances this season. Would he have received similar treatment if his performances had been so dire? Gareth Southgate has remained consistent in his disregard for what the public wants and has already said that Kane will be starting tonight. Instead of a rest, he’s going to will him back into form.
Few tournament winning teams hit their stride in the group stages. Think France in 2018, Portugal in 2016, Spain in 2010. Despite all the friendlies and Nations League games, managers truly understand their squad during a tournament. In the 2018 World Cup, Deschamps made just one change to his starting XI from the group stage onward ( Tolisso started in the quarter-final against Uruguay only because Matuidi was suspended). These 11 players hadn’t ever started together before the game against Argentina. It’s not a disaster that Southgate doesn’t know his best XI. Yet.
Southgate has a more existential question to answer than team selections before the game tonight - should England even try to win? This is how the draw looks for them:
Finish 1st: France/Germany/Portugal
Finish 2nd*: Spain
Finish 3rd: Netherlands/Belgium
*Could change, but only if Sweden lose to Poland, or if Spain don’t qualify at all.
^ as shared with me by a fellow England fan.
England found themselves in a similar situation in 2018, going into their last group game against Belgium. Losing was the better option and they duly did so, ending up on the favorable side of the draw. Colombia, Sweden and Croatia - routes to the final don’t come much easier.
Personally, I’d like to see England top the group and play one of the heavyweights in the next round. They had the easy path in 2018 and they crumbled the first time they came up against truly quality opposition. This time it’s going to be a baptism of fire.
Are England actually good? We’ll soon find out.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this week’s edition! To share your thoughts, comments or if just want to chat, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I’m hosting rooms on Clubhouse every couple of days during the EUROS. To join the conversation, follow me on Clubhouse and look out for the next room I schedule!
In last week’s newsletter:
Balls, Bats & Baskets: The voluntary actions and involuntary reactions after Christian Eriksen’s collapse
Consumption Corner: A Twitter thread by a man who ghosted his dream employers, an Airtel video that sent me spiraling down nostalgia lane & a Yuvraj Singh podcast.
Read it here!