Week of December 18, 2020


$3M Whoops I haven’t read many stories about the honor of sports agents, but this is one. Back in the day (03-04 season), Anthony Carter had a player option for $4M with the Heat, which was more than his play the previous year would demand in the open market. Carter’s agent, Bill Duffy, forgot to formally notify the team his client (obviously) planned to opt into the last year. He missed what would amount to a 3M deadline.  Carter signed elsewhere for the league minimum, but never once considered leaving Duffy. In fact, the two have never discussed it beyond a meeting shortly after the blunder in which Duffy promised to make Carteer whole by way of a payment plan. Duffy paid off the final installment this year, and this excellent story details how the blunder impacted all parties: Carter, Duffy, and the Miami Heat.  Per Sopan Deb: 

It was a blunder that had cascading effects. The most noteworthy ripple was that it gave Pat Riley, the Heat’s president, an unexpected amount of cap space that summer, which he used to sign Lamar Odom as a free agent. One year later, in 2004, Odom was the centerpiece of a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for Shaquille O’Neal. Two years after acquiring O’Neal, Miami won its first N.B.A. championship. It was Duffy’s clerical error that, at least in part, allowed the championship to happen. That turned Carter’s contract situation with the Heat into one of the all-time “What Ifs?” in league history.

Nearly 20 years later, Carter is now an assistant coach with the Heat. Riley is till the Corleone of the Heat, and Duffy is still reviewing Carter’s contracts. Read the story to hear just how much has changed and yet stayed the same. – PAL  Source: An Agent’s Mistake Cost an N.B.A. Player $3 Million. He Paid Him Back.”, Sopan Deb, The New York Times (12/14/2020) TOB: Duffy had almost no choice. He could have let Carter sue him, and Duffy’s insurance company would have made Carter whole. But Duffy’s career as an agent would have been over. So, he certainly had great incentive to pay Carter – but still, good for him.  Side note. Carter mentions that he dropped out of high school after his freshman year and spent the next few years traveling around the city of Atlanta playing basketball games for cash. His performances in those games got him noticed by a JUCO in college in California, which led to his NBA career.  This seems rather crazy, but for the fact I learned this week that former Rockets star Steve Francis had a similar story. I stumbled on Stevie Franchise’s 2018 Players Tribune article this week and learned that Francis played just two games his entire high school career. Otherwise, he sold drugs and played a little AAU ball. An AAU coach took a liking, and Francis found himself moving from D.C. to a Houston JUCO. I had never even wondered if a player had ever carved out a successful NBA career after not playing in high school, and now I read about two. Interesting coincidence!


Negro Leagues Recognized as a Major League  On Thursday, word came out that Major League Baseball would recognize the Negro Leagues as part of the Major Leagues. It comes too late, but it’s still a big deal. Amongst other ramifications, that means that stats from the Negro League count. To see it in one stat, Ted Williams’ .406 batting average in 1941, which is widely considered the last time any player hit .400 in the majors, will be replaced by Josh Gibson’s .441 in 1943.  2020 is the centennial anniversary of the Negro Leagues, and we posted Ben Lindbergh’s story about this push for Major League distinction back in August. The victory is the result of the hard work of folks like John Holoway and Larry Lester.  Per Lindbergh (August):

In the decades after the 1970 publication of Robert Peterson’s influential book about Black baseball, Only the Ball Was White, researchers such as John Holway and Larry Lester led painstaking efforts to assemble comprehensive statistics from long-buried box scores. Last year, a collection of Negro Leagues scholars and researchers published a book of essays called The Negro Leagues Were Major Leagues, which laid out the strong statistical and ethical case for inclusion. But until 2020—when the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues coincided with sweeping societal protests of racial injustice and an abbreviated, jury-rigged MLB regular season—MLB hadn’t considered the subject.

