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Jack Webb died on December 23, 1982, at the age of 62.

December 23, 2017

Earlier this year, my parents bought a condo here in Athens. They kept their place in Mattoon, splitting time between here and there, but they’re retired now and wanted to be as close as they could do their only grandchildren. We love having them here; right now, Dad and the boys are at the YMCA together, playing basketball and running laps around the track, and that is not something they could have done if we were still in New York and they were still in Mattoon. The holidays and stray Cardinals weekends were the only times we all got to see each other. Now we get to do it all the time. We’re very lucky, and not just because my father is actually handy (unlike my whole stupid generation) and is constantly fixing things that break down at my house.

And now that they’re here, some of our friends in Athens are starting to get to know them. At a holiday party last night, a neighbor took me aside and said, “Hey, I saw your Dad at Add Drug with your boys yesterday.” He paused and laughed. “It’s really creepy how much you two look like each other.”


I never think I look much my like father, but no one ever thinks they look like anyone other than themselves. Obviously I do, because every single person who has ever met either one of us says we do. Every time we’ve ever checked into a hotel together, the first thing the person behind the desk says is invariably some sort of “lemme guess: You guys are related!” joke the minute they see us. It’s the first thing anyone ever notices when we’re together. It is sort of funny how little perspective one has on one’s self. Something I can’t quite grasp about myself is literally the only thing total strangers see immediately.

What’s particularly odd about this is that my father has three brothers — Larry, Terry and Jimmy, which sounds like a Newhart joke — who look exactly like him, a fact that is completely obvious to me (and everyone else).

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My lack of self-perception aside, my father and I look alike, just like he and his brothers look alike, and just like he and his father looked alike. All my cousins look like Leitches. The Leitches have a very clear and straightforward look, and it is impossible to deny. It’s a strong throughline. It’s just powerful genes.

So, then, it seemed a fair assumption that when I had children of my own, they would have the same look. You can tell a Leitch boy from a mile away. Surely my sons would be the same.

My sons are not the same. My sons don’t look like Leitches. They look like Stevensons. They look my wife’s family, not mine. To see a picture of my wife as a child, or her brother, or her father, is to look at a picture of Wynn or (especially) William.

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Generations upon generations of Leitches looking exactly like each other ... and here I am, the weak link in the gene chain, getting wiped out in one felt swoop by the Stevensons. I suppose this is something that I should be unhappy about, but it isn’t. My wife is much better looking than I am, and the children thus are going to be far more handsome and attractive than us sullied, shabby Leitches. The last thing I want those children to have weighing them down the rest of their lives is having to look like me. Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.


Here is a numerical breakdown of all the things I wrote this week, in order of what I believe to be their quality. (This is an attempt to have an objective look at the value of my work in a way that I suspect will be difficult to sustain.)

1. Evan Longoria Is Great, But Bad for the Giants, Sports On Earth. I like doing some good old-fashioned transaction analysis from time to time.

2. Review: “All the Money in the World,” Paste Magazine. Is it terrible to say I bet the version with Kevin Spacey is better? It probably is terrible.

3. Fans Are Getting Smarter About Trades, Sports on Earth. Maybe not in my timeline, but most places!

4. Every Spielberg Movie, Ranked and Updated, Vulture. This remains one of our favorite lists, and now it has The Post and The BFG.

5. SyFy Debate Club: “The Terminator” vs. “Terminator 2,” SYFY Wire. This was a tougher choice than I woould have thought.

6. SyFy Debate Club: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” vs. “E.T.,” SYFY Wire. It’s Spielberg Week, apparently.

7. Hot Stove Strategies for Recent World Series Winners, Sports On Earth. Turns out: Most teams stay put.

8. Confidence Pool, Week 16, Sports On Earth. I’m not gonna win, looks like.

9. Dive Dive Dive, Sports On Earth. Dive Dive Dive.

As I say every week: If you are the sort to subscribe to a weekly newsletter, I would have to think it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle to subscribe to one of the three podcasts I do. You don’t even have to listen to them! Just download them. Here they are:

Grierson & Leitch, no show this week, but you should listen to The Last Jedi show and get ready for Dorkfest 2017, coming up next week.

The Will Leitch Experience, no show this week.

Waitin’ Since Last Saturday, no show this week, but big big one coming up next week.

Next week is also my big annual Jamboroo fill in for Drew Magary at my old stomping grounds at Deadspin. A warning: This year’s is kinda dark. Been that kind of year.

Have a great holiday, and be safe out there. Also: Go Illini, crush the Tigers.

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Best,
Will