Monday, August 18, 2014

Thank you and Goodbye

Five years ago I began writing about athletics, culture and ethics. At the time I served as the Faculty Athletic Representative for the University of Washington and found myself enmeshed in the lives and demands of the extraordinary men and women athletes at the UW. As I worked with them I begin to think hard about the nature of athletics as an endeavor and wondered about its worth and role in American culture.

I began writing to give myself a space to reflect on these issues. I wanted to write in the English essayist tradition. I loved writing about this world of passion and achievement. It offered so many windows into life and its demands and challenges. The world also revealed the undertows of cheating and moral failure that afflict all human achievement.

I loved writing about a wide array of topics that sports opened up. I appreciated the chance to reflect upon these issues in a dialogue with my friends and colleagues as well as the many thoughtful athletes and administrators whom I met through intercollegiate athletes.

I am not a sports writer or commentator but a management and ethics theorist who wrote out of love of what I was doing and thinking about. I was writing essays that tried to find new insight and awareness through reflection on athletic activity.

Athletics and sports manifest as a cyclical world starting anew each competitive season. Each season and each year provide Bach like theme and variations on what has gone before. The structure of many achievements as well as scandals often resemble each other. A good sports writer and commentator like Roger Angell and Frank DeFord finds ways to return and renew their discussions each year even when they have written about the similar points often.

I realized a couple months ago that I had pretty much written what I had to say. Whole new and interesting challenges face the world of competitive athletics as well as the seasonal variations and arc of stories of competitive struggle and achievement as well as tragedy.

Having had my fun and exercised my passion and judgment engaging these topics, I think it is time to say goodbye to folks who have read my essays over the years.

I deeply appreciate the individuals who read them. I deeply appreciate the folks who have contacted me to help further my own thinking on this world. I deeply appreciate the chance to have written about something I care deeply about. Most importantly I appreciate the men and women who participate in this world and lent me time in their lives to listen and learn.

Thanks and goodbye.

Pat Dobel


  1. I hope after some time has passed there will be something more. Maybe a different subject, a different venue; but something more.

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