I love when hard, unglamorous work leads to real change. I liked this quote from lead researcher Larry Lester. Remember, this is a guy that spent years searching archives of local newspapers to find box scores from games played about 80 goddamn years ago: 

“No other sport holds to its history like baseball does,” Kendrick says. “It is that beautiful game of comparison and statistics, and the statistics have not always been readily available. So in the minds of many, it discounted the Negro Leagues, because they would say, ‘Aw, that’s just legend and lore.’ And yeah, there is a lot of legend and lore that surrounds it. And I love that, but now you get a quantifiable look at the greatness of these players.” That quantification may lead to more Hall of Famers from the Negro Leagues (who remain underrepresented) or reevaluations of vague claims like the “almost 800 home runs” referenced on Gibson’s Cooperstown plaque. “Using that hyperbole to exaggerate someone’s greatness is unnecessary when his basic stats are good enough,” Lester says.

A story about doing the painstaking work required in order to right a wrong – PAL Source: MLB Is Finally Recognizing the Negro Leagues as the Major Leagues They Always Were”, Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer (12/16/20)


Tiger’s Track Runs Cold If you’re a golf fan, you know about @GCTigerTracker, a twitter account that for the last eight years followed and Tweeted Tiger Woods’ every move on a professional golf course, at every single tournament he entered. And I’m not really exaggerating. Here’s a random sample:   It’s half play by play, half fan rooting for his or her guy. To that end, TigerTracker’s identity remained a public secret, with hordes of fans trying to guess TigerTracker’s true identity, unsuccessfully. And then, after 47,000 tweets, 500k followers, and countless memes later, TigerTracker went silent in October when Tiger began his first round at the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, CA. The silence had fans freaking out. Even the Golf Channel’s official account took note:

The Ringer’s John Gonzalez set about to solve the mysteries: Who is Tiger Tracker? Why is Tiger Tracker? And why did Tiger Tracker suddenly stop tracking? What follows is a fascinating look at how a good things goes sour – on the one hand, corporate overlords who don’t really understand a grassroots, organic Thing and what to do with it; and on the other the employee who lets a little popularity go to its head and overestimates the importance of what has been created. A fascinating read. -TOB Source: What Happened to Tiger Tracker, Golf’s Most Beloved Twitter Account?John Gonzalez, The Ringer (12/17/2020) PAL: You can all but hear these dudes making the rules for TigerTracker and taking it way, way, way too seriously. Probably looked and sounded something like this:


Video of the Week:

Tweet of the Week:

(Holiday) Song of the Week:  The Pogues – “Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)”


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I just think that there are two specific kinds of people in the world: people who own houses and people who own condos.

-Michael Scott

Week of December 11, 2020


Mucking 

I didn’t know what ‘mucking’ meant prior to reading this great story. I know what muck is, but I’d never heard this verb use case. Now that I do, I think this story presents such a hopeful version of the idea. Per Scott Ostler, the concept of mucking was a practice of POWs in North Korea during the Korean conflict. 

The allied POWs were dying in misery and despair, it was every man for himself, much like prison life can be. Then one group of POWs began practicing what they called “mucking.” The men paired off, each man was challenged to do whatever it took to help his buddy. If he is starving, you gave him your food. You muck for him. Morale shot up. Survival became possible.

The inmates at Soledad State Prison learned about this idea by way of a program in which students at nearby Palma School read and discuss books with them. The idea of mucking in prison camps resonated with some of the inmates, and so a couple of them came up with an idea: they wanted to muck for a Palma student in need. 

As the Soledad inmates and Palma students discussed the story, Ted Gray turned to fellow inmate Jason Bryant and said, “We need to start a scholarship and help a young man who doesn’t have the ability to go to Palma.” The two men set their goal at $30,000, to be given to one student. “Instead of spreading our donation an inch deep and a mile wide,” said Bryant, “we wanted to go an inch wide and a mile deep, and have a fundamental impact on one young man’s life, change the trajectory of his entire life.”

And that’s where Syon Green enters this story. At the time, ‘Sy’ was a sophomore at Palma. His parents stretched to send him to the private school, and health issues were about to make his continued enrollment a challenge.  You can see where the two roads intersect here, but it’s such an uplifting story to savor. I will say this, the inmates, who, after four years, pooled $32,000 for Sy (at $0.11/hr), didn’t just cut the check and move on; they wanted to get to know Sy. They wanted to make sure he had a vision for his life. They held him accountable. 

