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MATTHEW VANTRYON | BUTLER UNIVERSITY

Now that the holiday break has come to a close and the work grind is back in full force, here are three articles to read during the commercial breaks of the Dolphins vs. Jets game tonight.

1. “Excuse me,” I say to the usher whose nameplate identifies him as ‘Cleveland.’ “Did you play basketball?” Cleveland Harp peers down at me. He smiles. Then he puts a finger to his throat and tells me a story.

He’s an imposing figure, who doesn’t say much–not by choice, but because he can’t. People have asked him whether he has hit the hardwood before, and he’s lied. Until Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel got the real answer out of him. This poignant, fascinating is well worth the read. Doyel’s ability to get perspective out of this man who can barely speak, as well as those who pass by him on a daily basis, makes this piece one of the best I’ve read in a long time.

2. “We don’t do this for the money. We do this because the very first time we got on a bull—the first time we got bucked off and hit the ground and got up—right there we knew that this is what we were meant to be doing.”

This is what a trainer told a group of eight-year-old boys before they got on top of a raging, fierce animal that could kill them at any second. This piece from the New Yorker tells the fascinating tale of a group of children who are embarking on the journey of a lifetime—or, maybe more aptly put, the thrill of a lifetime. That journey? Bullfighting. This piece is lengthy, but eye-opening and thought provoking.

3. “A disaster. A miracle. The face in the window, the falling star. In Gordo, still awash in condolences, Anthony Pruitt sees his team lose the Iron Bowl on a fourth missed field goal and a 109-yard return with no time on the clock.”

On the week anniversary of one of the most memorable Iron Bowls in history, Sports Illustrated writer Thomas Lake takes a look at the game from a unique perspective–that is, through the eyes of Anthony Pruitt. Pruitt is a lifelong Alabama fan. Pruitt suffers a myriad of losses on this day, the greatest of which do not come close to the turf and pylon. A touching, albeit grave reminder, that life is more than sports.

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