How I'm spending my summer

Sports business executives share what they’ve been up to over the summer months: where they’ve been, what they’re reading and watching, and which of their pandemic habits are here to stay.

By Kody Timmers
Sana Shuaib on a recent visit to the Taj Mahal.Courtesy of Sana Shuaib

Sana Shuaib

Vice president of partnership marketing, MLS

Must read: Two of my favorites are “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Chopin’s novel is set at the end of the 19th century where the protagonist struggles between her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the century American South. Zafón’s novel is a coming-of-age tale of a young boy, through the magic of a book, that is set in 1945 Barcelona. You will be locked in from the first page of this incredibly well-written story with complex characters that are woven together in a very thoughtful way. Others to keep on your list include “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty and “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran.

Must watch: “Lupin,” “The Parisian Agency” and “Manifest,” which can all be found on Netflix. And of course, always watching and rewatching my favorite — “Downton Abbey.”

Must go: Very much looking forward to visiting with family and friends in Belgium and France post-MLS All-Star presented by Target.

Pandemic habits or hobbies: Central Park was a lifesaver during the pandemic. While I’ve always been a frequent visitor, I definitely explored more and discovered a variety of new places and spaces sprinkled throughout the park. And of course, tons and tons of “Walk & Talks” with family and friends that I wasn’t able to see in person!\

 

Mike Francesa, Brad Karp, Barry Watkins and John Starks on the links. Courtesy of Barry Watkins

Barry Watkins

Chief executive officer, Clairvoyant Media Strategies

Must read: “WIN,” the recent Harlan Coben thriller. All Coben books are amazing.

Must watch: I listen to the weekly “Talking Sopranos” podcast with Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli. They talk through an episode and then I watch that episode. To me, it remains the greatest show of all time.

Must go: Definitely comfortable going traveling, been going to Palm Beach Gardens in Florida and planning next Disney trip (have been there approx. 75 times).

Pandemic habits or hobbies: Love my new Peloton … my favorite instructor is Hannah Corbin.

 

Jordan Sherman

President and chief commercial officer, Immortals Gaming Club

Must read: “The Hard Things about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz; “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday; “Token CEO” by Erika Nardini (podcast).

Must watch: “Breaking Bad.” Been binging since the pandemic started; never seen it before — show is intense! Almost done with Season 5. “Ted Lasso.” Such a great blend of heart and comedy.

Must go: Professional: Really excited to attend a sold out, in-person esports event and see the excitement of the fans as we return to action. Personal: We had our first child in September and would spend our Friday evenings with her having a picnic at Lighthouse Beach in Marina Del Rey.

Pandemic habits or hobbies: Professional: Picking up the phone and calling people directly. With so much Zoom, Slack and text messaging it will always be the best way to reach me (and for me to reach others) with a simple direct phone call. You lose a lot of that without being in person so it’s always best to just pick up the phone and call. People actually appreciate it. Personal: Watched a ton of Twitch on our big screen TV instead of on the computer. Even dabbled in some of Twitch’s non-gaming content such as co-streaming sports and live concerts.

 

Ezra Kucharz

Chief business officer, DraftKings

Must read: “Project Hail Mary” (Andy Weir), ”The Cellist” (Dan Silva) and “Trillion Dollar Coach” (Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle, Eric Schmidt).

Must watch: “Lupin,” “Mare of Easttown,” “Peaky Blinders.”

Must go: Maine, Wyoming and Martha’s Vineyard.

Pandemic habits or hobbies: Eating healthier and getting exercise, it’s been good to get things back to a better place.

 

Damon Jones

Chief legal officer, Washington Football Team

Must read: I can’t get enough of business and leadership books. So many great ones. I love “The Corner Office” (Adam Bryant) on leadership, “Give and Take” (Adam Grant) on people, and “Connected Strategy” (Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch) on customer relationships.

Must watch: Other than live sports, I’ve not been a big TV guy — so pre-pandemic, my Netflix payment seemed like a charitable contribution. Now, the question is what haven’t I binge watched late at night for a transition between intense days at the “office” and lights out. Recents include “The Crown,” “All American,” “Queen’s Gambit,” “Selena,” “Madam Secretary” … I could go on.

Must go: Miami for regular change of scenery. Thinking of end-of-summer California trip to see family.

Pandemic habits or hobbies: Favorite pandemic hobby I’ll carry forward is biking. Lots of great trails in the DMV for a 20-30-mile ride, and great for alone time with my daughter Maya.

 

Jennifer Rizzotti

President, Connecticut Sun, and assistant coach, USA Women’s Basketball Olympic team

Must read: “The Summer of Calamari” by William Sullivan, “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Redefining Realness” by Janet Mock.

Must watch: “New Amsterdam,” ”Start Up,” Connecticut Sun and the WNBA.

Must go: Tokyo, Japan — OK, maybe not for vacation, but for an awesome trip to the Olympics! Pinehurst Resort in N.C. with my family for a golf vacation; spending time with my family at the pool.

Pandemic hobbies or habits: Going for long walks when I have time; getting up earlier and starting my day with an educational book or good workout; FaceTiming/calling friends and family more to check in.

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