Green’s parents let the inmates know that he had issues with procrastination and helping around the house. “Did we call him out? Absolutely,” Bryant said. “We had some difficult conversations. We had him chart out a whole list, his duties as a son, as a student, his vision as an athlete. ‘In light of those duties you’ve identified, how important is playing video games? How important is spending a bunch of time on YouTube?’ We were having conversations most of us never had with our parents or big brothers.”

Click the link below to hear how Sy, Ted Gray, and Jason Bryant are doing five years later. You won’t be disappointed. – PAL 

Source: ‘Couldn’t Believe It’: Why Inmates Raised $32,000 to Pay a Bay Area Teen’s Tuition,” Scott Ostler, The San Francisco Chronicle (12/06/2020)


A Modern Day Treasure Hunt I missed this story over the last few years, but it’s an interesting one. Forrest Fenn, some rich old guy from New Mexico wrote an autobiography, wherein he claimed he left a vast treasure worth $2 million…somewhere. He offered only a poem, filled with cryptic clues:

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.  
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.  
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.  
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.  
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.  
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Over the years, Fenn offered more clues – some helpful (it’s in the Rocky Mountains, above 5,000 feet above sea level), and other less so (he drove a sedan to get there). People were obsessed. A guy died trying to find the treasure. He died! Actually, quite a few died. Others wasted years of their lives obsessing over it. Some believed it was a hoax. But it was not! This week, the hunt ended. Jack Stuef, a 32-year old medical student from Michigan, found the treasure.

 

Actually, the hunt ended when Stuef found the treasure last summer. But Stuef kept his discovery a secret, until Fenn’s family (Fenn died in September), recently revealed the discovery, and Mr. Stuef’s identity. Stuef has actually been sued – an attorney from Chicago claims she had spent years deciphering the clues, and that someone hacked her cell phone and stole the information, which lead them to the treasure. Which, LOL. Not sports, but competition. Sports-adjacent, we’ll call it. And a very fascinating read, at that. -TOB

Source: Man Who Found Hidden Treasure in the Rocky Mountains Is Revealed,” Neil Vigdor, New York Times (12/07/2020); see also On the Hunt, ‘Where Warm Waters Halt,’ for a $2 Million Treasure,” Fernanda Santos, New York Times (07/05/2016)

PAL: So that’s how you market self-published memoirs. Hiding a treasure sounds like a really fun to pass the time during retirement. Seriously. I love this idea. 

Wouldn’t it suck if you tried to copy Fenn’s idea, and someone found the treasure in a day?


How 2020 Will Affect a Generation of Baseball Talent

2020 has of course mostly sucked, and its suckiness will have long term ramifications for many, many people. Some of those ramifications we can make educated guesses about, others we can’t foresee. One group for which the latter is true is an entire generation of minor league baseball players.  Unlike most professional sports, the life of most professional baseball players involves years of professional, adult development before players reach their sport’s highest league. For baseball players,  it’s all about reps – play so much baseball against competition at your level, or perhaps a little better, in order to make yourself better so that you can, hopefully, advance. So what happens when, for most minor league players, an entire season is lost?

The Athletic’s Melissa Lockhard, Brittany Ghiroli, and Eno Sarris explored what players lost, how they will be affected, and how teams are planning to make up for the lost time. They also explore the inequities in the game – both in how smarter teams with more resources did more to minimize the impact of the lost season on its prospects, and how prospects in certain parts of the country had a huge advantage on prospects in other parts of the country, or those abroad.  It’s a fascinating look at how some very smart people who are used to doing things a certain way are trying to adapt to fight unknown future effects. -TOB

Source: “‘Everyone Lost’: The Minor League’s Canceled Season Will Reverberate for Years,” Brittany Ghiroli, Melissa Lockhard, Eno Sarris, The Athletic (12/08/2020)


Jim Thorpe 

I think most of us have some idea of who Jim Thorpe was, but this story revealed a good chunk of info about the guy the NY Times described as “probably the greatest natural athlete the world had seen in modern times” in his obit. I knew the Native American was an Olympic legend, and I knew he was a football legend, but I really didn’t know much more than that. 

