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From Wrestling Legend to Double Amputee, Kamala Keeps Fighting

The name Jim Harris probably doesn't mean much to many pro wrestling fans, however, most would be very familiar with his alter ego, Kamala. Billed as hailing from Uganda, Kamala, who never spoke, was portrayed as a dangerous, cannibalistic savage. After debuting the Kamala gimmick in Memphis in 1982, his career peaked in the mid-80s when he had a main event level feud with the biggest star of the era, Hulk Hogan. Unfortunately, as detailed in this article from the Bleacher Report, the past few years have been challenging for Harris both medically and financially, but he maintains a positive outlook. [more inside]
posted by The Gooch on Nov 20, 2014 - 3 comments

Sea of Crises

A sumo wrestling tournament. A failed coup ending in seppuku. A search for a forgotten man. How one writer’s trip to Japan became a journey through oblivion. [slGrantland]
posted by cthuljew on Nov 5, 2014 - 28 comments

Hatin' Ass Spurrier

Hatin' Ass Spurrier has nothing to do with Steve Spurrier, the always colorful Head Ball Coach at the University of South Carolina. Hatin' Ass Spurrier does, however, channel the same spirit that Spurrier has brought to college football ever since he first put on a Gators jersey in 1963. Hatin' Ass Spurrier reviews the Saturday action once per week during football season, thanks to the surprisingly literate blog Every Day Should Be Saturday. [more inside]
posted by saintjoe on Nov 3, 2014 - 8 comments

Sometimes when I'm with [the boys], I feel like I'm not a girl.

The Afghan Women's National Cycling Team trains six mornings a week in the quiet predawn streets of Kabul to futher their dream of one day qualifying for and participating in the Olympics. "In a country where girls have faced acid attacks just for going to school, the dangers of doing sport in public go beyond insults or the momentary impact of a well-aimed stone." [more inside]
posted by lonefrontranger on Oct 28, 2014 - 7 comments

This exhibition... has ushered ecstatic experience back into the world.

Thrown by Kerry Howley chronicles the author's exploits as a philosophy grad student turned devoted follower of a succession of MMA fighters; the connection is less odd than it sounds. The Paris Review has an excerpt from the book (parts one and two), detailing the weigh-in process for fighter Erik Koch before his victory over Cisco Rivera in 2010 in Las Vegas. At Salon, Lydia Kiesling writes that Thrown recalls the best of literary fiction: The nearly hysterical circumlocutory gymnastics of the narrator, and her dual position as a predator and supplicant to her fighters, reminded me of nothing so much as Humbert Humbert, with immense cauliflower-eared men in the startling role of Lolita. More reviews of Thrown at Time (paywalled) and Oxford American.
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 17, 2014 - 5 comments

Some people are so poor

When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care. As players, we’re not supposed to really care about anything but basketball. We’re just supposed to perform. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do? Just picture me at the press conference my rookie year. “Uh … hey, guys, before we talk about today’s game, did you happen to see that investigative report on my owner?” -- The Boss. An Essay about working for the NBA, by Blake Griffin. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 16, 2014 - 33 comments

Brains vs. Brawn in Baseball

The Economist examines the cult of the genius GM.
In sports, just like the rest of life, the rich keep getting richer. Anyone who saw or read Moneyball knows that the deck is stacked against small-market Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Their only hope of competing, Michael Lewis’s story goes, is to acquire brilliant, innovative general managers (GMs) like his protagonist Billy Beane, who have mastered the “art of winning an unfair game” by outmaneuvering wealthier clubs. The problem with this narrative is that there is nothing to stop the sport’s plutocrats from hiring the finest minds money can buy, just as they sign the best athletes.
The deep-pocketed Dodgers have lured away small market Tampa Bay's heralded GM Andrew Friedman to find out what happens when a man who consistently builds winners with one of the smallest revenue streams in the game can do with a payroll in excess of $200 million.
posted by DirtyOldTown on Oct 15, 2014 - 32 comments

Current record: 2:02:57

What Will It Take to Run a 2-Hour Marathon? (Warning: data viz, annoying design)
posted by gwint on Oct 12, 2014 - 22 comments

The Toughest Sailing Race on Earth

The 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race begins today, leaving Alicante, Spain headed for Cape Town, South Africa. The longest and most dangerous sporting event in the world, the epic sailing regatta covers 38,739 nautical miles and will take nearly 9 months to complete, covering the toughest conditions on earth, including the dreaded Southern Ocean.

