Some Call It Ballin'

Issue 3: Fall 2014

"...but in joy create for others the house, the poem, the game of athletic beauty" — Dudley Randall


Founding Publisher / Editor-in-chief

Patrick Rosal

FOUNDING Managing editor / design dominatrix

Karissa Chen

FOUNDING PUBLISHER / Senior contributing editor

Ross Gay

Assistant Editor

Jaime Oppenheim

Art Gurus

Mark Rosal (Logo Design)
Nicholas Rosal (Original Artwork)

Some Call It Ballin’  is an online magazine that publishes essays on sports. The publication was founded by former athletes and current fanatics. All of us are published writers who value personal memory, public conversation, and the lyric imagination. In addition to reading sports essays, you can listen to interviews with our contributors in the Some Call It Ballin’ audio section as the writers talk about process and craft. We believe the music of a good sentence and the pleasures of a surprising image are  products of, and collaborators in, paying attention—an important skill both in athletics and aesthetics.

The contributors to Some Call It Ballin’ are nationally and internationally recognized poets, essayists, and fiction writers. They are artists willing not just to tell a story, but to discover what their personal story means in the context of a sports story and even The Sports Story.

We are often entertained by the sport genre’s shouting matches, bold predictions, and ironic (or not ironic) quips and lists—all of which implies a kind of authority or mastery. Authority, however, isn't necessarily the only stuff of an essay. We are interested in a trajectory through reflection, observation, doubt, inquiry, questioning, just as much as we are interested in a rant. Furthermore, the word "amateur" comes from the French word meaning "one who loves". An amateur isn't an authority, but has great love, in this case, for sports. It is love, in fact, that raises doubts, makes inquires, asks questions and says yes when you least expect it.

The editors at Some Call It Ballin’ also believe that good writing is work that deserves to be paid. Please support our efforts by making a donation or by supporting our forthcoming Kickstarter campaign. It will make sure that our crew of highly skilled scribblers receives payment to honor their efforts. 

Thanks for visiting. We hope you enjoy the site. 

(Click on 'Contact' in the Nav Bar and drop us a note. We'd love to know who is visiting!)

Staff Bios

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Patrick Rosal is the author of four full-length poetry collections, including Brooklyn Antediluvian, forthcoming (2016). His most recent title, Boneshepherds, was honored both by the National Book Critics Circle and the Academy of American Poets as a notable book. His collections have also won the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, Global Filipino Literary Award and the Asian American Writers Workshop Members' Choice Award. His poetry and prose has been published widely in journals and anthologies including Grantland, Tin House, Drunken Boat, Harvard Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. A former Fulbright Fellow, he has served as a judge for the National Book Awards and teaches as member of the MFA faculty at Rutgers University-Camden. 

Favorite Teams: Knicks, Yankees, Giants
One Unforgettable Sports Moment: Interviewing Erik Morales before his final fight in the United States.

Karissa Chen is the author of the chapbook Of Birds and Lovers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Good Men Project, PANK, and Midnight Breakfast. A Voices/VONA and Kundiman Fiction fellow, she received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and was the recipient of the diFilipis-Rosselli Scholarship at the Napa Valley Writers Conference in 2011. She has previously taught creative writing to incarcerated young men in Valhalla, New York, and is currently the fiction and poetry editor at Hyphen magazine, where she curates The Hyphen Reader, a monthly round-up of Asian American literature from around the web. 

Sport I Really Wish I Could Play: Volleyball. I played in middle school, but I was too light (68 lbs.) to serve the ball over the net.
Memorable Sports Moment: The Dallas Cowboys coming back with 2 minutes to go after a disastrous game against the Buffalo Bills in 2007 thanks to Romo rallying and a 53-yard field goal -- TWICE! -- by Nick Folk.

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Ross Gay is an American poet and professor. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Against Which and Bringing the Shovel Down. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Columbia: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry and Atlanta Review, and in anthologies including From the Fishouse. His honors include a Cave Canem Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Tuition Scholarship, and a grant from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. He is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. He holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. from Temple University. He is a basketball coach, an occasional demolition man and a painter. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and the low-residency MFA in poetry program at Drew University. 

Sports Played: Ross played football through college, and plays basketball whenever he can. 
Favorite Athlete of All Time: This week, it's Dr. J, Julius Erving.

Jaime Oppenheim is the author of many things you haven’t read.  We can tell you haven’t read them because you haven’t given up reading as a masochistic endeavor, like online dating or taking NJ Transit.  An eight-year veteran of the Sports Radio wars, he received his honorable discharge in the fall of 2014, earning commendation from his superiors for the humility with which he was able to answer the phone by saying, “What’s your name and where are you calling from?” Jaime is currently spearheading a movement to get the phrase “absolute dire”, and it’s many variations, accepted into the American sports lexicon.

State of his Dynasty Fantasy Football Team:  Absolutely dire.
Working Theory:  Never trust quarterbacks who can't throw, shooting guards who can't shoot and golfers who can't putt. 

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Nicholas Rosal, with his wife Heidi Loder-Rosal, is co-Founder of No. 9 Fine Arts Inc. in NYC. Rosal has curated dozens of exhibits for his gallery with a wide range of local and internationally recognized artists. After a brief stint in commercial art he turned to his brushes and immersed himself in the making of his own art, which is now held across the country in private and corporate collections. He has cultivated his visual art talents toward an eclectic portfolio and an impressive variety of skill sets, which include book illustration, art restoration and preservation, fine art publishing and production, as well as freelanced theater work as a paint scenic. He holds a degree in graphic design from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and continues to pursue his illustration and fine art career in the NY/NJ area.

Favorite Sports Moment: Either the NY Giants beating the NE Pats in SB XLII OR Derek Jeter diving head first into the stands to get an out VS the Red Sox known as "The Catch". Either way, it's about beating New England!
Sports Philosophy: When I was a kid, you never got a medal or trophy if you finished past third place. I also firmly believe that "coming in 2nd place" means you're the "FIRST ONE to LOSE…."

Mark Rosal is a Digital Creative Director with nearly 20 years in the design and advertising industry. He’s created leading edge digital experiences for premier brands such as AT&T, the NFL, Puma, Toyota, Walmart and more. He has led creative and technical teams on projects with a range of complexity: from native iOS and Android mobile wallet app design to dynamically-generated video pieces. He has developed digital strategies, designed interactive SMS-driven outdoor projections and large site redesigns. Mark pours a wide range of talents into his projects. He’s been a professional digital and print designer for nearly two decades. He possesses a decade of UX/IA experience crafting user flows, wireframes and site maps for sites and games alike. He’s performed as Director of Photography on product and live action green screen projects. And he also has over 15 years of coding experience ranging from HTML, CSS and Javascript to Actionscript.

Sports Played: Mark was a varsity pitcher in high school whose specialty pitch was the knuckle sinker.
Random Sports Fact: Mark's first birdie in golf came in his fourth week by landing an 89-yard pitch on the fly.

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