A bunch of ND grads writing about sports? We’d be the first ones to admit that it’s not the most original premise. But, Commutes didn’t originate as an attempt to corner a market. The Sports/Culture-industrial complex is an idea in vogue, with entrants at all tiers, from upstarts with free WordPress sites like us to massive media conglomerates. The idea to start Commutes came out of an urge to expand a conversation we were already having amongst ourselves anyway.
After a few e-mail exchanges between ourselves consisting of various forms of “Man, we should totally start a blog!”, we did what twentysomethings aspiring to write a blog typically do: absolutely nothing. At the bottom of our inboxes sat those initial e-mails, the guilt of non-action diminishing every day. Then, Manti Te’o happened, shattering the line that stood between sports and the rest of popular culture. Beyond playing perfectly into the intended theme of our nascent blog, the Te’o saga got to the heart of what we wanted Commutes to be about: first, trying to figure out what’s even going on, and then trying to think about what it might mean.
Sports affords the opportunity to come away with some clean truths. One team wins, the other doesn’t. With Te’o, Lance Armstrong, and Ray Lewis all dominating the sports talk as of late, it’s safe to say that truths are becoming increasingly muddled and longstanding narratives are being rendered increasingly complex. If we’re going to be all self-aware and generational, how might we think about this particular era of sports and culture? The asterisks age, where qualifiers are all but assumed? The analytics age, where what it means to be good at what you do is simultaneously being refined and obscured? Or the information age, where our abundance of news and data paint pictures of our heroes which are far more complex than we might want them to be. None of these approaches can fully define the era, but brought together in the interchange of ideas, these different approaches can compose something of a workable framework to understanding just what’s going on.
Our discourse increasingly skews toward the ironic and the dismissive, not surprising given how insane our sports and cultural spheres have become. It’s our intention at Commutes to avoid this, as best possible. Irony is easy, much more difficult is honest writing and actual thinking. At the end of the day, the goal of Commutes is a simple one – talk about interesting stuff with each other and avoid bullshit. That’s all you can (and should) ask for.
So, to our readers, have a great time reading through this site. If you’re even having half as much fun reading this as we are writing it, you’re having half as much fun.
– The Commutes Staff