This year's race shares almost nothing in common from the original Whitbread in 1973, save for one thing; there is no prize for winning. [more inside]
posted by braksandwich on Oct 10, 2014 - 18 comments

Your College Football Team Sucks

The NYT, following up previous maps examining the relationship between geography and baseball and basketball fandom, has released a college football fandom map. Like the previous maps, it's based on Facebook Likes and zip code data, so its accuracy may be a little suspect. But it's still fun, especially when it supports your preconceived opinion of a rival school! We discussed the baseball map previously.
posted by COD on Oct 3, 2014 - 53 comments

Bad News Beards

Who's the hairiest team in baseball? The Washington Post weighted the style of facial hair, or lack thereof, of all active ballplayers on a scale of 0 to 8 — zero being clean shaven, eight being the grizzliest — then calculated the average hairiness of each team.
posted by troika on Oct 3, 2014 - 24 comments

76 of 79 Deceased NFL Players Found to Have Brain Disease

76 of 79 Deceased NFL Players Found to Have Brain Disease [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 1, 2014 - 85 comments

Mark Saltveit profiles Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly

Metafilter's own Mark Saltveit profiles eclectic Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly for Philly.com. Saltveit already wrote the book on Kelly, and the profile is part of a follow-up effort called "Controlled Chaos: Chip Kelly's Football Revolution." [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Sep 26, 2014 - 54 comments

She has personally lowered the world record in the 1,500 by 14 seconds

"This is a column about Katie Ledecky. It has a simple thesis. The thesis is that Katie Ledecky kicks ass."
posted by troika on Sep 19, 2014 - 29 comments

Living the GoPro Life

We Are a Camera: Experience and memory in the age of GoPro.
posted by chunking express on Sep 15, 2014 - 15 comments

“Don’t open your story with a picture of an abandoned house.”

Wyoming Indian High is located in Ethete, a tiny town of about 1,500 residents, in central Wyoming. The school itself is composed of approximately 200 students, mainly from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Reservation. Given the hoops mania, though, the gym is the largest in the state, capable of holding 3,000-plus rabid fans. That’s right. A bunch of Native American kids from the rez are the basketball kings of Wyoming. If you haven’t heard of this dominant team, you might know the area itself—the subject of consistently negative, reductive and often false representation(s) in the media, where life on the reservation is depicted as nothing but a sad, grim blight; and has served to reinforce all of the old prejudices about Native Americans."

posted by ChuraChura on Sep 2, 2014 - 17 comments

"...and Sampras was a different cat entirely."

Can U.S. Men’s Tennis Rise Again? [New York Times]
posted by Fizz on Aug 23, 2014 - 3 comments

I'm Just a Guy Whose Library Went Dark

"Friends tell me I’ll be remembered as the author of the definitive book on football [The Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football]. Or as the writer who popularized weekly NFL picks. Or one of the early crossovers into 24-hour sports television. To me, none of that matters. Right now, I’m just a guy whose library went dark on November 22, 2008."[auto play video] - Paul Zimmerman, known as Dr. Z, collaborates with Ken Rodgers, the supervising producer for NFL Films, to tell his story. Thank you, Dr. Z. Yours truly, Everybody.
posted by nadawi on Aug 17, 2014 - 6 comments

She Throws Like a Girl (with a 70 MPH fastball)

