Once you give your entire identity over to a sport, the lines that separate the game and real life start to disappear. Basketball was born as a winter diversion for students in a northeastern factory town, invented by the orphaned son of a Scottish lumberjack, and a century later it was a multi-billion dollar global industry. For some, basketball skills are the only way up and out of hardship. For others, the only viable career path in a post-industrial age is to stay in the game, no matter what or where. Basketball always ends in a loss, but you're guaranteed to get lost along the way.

Welcome to The Woods, a new 22-essay anthology from TMM's Season 16. Direct purchase includes a download code to unlock EPUB and PDF versions.