Everybody knows TVTropes
is the best and most time
way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more
. Enter Useful Notes
. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
Jonah Keri looks at the unconventional methods
being used by the Texas Rangers to improve the durability and effectiveness of their pitching staff.
In 2006, Joss Naylor ran 50 miles up and down seventy Lake District
fells, ascending more than 25,000 feet in 21 hours. Not his best performance, but to be fair, he was 70 at the time.
Cumbrian shepherd Joss Naylor
(warning: Youtube link; Cumbrian accent, impossibly adorable sheepdog) is one of the greatest British athletes most people have never heard of, and perhaps the greatest competitor ever in a sport most people have never heard of either: fell-running. [more inside]
Vintage photos of women in sport.
"At the turn of the last century women in the western world were finding a voice, both collectively and individually. As the Victorian era lapsed in to memory and the Edwardian Era commenced many women chose to pursue sports." [more inside]
Harvey Araton wrote
that basketball star Reggie Miller has "a mouth that can stretch as far as his jump shot range." He might be right. Once, in a game against the New York Knicks, Miller so taunted Knicks guard John Starks that Starks headbutted him. Starks was summarily ejected. That incident took place during Game 3 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals - a series New York would go on to win in 5 games. [more inside]
Tomorrow in New York City, the Quiddich World Championship
will be decided. Invented in 2005, Muggle Quiddich is now played at hundreds of high schools and colleges
around the world. Forty six teams are meeting this weekend for the fourth annual world championship
. [more inside]
It's autumn, which means for some nerdy bike racers, it's cyclocross season
. Cyclocross is an off-road cycling discipline characterized by short, hard, intense racing
that requires skilled bike handling, running through mud
or sand, and quickly dismounting, carrying, and remounting your bike to navigate obstacles
. After all, sometimes, carrying your bike
is just faster than riding it
In Europe, cyclocross draws huge crowds despite terrible weather
, but it remains a niche sport in the United States
, though with increasing popularity
- perhaps it's because it's one of the few sports where rank amateurs
can closely mingle with (and race the same courses as) top professionals
With the 2013 UCI Cyclocross World Championships
to be held in Louisville, Kentucky
, its popularity and domestic appeal is expected to continue rising.
Transgender Man Plays on Women's College Team.
A guard for George Washington University's women's basketball team is a transgender man. Kye Allums
, who was born female and has not undergone any hormone treatments, changed his name from Kay-Kay to Kye within the last year and was relieved not to lose his scholarship. "When people refer to me as 'girl' or 'she,' it doesn't sit well with me," Allums said. "That feeling you get when someone pisses you off, that feeling you get when your stomach gets hot and it aches, that's what it feels like. And that's how I know I'm not supposed to be a girl." On Nov. 13, he will be the first transgender person to compete in Division One college basketball, according to OutSports
. Opposing fans used to taunt Allums about his masculine build, but it backfired. "I love it," he said. "It makes me feel better about myself to hear them call me a man."
With all the recent attention in the NFL to dirty tackling, head shots, and concussions, some ground breaking research from Purdue University
suggests that the routine hits to the head that happen 100s of times in every football game may be just as damaging as repeated concussions.
The research was conducted on high school football players. The research uncovered marked reductions on visual memory tests in the kids who had not suffered a concussion and otherwise showed no symptoms of a head injury. These kids were, for all practical purposes, walking around with brain injuries during the season. The good news is that they all were back to normal by the next fall, suggesting that their young brains can heal themselves.
(We are talking about the American brand of football here, but it doesn't seem like a real stretch that too many headers in the football played with a round ball might also be a problem.)
ESPN the Magazine previews the 2010-11 NBA season by collaborating with Marvel Comics artists to produce comic book covers for each NBA team
. The covers, which range from goofy
, were drawn by a team that includes "virtually a who's who of who's hot in comic books right now
." Hi-res jpgs available for your downloading pleasure. [via] [more inside]
Greatest calls in sports
is a selection of 32 great calls in broadcast sports, chosen by Joe Posnanski, obviously US-centric but featuring some good choices. Want some elation this Friday? [more inside]
Since the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola (previously
), soccer in Togo has descended into a freefall. In a strange turn of events, a fake national team recently represented the country in a tournament in Bahrain. The soccer loving people of Togo were outraged when the truth about the situation came out
Secretariat - The Movie
opens next week in the US. A feminist
or a Christian
angle might wring some suspense out of one of the least underdoggy sports stories ever filmed, but at least it's an excuse watch Secretariat's three perfect Triple Crown races again.
