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Games People Play
Issue #43, Spring 2010
Games, play, and sport are intricately connected to creation and art. Formal challenges, whether by the French Oulipo movement or the Surrealists with their Exquisite Corpses have yielded surprising and deeply moving literary works. The parallels between sport and art and life itself are many—heroes, drama, reversals, betrayals, irrational loyalties, heartbreak, euphoria. In this issue we examine these intersections, from Lord Whimsy's explanation of cricket and Karen Russell's rules of Antarctic tailgating to Martha McPhee's stunning fictional take on bond trading as blood sport; from Blake Eskin's time immersed in a German board game convention to David Mamet's argument that theater itself is a sport. In the end, it isn't about the destination, but the journey; not the game itself, but how you play it. Jawaharlal Nehru said, "Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will." Enjoy.
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Martha McPhee, Jennifer Egan, Steve Almond, Seth Fried, Ron Carlson, Geoff Wyss
EXCERPT FROM Dear Money • I wanted one thing. I wanted to win.
OUT OF BODY • No one will fight with you now--the fact that you hacked open your wrists with a box cutter seems to be a deterrent.
EXCERPT FROM Keane at Midnight • She was mentally impaired or slightly epileptic maybe, which was a pity. Could he fuck an epileptic?
LIFE IN THE HAREM • Before I was appointed to the harem, I had only seen one woman in the nude.
ESCAPE FROM PRISON • I took two hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars from the idle accounts of two of my clients.
HOW TO BE A WINNER • The first thing is, it takes guts. Let me hear you say it! Guts!
Matthew Zapruder, Joseph Fasano, A Tin House Exquisite Corpse, Kirsten Andersen, David Shields
Mary jo Bang, Nick Flynn, Alex Lemon, Matthea Harvey, Eileen Myles, and D. A. Powell
Sure, it's a little game. You, me, our minds.
THE SADNESS OF THE YANKEE FAN
Only in Southern California could you find a job that pays you to play video games. Tin House contributing editor, Rachel Resnick, kicks back with this
Lord Whimsy, David Mamet, Henry Alford, Tom Bissell, Michelle Wildgen, Blake Eskin, Michael Agovino
THE IMMUTABLE LAWS OF CRICKET •
An illustrated crash course to one of the world's most baffling sports.
HUNTING INSTINCTS •
We're always reading for the thrill of the chase, the exhiliration of tracking narrative big game.
FUN IS WHAT •
A night of Victorian parlor games goes ass up. Was it the extra round of
GRAND THEFTS •
An addiction to video games--and cocaine--leads the writer to the deeper morality of modern gaming.
This Midwestern card game will trump the uninitiated with its bewildering lingo.
THE SERIOUSLY FUN WORLD OF GERMAN BOARD GAMES •
Sure, it sounds religious--
TOTAL, UTTER MADNESS: A STORY OF SOCCER •
Confused by the sport the rest of the world follows fanatically? Do you have to be told when a soccer player does something good? Look no further.
Lost & Found:
Christopher R. Beha, Bonnie B. Lee, Joel Drucker, Brian James Barr, Irina Reyn, Dan Oswalt, Tony Perez
ON DON DELILLO'S End Zone • Football becomes a metaphor for the threat of nuclear war. Hilarity ensues.
ON EDWARD SNOW'S Inside Bruegel • Children's games illustrate the importance of play.
ON BILL TILDEN'S Match Play and the Spin of the Ball • He dominated tennis for years and later served up one of the sport's best tactical guides.
ON JEROME CHARYN'S Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins
Paddling in the current of Ping-Pong passion.
ON CHARLES COTTON'S The Compleat Gamester • This seventeenth-century gambler's opus is a charming exhumation of dead games.
ON DAVID HALBERSTAM'S The Breaks of the Game • If only the Portland Trail Blazers' misfortune were a thing of the past, instead of being also a thing of the past.