For a few people, fascination with pogo sticks didn't end in childhood. The Smithsonian takes a look at the design challenges, and the sport, of modern pogo. They also provide a short video demonstrating these advances. [more inside]
Exploring the audible world:
- How Music Works: Melody, Rhythm, Harmony and Bass. (3 hr. UK Channel 4 documentary).
- The Macaulay Library, the world's largest and oldest library of nature recordings.
- The creative process of industrial sound design and 11 sounds threatened with extinction. The technical challenges of broadcasting the sound of sport and the surprises of “real” sound.
- The woman behind the voice of 200 airports.
Non-orthogonal soccer fields, a slideshow
In another attempt to increase the popularity of cricket in America, a tournament based on T20 (Twenty-twenty), an extremely short form of the game where a match can last as little as three hours, is planned for next year. Though cricket is one of the oldest sports in the country, and the USA is one of the 106 members of the International Cricket Council, speculation still periodically emerges (Slate, BBC) on whether the nation is ready for cricket's big 'breakthrough'. [more inside]
J.R. Moehringer's essay discusses the end of football, the immortality of football, head injuries, and why what the sport means to America and to him.
When Alexander of Macedonia was 33 he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer - Bristow is only 27!
Finding it hard to get excited about the Olympics? Feel like the broadcasters aren't giving you enough back-story or form guides to the sports you want to watch but haven't seen for 3 years and 51 weeks? You need the Olympics Prospectus. [more inside]
Fans of the Nashville Predators Hockey team threw a live catfish onto the ice during Friday’s game. Since 1996, fans of Florida Panthers have been throwing fake rats onto the ice, after player Scott Mellanby discovered a huge rat circulating in his dressing room, split it open with his stick and then scored a couple decisive goals, inspiring the 'Rat Trick' tradition. And supporters of the Stockholm-based AIK ice hockey team threw rubber dildos, and waved giant inflatable penis, to remind player Jan Huokko, (‘Dildo-Jan’) of a leaked sex video of him with his girlfriend. Turns out this kind of thing is fairly common in the world of hockey fandom. (Via Everlasting Blort)
Christianne Harder on why Jessica Dorrell's actions hurt all women trying to work in college football.
Goalgasm: a brief history of over-excitable commentaries
The 158th Boat Race between Oxford University Boat Club & Cambridge University Boat Club last Saturday was perhaps the most eventful in the event's 183 year history. The race was stopped after a protestor, Trenton Oldfield, swam out out the course and was narrowly missed by Oxford's blades. After a 20 minute delay, the race was restarted. Thirty-five seconds in, the Oxford cox was warned for steering into Cambridge's line, and then initiated a blade-clash that broke one of Oxford's blades. Cambridge rowed on to win by four and a quarter lengths (Official race report). After finishing the race, Oxford's bowman collapsed, and was taken to hospital; the traditional presentation ceremony was abandoned. The OUBC medical officer stated: "The sudden and premature stopping of the Race when concentration and exertion were at their peak was bad enough, but when the Race had lost its equal footing for having lost an oar, the psychological response was to try even harder. Oxford drove themselves to the limit to try to contain the damage. Alex Woods rowing at Bow reached the finishing line and found he had expended all reserves of energy; in my view he had rendered himself hypoxic, and this was the cause of his collapse". He has returned home to recover. [more inside]
Opening Day is upon us once again. As always, there are a ton of predictions being made for the season. [more inside]
New Zealand produces some of the world's best shearers and its national championship, the Golden Shears, receives substantial media coverage; but the IOC is unlikely to be persuaded that it should be an Olympic demonstration sport. [more inside]
Anticipating a season long lockout, several NBA players signed contracts with teams in the Chinese Basketball Association. Now that a labor deal has been reached, leaving for the NBA won't be easy.
The Caravan magazine takes a long, hard look at the Formula 1 inaugural enterprise in India.
People Are Awesome (2011 Vers. SLYT)
You must have heard about frisbee, a flying disc based pastime, haven't you? Throwing a flying disc can be more exciting than you think. You can try to break one of the world records (there's a record for 1-year olds and a challenge for 102+ years old women). Alternatively, you can play some competitive games, including some well known ones like ultimate and some you probably haven't heard about: buttgutts, a game of immense skill played between two teams of one to ten players each. The objective is to hit the oppostition's butts with discs.
Hold Ye Front Page. The History of the World, presented as Front Pages from the often controversial UK tabloid, The Sun [more inside]
She won the World Championship less than a year after turning professional. She is undefeated in her event. She has repeatedly broken her own world record. Sports Illustrated calls her the world's greatest female athlete. [more inside]
Embarrassment alert: some would say Channel 4 hired the wrong man (Youtube) to host live coverage of the Athletics World Championships. The consensus seems to be that Channel 4 are to blame.
The Aeronautical Pentathlon Has Six Events—and Flying Doesn't Count. Aeronautical pentathlon—which inexplicably has six events—is a riff on the modern pentathlon at the Olympics. Created 63 years ago, the military pilots' version has pretty much flown under the radar. And though the sport is based on flying, the nonflying parts of the competition determine the winner. While it is exclusively practiced by air forces, it was always excluded from the military Olympics—called the World Military Games—until last month's event in Rio de Janeiro. ... and the home team wins. [more inside]
Before the former American football player Dave Duerson killed himself, he asked that his brain be left to researchers studying head injuries among athletes.
Even if you calculate that on average away teams only ever had a 10 per cent chance of beating one of Mourinho’s sides (for some, like Gijón, it might be a lot less, but for others, like Sporting Lisbon, AC Milan, Manchester United or Barcelona, it would be a lot more), the odds against going unbeaten for 150 matches are more than seven million to one. The London Review Of Books on the home advantage in sports.