The Kentucky Derby
, relentless come-from-behind classic. For a sense of the speed-- the unfortunate Sham, coming in two lengths behind, is also breaking the track record.
The unique backstretch run in the Preakness Stakes
, may well be the fastest a horse has ever moved. If you watch one race, it should be the transcendent Belmont Stakes
. With Inspirational Soundtrack! [more inside]
Women's Pro Tennis Turns 40.
Women's professional tennis was launched by World Tennis
magazine publisher Gladys Heldman
40 years ago on September 23, 1970, with a tournament that had nine entrants and $7,500 in prizes. The original nine
were Billy Jean King and Rosemary Casals along with the lesser known Peaches Bartkowicz, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss. A year later, King became the first female athlete to earn six figures in her sport. In the '80s, Martina Navratilova became the first to earn $1 million. Today the WTA Tour
is an $85 million-a-year sport. "We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis," King said.
The revolution will be counter clockwise! Jam City Rollergirls for WiiWare
is ready to drop later this year. It will be the first video game treating the 75-year old sport of roller derby
. Like most things derby, from the recent Down and Derby
book to the WFTDA
, to DNN
, where you can watch live bouts, to the movie Whip It!
, Jam City Rollergirls is supported by and features
real players of this growing girl-power
sport. [more inside]
Badass Japanese Precision Walking Competition.
Craziness starts at 1:45, and just gets better from there on.
Today, Deadspin leaked financial documents
detailing the finances of several MLB teams, including a few that are getting revenue sharing money. They show that several of MLB's "poorest" franchises turned a profit due to these cash infusions. [more inside]
"This is the best day of my life. I want a cold beer and a shotgun. I’m definitely losing my mind."
The third annual
NW Rapha Gentleman’s (Bicycle) Race
took place this past weekend. Featuring a punishing route that follows the northern base of Oregon's Mt. Hood from Forest Grove to Portland, six-person teams traverse 125 miles over a 6400 foot elevation gain. It's 20% dirt and many miles of gravel climbs. Route Map
. Another Recap
. A Saturday in Hell
. (Via mathowie)
When greedy sports team ban press photographers, cartoonist saves the day.
Southampton Football Club decided to ban press photographers
from their home matches, and sell their own photos to the press. Plymouth Herald hires a cartoonist
instead. [more inside]
A recent drowning tragedy
in Shreveport, Louisiana has brought to light a startling statistic in America: a majority of black youth can not swim. [more inside]
Pelé and Maradona:
the glorious, ludicrous feud between soccer's two biggest stars. In the summer of 2000, FIFA, which does not understand computers, decided to celebrate the arrival of the millennium by hosting an online poll. Its object: to determine the best soccer player of the past 100 years, with the victor to be fêted at a gaudy banquet in Rome. The organizers of the vote assumed it would be won by Pelé, soccer's silky ambassador, who'd been cheerfully ensconced in his Greatest of All Time sinecure for 40 years.
ESPN takes a look
at how Madden NFL became a franchise video game.
Chelsea Baker throws like a girl.
Of course, she is a 13 year old girl, so that is to be expected. She is a pitcher that went 12-0 with 2 perfect games in the Plant City FL Little League this season. She hasn't been tagged with a loss in 4 years. Her secret is the knuckleball that was taught to her by a former coach, retired MLB pitcher Joe Niekro
"When the eminent French poet Jean Cocteau
died last October at the age of 74, his obituaries noted that he had followed an astounding number of part-time careers as well—novelist, playwright, choreographer, film director, critic and artist. But Cocteau's journalistic biographers overlooked the most bizarre of his avocations: he was once the successful manager of a world champion prizefighter.
