The Secret History Of The Internet’s Funniest Buzzer-Beater

Online video in the pre-YouTube era tended to be low-res, anonymous, and utterly without provenance. You didn’t know who made the video, who was in the video, or where the damn thing came from. Well, thanks to this rollicking piece of forensics, now you do — at least for one seminal clip in which an unsuspecting kid gets absolutely nailed by an errant fullcourt basketball shot.

A seemingly infinite array of no-context funny videos—scraped from archival footage, newscasts, and increasingly, other users—gets recycled online every day for the sake of likes and shares and attention. “Basketball (so funny you’ll pee your pants).avi” could well be the very first one, a watershed moment in the history of the internet.

The lack of additional information elevates the viewing experience. But every so often, if you dig into a piece of internet ephemera, the context—the who, what, when, where, and why—have the potential to dramatically enhance your understanding of the freak accident that you just witnessed.

Source: Defector
Published: Jul 19, 2022
Length: 13 minutes (3,407 words)

The Mostly Untold Story of How the Sports Bra Conquered the World and Tore Its Inventors Apart

David Davis tells the rather curious history of the sports bra — first devised by sewing two jockstraps together, its conception led to years of conflict between the three company founders.

Human breasts are made up of fat as well as glandular and connective tissue, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. Breasts have no muscle; the Cooper’s ligaments provide support and attach to the chest wall, but do little to reduce movement. During exercise, biomechanics clash with biology: Breasts move up and down, backward and forward, and also side to side, causing severe discomfort.

Source: Defector
Published: Apr 20, 2022
Length: 22 minutes (5,654 words)

Under the Big Sky

In this gentle, yet satisfying essay, Drew Magary discovers that in accepting the limitations that age and injury can bring to a sport, joy can still be found in it.

So I will ski again, despite my body and my southward migration doing their best to keep me off the mountain. I can’t ski as well as I used to, but it’s not always about ability. It’s not about conquering the mountain. It’s simply about going there. A mountain is a god.

Source: Defector
Published: Mar 7, 2022
Length: 9 minutes (2,443 words)

Courtney’s Story

“How do you survive when life as you know it is falling apart? What do you do when it seems like every institution, nearly every person in a state of more than 11 million people, and even a member of your own family doesn’t want to help you? Courtney Smith learned how.”

Source: Defector
Published: Sep 13, 2021
Length: 55 minutes (13,800 words)

When the Cherries Run Out

On weathering the winters of our emotional lives.

Source: Defector
Published: Feb 2, 2021
Length: 9 minutes (2,480 words)