Copa América is streamed live on YouTube. Copa América is the oldest international football competition, having been held first in 1916. This is a contest between the 10 South American nations and two invitational teams, this time Costa Rica and Mexico, who both sent young squads (Japan was slated to take part but withdrew due to the earthquake). The tournament started yesterday with Bolivia unexpectedly managing to hold Argentina to a draw. Colombia are currently beating a 10-man Costa Rica 1-0. Brazil start their campaign tomorrow, against Venezuela. One of the world's premier football writers, Jonathan Wilson, wrote previews of the three groups, A, B and C. The Independent has more light-hearted team previews.
Cricketer Adrian Shankar recently hit the headlines in Britain after blagging his way into an embarrassed Worcestershire side but he's hardly the first to overcome a complete lack of talent to launch a brief, inglorious sporting career. Rosie Ruiz famously took a bit of a shortcut to 'win' the 1980 Boston marathon and Senegalese footballer Ali Dia made a brief and solitary appearance for Southampton, as substitute for the sublime Matt Le Tissier no less, after fooling the notoriously hard bitten Graeme Souness. Excellent as their efforts may have been, none possessed the all round sporting skills of the immortal Karl Power.
With the NFL and NBA potentially going dark in the fall, Michael Schur and Nate DiMeo of Grantland.com decide to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match to see if it can be a suitable replacement.
Dildo Sport: the first strap-on athletic accessory that helps you play hard and win big!. SLVimeo; 1.20, NSFW. [more inside]
Before his death, Mickey Mantle spoke to Sports Illustrated about the effect that alcoholism had on his life and career. [more inside]
Bartolo Colon, now of the New York Yankees, underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to regain his old form.
Recent research on children. (1) Brothers and sisters who argue a lot can improve their language, social skills and outcomes: Guardian article; paper on part of the research (pdf). (2) First findings from Understanding Society. Conclusions include: the unhappiness of children’s mothers with their partners affect children’s happiness, but this is not the case if children’s fathers are unhappy in their relationships; having older brothers or sisters doesn’t appear to affect children’s happiness, but having younger brothers or sisters is associated with less happiness; not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation. (3) A longitudinal study on people now in their forties has found that for these people reading is linked to career success, though not necessarily to better pay, whilst playing computer games and doing no other activities was associated with less likelihood of going to university. In particular, those who owned a ZX Spectrum or Commodore C64 were less likely to go to university. thinq interview with researcher. Guardian article. Telegraph article. (4) Poll about children’s attitudes to losing in sport. Press release. Data from children’s survey. Data from parents’ survey. (All three are PDFs.)
"I've never been in a stadium that feels like this one. Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, people from different castes and classes, speakers of a dozen languages, all citizens in the Republic of Sachin. The stern cops give wide smiles and thumbs-ups. The chant goes from "Sachin! Sachin!" to "Hoo … ha … IN-DI-A!" They are interchangeable." [more inside]
But street football doesn't really exist any more, Cooper admits. "Many children have never played outside. And in some cases their parents haven't either." He cites a 2009 survey by the charity Living Streets which found that only half of five- to 10-year-olds had ever played in their street, whereas nine of out 10 of their grandparents had. How the increasing professionalisation of soccer at all levels in the UK has led to the death of park and street footie for ordinary kids.
Skateistan - To Live and Skate in Kabul (9:16) is a short documentary based on the work of the NGO Skateistan (previously), who provide lessons in skateboarding, environmental health, information technology, art and language to hundreds of boys and girls in Kabul, Afghanistan. (via) [more inside]
Speedflying in Wengen 2010. After watching it, it seems these guys really like crack. If you want to give it a go, learn how. [more inside]
Bye bye Big Mal. Malcolm Allison, one of the most flamboyant characters in English football, has gone to the players' lounge in the sky. He certainly knew what sold, with his signature cigar, fedora and sheepskin coat, and also laid on a pretty good bath. But all that stuff aside, he was a well-respected manager, and will be fondly remembered by Manchester City fans (you can read the fans' tributes here, and leave your own if you are so inclined) for leading them to glory in the late 60s and early 70s. The world is a lesser place without him.
SKYLINER: A short documentary about highlining in the French Alps.
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.
Commonwealth, schmommonwealth. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are on. Horse lovers the world over are enthralled by the high drama and hijinks in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Already there's been a controversial withdrawal following a travel-related mishap (on the very same flight hilariously previewed here.) In all the excitement, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, a "cowboy dressage" rider in the opening ceremony, seems to have burst a spleen. As expected, the Dutch took the gold medal in Dressage despite one of their team being disqualified with a horse bleeding from the mouth. Some point to training methods like rollkur, or hyperflexion, saying they are cruel and abusive. The FEI has banned rollkur; former advocates say that what they do is not rollkur, but "LDR" (long, deep and round.) Look at the lawsuits fly! In happier news, the gloriously named Nobby took the gold medal in the Endurance event. "He could go another 100 miles today if you wanted him to," rider Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton said of the 15-year-old bay Arab gelding. Still to come, the equestrian triathlon: Eventing! [more inside]
What’s Caster Semenya’s diagnosis? According to somebody who isn’t a doctor, let alone Semenya’s doctor, the reputed intersex track phenom (previously) “has what’s called congenital adrenal hyperplasia.” At least, such is the declaration of Kristen Worley, an MTF transsexual cyclist. (The IAAF cleared Semenya to compete in July 2010, but vowed to keep medical details private.) [more inside]
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]
ESPN takes a look at how Madden NFL became a franchise video game.
Five members of the Quinnipiac University women's volleyball team, and the team's coach, have sued the school for dismantling the team to use the money for a cheerleading squad. More on the legal background of the case. Quinnipiac has been also been accused of cooking the roster books--triple counting track/field athletes--to inflate the number of female athletes. [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]