This past Sunday, Philadelphia's Taney Dragons punched their ticket to the Little League World Series behind the complete game shutout pitching performance of Mo'Ne Davis, who at 13-years-old already throws a 70 MPH fastball. Davis will become only the 17th girl to play in the LLWS in 68 years. She has become an inspiration to others as she redefines what it means to "throw like a girl".
posted by The Gooch on Aug 12, 2014 - 40 comments

"I Went to the Zoo With Roy Halladay"

" After more than four years, 1,800+ bolg posts, and countless silly indulgences surrendered to in the name of "being ZWR" … I’m incredibly proud to say that at approximately 10:00 a.m. this morning I went to the zoo with Roy Halladay!" [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 8, 2014 - 8 comments

This Woman Just Shattered One of Pro Sports’ Most Enduring Glass Ceiling

Becky Hammon becomes first woman (assistant) coach in the NBA. With the San Antonio Spurs
posted by edgeways on Aug 6, 2014 - 27 comments

The Not So United States of Infographics

One of the more ubiquitous formats for "infographics" these days is the U.S.A. Map Comparing Individual States and promoting interstate rivalries. After all, wherever you live in the U.S. of A., you need bragging rights for something, right?

Recently, Business Insider featured "27 Maps That Explain America" including ones that compared each state's percentage of residents with passports, most overrepresented job in every state, percentage of each state's population with a 4-year degree, number of billionaires in each state, number of Starbucks locations in each state, states' stances on climate change (judged by Think Progress), fast food consumption and exercise frequency (detail in a weird format here and here), and cavities per capita.

But Business Insider is certainly not the only site 'mapping the states'... [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 1, 2014 - 29 comments

Havin' a ball

The 2014 edition of the quadrennial FEI World Equestrian Games will be taking place next month in Normandy, France. In addition to the game's 8 medal disciplines, there will be two demonstration sports. You're probably familiar with polo. But have you ever heard of horse-ball? [more inside]
posted by drlith on Jul 26, 2014 - 9 comments

La Course - The Race

On Sunday 27 July, history will be made when a group of professional cyclists rides the Champs-Elysées. Among the riders who have never before been allowed in the Tour de France, is an athlete The Guardian has called "the finest cyclist of their generation" and who Bicycling Magazine recently touted as one "who could be the most naturally gifted, hardest-working cyclist who ever lived", Marianne Vos. Also riding will be writer, filmmaker, former figure skater and triathlete Kathryn Bertine. Triathlete and marathoner Emma Pooley described her expectation for the event: "On a scale of one to 10, I'd say that La Course is 11 on the excitement levels." Along with the athlete who holds/held all three Ironman world and championship records (including the overall world record), Chrissie Wellington, they created the campaign Le Tour Entier, whose motto is Liberté, Égalité, Cyclisme, a play on the French national motto. [more inside]
posted by fraula on Jul 26, 2014 - 18 comments

I am a natural sportsballer. Right here. Built to sportsball. Watch out.

Which sport are you physically most suited for? Find out with some help from the BBC!
posted by phunniemee on Jul 23, 2014 - 129 comments

"Beating the Globetrotters is like shooting Santa Claus."

Red Klotz, who led basketball’s biggest losers, the Washington Generals, dies at 93. In his time with the Generals, Mr. Klotz lost at least 14,000 games, or 15,000, or, according to some estimates, more than 20,000. “That sounds about right,” Mr. Klotz would shrug whenever someone tried to calculate the number. “I don’t count the losses,” he told the Washington City Paper in 2007. “It’s easier to keep track of the wins.” Mr. Klotz won six games, his biographer concluded. Or maybe it was four. Possibly just two. But definitely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, his team won one game for sure.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Jul 20, 2014 - 24 comments

Rarely is the question asked: is our kids competing?

