The Weekly Roundup

As we arrive at the conclusion of another week, the team at TPT wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few of the posts that we’ve put up on the site that you might have missed (it’s okay, these things happen) while also highlighting a few other stories from around the web that caught our eye. Here’s our Weekly Roundup:

“Just a Kid From Tuilla” by David Villa

Before he became the leading scorer for the Spanish National Team and the hero of the 2010 World Cup, David Villa was just a kid from a little town in Northern Spain. In the latest installment of our From Somewhere series, Villa talks about his journey from Tuilla to Barcelona and now to New York, where he is the face of Major League Soccer’s NYCFC.

I had spent my entire career in my home country. I could use both feet, but I only knew one language and one way of life. When I got the opportunity to move to America to help build the legacy of a new club with NYCFC, the challenge was too exciting to pass up.

”I Didn’t Get Here Alone” by Lisa Leslie

Lisa Leslie became a torch-bearer for female athletes everywhere, serving as the face of the WNBA and bringing it into the mainstream with her electrifying play on the L.A. Sparks. Last week, she was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Writing for The Players’ Tribune, Leslie reflects on her career, and why she owes her success to so many other people.

It really is an honor. I’m in awe of this opportunity to join some of the most amazing athletes in the world in this hallowed space. I’m very excited, but I feel a little weird about it, too. I pride myself on teamwork and I’ve always stayed conscious of trying not to separate myself from my teammates. So when I do receive individual awards, I always hope that I remember to thank everyone who has assisted me, sometimes literally, and supported my hard work. I have not really reached any of these pinnacles of success without family, coaches, teammates and sponsors.

“The New Kid” by Matt Duffy

Matt Duffy went from playing his first Major League Baseball game last August to winning the World Series a couple months later. Now, as a crucial member of the San Francisco Giants, Duffy reflects on what it was like to be called up to the big leagues.

I was 23 and just up from Double-A. Nobody had ever heard of me. But Hunter Pence had just come up to me and said, “We need you” — and the “we” was the San Francisco Giants. That seemed crazy to me.

But, as I soon learned, it wasn’t crazy. That’s just the Giants’ way. My conversation with Hunter began a succession of welcoming handshakes and confidence boosters from the team: Buster, Brandon Crawford — everyone. Play big, they told me. Let’s win some games, they told me. The younger guys, with their own debuts still pretty fresh, told me not to pay attention to the names on the backs of the jerseys.

“My Biggest Fan” by Dan Williams

When defensive lineman Dan Williams played against the Oakland Raiders for the first time, his own father only reluctantly rooted for him. That’s because when it comes to the Raiders, Dan’s father encompassed the true meaning of the word “fan” — a fanatic. After his father died in a tragic car accident, Dan fulfilled his father’s dream and became a member of his favorite team.

I remember the first time I played against his beloved Raiders. It was the third game of my rookie season and the Raiders came to Arizona. My dad would always call me on game day and give me a little pep talk and his thoughts on the game. But this time, he was at the game, and when we talked, he didn’t talk about the game, and it wasn’t much of a pep talk.

”Well, son,” he said, all serious, “I want you to know I’m always your biggest fan, and I’m wearing my Cardinals jersey today. But you better believe I have my Raiders t-shirt on underneath!”

I was like, “C’mon, I’m your son! You can’t turn the Raiders fan off for one day?”

“A Bittersweet Day” by Daniel Carcillo

After Daniel Carcillo sat down with The Players’ Tribune last April and  Steve Montador and the struggles many NHL players face after they leave the league, he received a wave of people from all over the league thanking him for speaking out. This week, Carcillo announced his retirement from the NHL and announced that he will now focus on helping athletes who are dealing with anxiety, depression and uncertainty about their future.

In our own locker room, it wasn’t a distraction at all. If anything, I think it helped to get it out into the open. I can’t say enough about that group of guys in Chicago. So many of my teammates came up to me and gave me a hug and asked, “How can I help?” Everybody misses Monty. Everybody wishes he was still with us. So how do we make it better? How do we help guys with the stress and anxiety that comes with losing the only identity they’ve had since they were 16 years old? How can we help them find a new purpose in life? 

Five Good Reads From Around the Web

1. The Hound of Basketville: On Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Detective Novel (Grantland)

2. Battle for Benefits: “Don’t Make Proud Men Beg” (Vice Sports)

3. High School Football Inc. (The New York Times)

4. At 57, Julio Franco Can’t Quit Playing Baseball (ESPN)

5. The Complete History of the NFL (FiveThirtyEight)

One Fine Vine