" - Sports Illustrated, March 2, 1964 [more inside]
may be the greatest mare ever. Even if your not normally into race horses, it's worth seeing this one, there may not be another like her. Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote Seabiscuit
, explains why
(NPR 6min). [more inside]
The Alcatraz Swim-o-Meter
calculates the time and path of your watery escape from Alcatraz, designed and built by San Francisco Dolphin Club
member Kent Myers
Bob Sheppard, the voice of Yankee Stadium, died Monday.
Only two months shy of his 100th birthday, Sheppard was known for his concise speaking style as the public-address announcer for the Yankees. He held that position from 1951 to 2007, announcing lineups containing baseball greats like DiMaggio and Mantle up to today's players, like Derek Jeter, who requested that Sheppard's voice
be the only voice to announce his name in Yankee Stadium. His longetivity and distinct announcing voice made him popular with many generations of Yankee fans. [more inside]
They were one of history’s greatest teams. But by the late 2000s, Pro Vercelli were entrenched in the lower leagues, their glorious past forgotten. Until one day, a man bought a video game. Read the uplifting saga of a small-town Italian club, an unknown American manager, triumph, betrayal, passion, and several extremely good recipes, from start to finish [more inside]
Wade Boggs is known to like his beer
. Well, now a Tapper
where Boggs drinks beers, throws away girlie drinks, and eats burgers to sober up has been created. [more inside]
Billy Ray Bates
, in his words, was "an average player who can do fantastic things. After flaming out in the NBA, he became a legend in Phillippine Basketball Association
.> [more inside]
View any web site like you're at the South Africa World Cup!
Mamie "Peanut" Johnson
is one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues, and as of yet, the only woman
to pitch at the major level in the United States. [more inside]
A heartbreaking 10-minute documentary on Joe Gaetjens
who scored the single goal in the USA's shocking victory over England at the 1950 World Cup. Gaetjens was a Haitian accounting student at Columbia University who went to Europe shortly after the 1950 World Cup and returned to Haiti a few years later. His story
, and the story of the upset victory
, was until recently largely unknown in the US.
Joeurt Puk (aka Joe Cook) is the father of Cambodian baseball. In this feature
by ESPN, Patrick Hruby looks into Cook's background and finds that Cook may not be the tireless philanthropist he claims to be. [more inside]
Bulgaria is not what you'd call a wealthy country. It has a smaller population than New York City. But Bulgaria utterly dominates the sport of Olympic Weightlifting.
A full explanation of this prowess is beyond the scope of a simple blog post, but I will share with you this six-minute video about a man who built a nationally-ranked team training his athletes with barbells made of pipes and cogs and assorted industrial junk.
I hope this goes at least a little way towards explaining their remarkable accomplishments.
Moving Remy in Harmony
- Pixar's Use of Harmonic Functions. [more inside]
Following on from Jonathan Wilson's excellent column The Question
), Zonal Marking illustrates
how a football match is won and lost, often with same-day analysis and emphasis on individual players
. [more inside]
is a 2009 documentary about the Lady Lions,
the Penn State women's basketball program, under Rene Portland. [more inside]
Straight Acting [57m] is a first-person documentary about one man's journey from Mormon missionary to comfortably gay rugby player. [more inside]
Irish Road bowling
traces its origins to the 1600s
. The idea
of the sport is simple: players compete to roll a 28-ounce iron ball (or "bowl") along a country road, covering a pre-set distance in as few throws as possible. Hotbeds of the sport include Ireland
(of course), West Virginia
, New York
, North Carolina
, the Netherlands
(where it is called "klootshieten"
and is played with somewhat different rules), and Germany (another variant called Boßeln
). [more inside]
Students at the University of Mississippi voted
yesterday to help select a new mascot. The previous mascot, Colonel Reb
, a white-bearded old man with a cane and wide-brimmed hat, was removed
from sporting events in 2003. There is now a student-led effort
"Star Wars" character Admiral Ackbar
(video of Ackbar saying "It's a trap!" here
) as the new mascot. This effort includes a Facebook group
and twitter account
. The slogan is, "This time it's not a trap." Officials at the University say "No chance
." Meanwhile, the "Save Colonel Reb Foundation
" has sponsored a series of radio ads, including this one.