"We sort our kids. We rate them. We chart them, and we measure their progress against the rest of the country and pray that they come out on the high end of the curve. And frankly, it's all horseshit. Every last bit of it. The competition industry is crushing us all." Drew Magary, at Deadspin, unloads on the idea that "these kids today" are little ninnies made soft by participation trophies and unscored soccer games. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jul 16, 2014 - 49 comments

Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the mostly forgotten groundbreaking sportswoman

Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias has, in many ways, become America's all-but-forgotten sports superstar. You might have seen the round brick museum built in her tribute as you zip along Interstate 10 in Beaumont, Texas (Google maps), or remember she ranked #10 on the ESPN SportsCentury top 50 athletes of the 20th century, but that was back in 1999. So if this is all news to you, here's a bit more about Babe. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 15, 2014 - 13 comments

The Life and Times of the Dog-Man

"Casually, I click in a compilation of clips I've never seen before. I think it's another video like other thousands of thousands, but I soon realize it's not. The clips are not Messi goals, his best runs, nor his assists. It's a strange compilation: the video shows hundreds of clips, two or three seconds long each, in which Messi receives strong fouls and doesn't fall to the ground." Messi es un perro is a short essay by Argentine writer Hernán Casciari on Lionel Messi. You can read an English translation on Reddit, Messi Is a Dog. Perhaps the best way to enjoy it is to listen to the original as read by Norberto Jansenson with English subtitles. [via this Deadspin article about Messi by Billy Haisley which you should also read]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 11, 2014 - 23 comments

Like Mortal Kombat, but in real life

Imagine if you could toss two trained fighters into a ring, give them whatever weapons they want, and and let them go full-on Spartacus on each other without anyone getting seriously injured. With the death element removed, even the most die-hard pacifists would have to admit that it’d be pretty damn entertaining. With their new carbon fiber damage-measuring armor, that’s exactly what Australian startup Unified Weapons Master wants to do.
posted by shivohum on Jul 8, 2014 - 60 comments

Reggie Watts Joins Peter Serafinowicz For His World Cup Broadcasting

"And looks like an almost goal. If that whole goal system would have been moved over maybe thirty more feet, we would have been looking at a goal." -- MeFi favorite Reggie Watts (previously) doing World Cup commentary alongside MeFi favorite Peter Serafinowicz (previously) on his Mixlr account, where Serafinowicz has been providing comedic commentary for the games for the last week. [via]
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 26, 2014 - 16 comments

Behind the Bite

So earlier today Luis Suarez, striker for the Uruguay side, bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their respective teams' final group play match for the World Cup. This is not the first time he's done this--in fact, folks were taking bets that Suarez would bite someone during World Cup play. Biting is a major taboo in sports, and sure enough, Suarez is now facing a ban of up to 24 games by FIFA. Indeed, Suarez has a history of violent behavior and racist statements, even when you leave aside the biting incidents. And yet, despite all this, Suarez is generally regarded as one of the best soccer players in the world today. So it's fitting that, just before this year's World Cup began, ESPN published an essay by Wright Thompson (previously) on the many myths and contradictions that surround Luis Suarez.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 24, 2014 - 167 comments

Washington Football Team

U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team. How will the ruling impact the name? [more inside]
posted by troika on Jun 18, 2014 - 292 comments

Balls

The World's Ball - the NYT reviews the design evolution of the soccer/football from 1930 to the present
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 15, 2014 - 23 comments

Twenty years after infamous Bronco chase, O.J. Simpson still a mystery

Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 13, 2014 - 140 comments

Game of Zones: Championship Is Coming

Ever felt as though the ups and downs of the NBA playoffs and the chase for a ring is like an epic tale? Game of Thrones, NBA edition, part 1. [YouTube, 2:03] & Game of Thrones, NBA edition, part 2. [YouTube, 2:11]
posted by cashman on Jun 13, 2014 - 10 comments

all the young black sportswriters

Betrayal is what led to his defenestration from ESPN the last time around. Betrayal is why his best piece of writing never found the audience it deserved. And betrayal is at the heart of why the most prominent black sportswriter around is also the most hated sportswriter in the black community, and why, 10 months after Jason Whitlock first announced his new endeavor, a black sports and culture site that he'll run under the aegis of his old enemy ESPN, the project is still struggling to get off the ground.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jun 13, 2014 - 21 comments

Beyond samba, sex and soccer: The World Cup riots in Brazil

Brazil has spared no expense for the upcoming World Cup. The month-long competition will feature 64 matches in 12 cities across the country. Refurbishing old stadiums and building new ones has cost Brazil $3.6bn. Several of the new stadiums will seldom be used after the World Cup, and Brasilia's World Cup stadium is estimated to have cost taxpayers $900m. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 28, 2014 - 54 comments

derrick gordon finds his freedom, or well, tries to at least.

how one gay athlete's coming out (autoplaying video) led to an activists' war
posted by and they trembled before her fury on May 26, 2014 - 33 comments

No Relation

It's easy to explain why you love a conventionally excellent player, but way, way more fun to try and explain the appeal of a top-flight athlete whose every step and twitch appeared to be bringing him dangerously close to death itself. You had this guy, St. Louis, and he was awesome and everything, but every time he hit a triple he'd pop up and have the saddest look on his face like everything he loved had died, and left him with the soul of an ancient, sad, and immortal Golem. It was like watching Buster Keaton play centerfield, and he was like that every time he played.
SB Nation Reviews: Willie McGee
posted by davidjmcgee on May 16, 2014 - 43 comments

Go Rams!

Michael Sam (previously), being the 249th draft pick, becomes a St. Louis Ram and the first openly gay man (and already endorsed) in the NFL.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 10, 2014 - 68 comments

Bill Simmons' Big Score

Bill Simmons, Grantland boss and 30 for 30 executive producer, went from a little known Boston blogger to one of the most successful sports writers in the history of American media. Rolling Stone's Rob Tannenbaum took a deeper look at Simmons.
posted by reenum on May 1, 2014 - 14 comments

Are atheletes really getting faster, stronger and better?

The large got larger. The small got smaller. The weird got weirder. When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them. TED talk, 14:53
posted by srboisvert on May 1, 2014 - 22 comments

For the love of (someone else playing) the game

"Draft Day," "Moneyball," and the rise of the sports management movie. There’s a new breed of sports movie in town, one that does away with all that pesky team building and ersatz democracy. These films celebrate the real heroes of sports, the real heroes of any workplace: the bosses.
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 29, 2014 - 40 comments

Please Let This Take Hold In The U.S.

Bubble Football (er Soccer)!! (SLYT)
posted by Descent on Apr 24, 2014 - 11 comments

Dorkiness fits the narrative

The NBA season has ended, and the playoffs have begun, causing a figurative ton of internet ink to be spilled on predictions and power rankings. But one word in particular seems to keep popping up in articles to describe white players like Steve Novak, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Andrew Bogut, and Josh McRoberts: "Dorky." And the writers that use it are inevitably white. Triangle Offense's Khalid Saalam (previously) thinks they should probably cut that out.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 22, 2014 - 43 comments

At least they're not juggling baby geese

Combat Juggling is a thing? Yes, Combat Juggling is a thing.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Apr 16, 2014 - 21 comments

If I saw this as a kid I probably would have joined the gymnastics team

Lousiana State University sophomore Lloimincia Hall becomes an Internet sensation after her perfect 10 performances in the floor exercise, combining gymnastics technical proficiency with hot dance moves.
posted by divabat on Apr 15, 2014 - 73 comments

Life imitates art.

In 2002, Lalo Alcaraz drew a depressing political cartoon. In 2014, it happened in real life.
posted by Faint of Butt on Apr 10, 2014 - 98 comments

It would look A LOT like the NFL.

What if the Major League Baseball season were only 16 games? [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 2, 2014 - 93 comments

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