This story is about people trying to correct the past and preserve stories of Native American achievement. After it was revealed that Thorpe made about $25 a week playing baseball a couple years prior to the 1912 Olympics, they stripped him of two gold medals (decathlon, pentathlon). The golds went to a dude from Sweden and a guy from Norway. In 1982, the IOC re-awarded Thorpe’s family the gold medals. Thorpe was considered a co-winner, which doesn’t make sense, but who would draw the short straw to go to the families of the Swede and Norwegian and ask for the medals back. In an odd twist, there’s no risk of that scenario. Both of the other gold medals are gone – one lost and one stolen.

Equally as shocking to me is this: I had no idea Jim Thorpe played baseball…for 6 years until the age of 32!  He played for the NY Giants, Red, and Braves and then became an all-time great in football. I must have missed his SportsCentury episode. This story got me thinking it might be time for a Jim Thorpe biography. Any recommendations? – PAL

Source: The 100-Year Dispute for Jim Thorpe’s Olympic Golds”, Victor Mather, The New York Times (12/9/2020)


Video of the Week


Tweet of the Week


Song of the Week SNL – Christmas Candle 


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“I don’t know. It was a weird day. I accidentally cross-dressed.”

-Michael Scott

Week of December 4, 2020

My father-in-law actually asked if I wanted to watch this fight with him.


Stories of a Baseball Lifer: Jim Leyland I’m not sure why this Leyland story was posted now. A quick search found no news that would cause this collection of baseball stories from and about Leyland. After reading it, I don’t care why it was posted this week. It’s a great collection of stories from an absolute baseball lifer.  I’m only going to share a few of them, because you really owe it to yourself to read the full piece. This story was tag teamed by a couple writers – Cody Stavenhagen and Rob Biertempfel – so I’m not sure who is responsible for the following, but he wrote the hell out of it:  

Jim Leyland exemplifies our best intentions — and yes, some of our unhealthier impulses. The emotional weight of his caring, trusting, loving nature is held up with cartons of cigarettes and gallons of caffeine.  The anger and the sadness, the joy and the laughter, the songs and the dances, the tirades and expletive-laden soliloquies and encouraging pep talks, are all part of Leyland’s inner machinery. You don’t get one without all the rest.

The inner machinery – I’ve been turning over that phrase for a couple days now. What a great way to describe the complexity of a personality. A great Leyland story to underscore this comes in the aftermath of the viral video of him cursing out a young Barry Bonds: 

For most of us, that’s where the episode ends, but in this article, the writers unearth an equally incredible bit in the wake of Leyland cussing out one the best ever in front of everyone at spring training. 

During camp, Leyland and Donnelly shared a house on Anna Maria Island near Bradenton, Fla. That night, they were in their usual positions — Leyland stretched out on the couch, Donnelly sprawled on the floor — watching ESPN and seeing clips of Leyland’s showdown with Bonds. “They must have shown it 500 times,” Donnelly said. “And Jim said to me, ‘You want (Bonds)?’ I said, ‘No. Get rid of him. He disrespected (instructor) Bill Virdon. It’s terrible, what he did. Barry’s a no-good pain in the ass. Get rid of him.’” ESPN ran the clip again. I’m the fucking manager of this fucking team. … If you don’t want to be here, get your fucking ass out of the way. Leyland watched dispassionately without stirring from the couch. “You want him?” Leyland grumbled again during a commercial break. “You know I said to get rid of him,” Donnelly replied. “He’s no good. He’s bad for the team.” Donnelly got up to grab a drink from the refrigerator. He looked over his shoulder and asked, “Do you want him?” Leyland grinned. “You’re damn right I want him.” Bonds went on to be the runner-up for the National League MVP that summer, then won it outright in ’92, as the Pirates won three straight NL East titles. Nearly 30 years later, Donnelly marveled at the memory of Leyland’s pivotal decision. “It was beautiful,” Donnelly said. “Most guys would’ve agreed with me and gotten rid of Bonds, but Jim knew he had to have him. It’s tough to handle stars, but Jim could do it.”

How good is the part of the story we’ve never heard before? He did the same with Pudge Rodriguez in Detroit, and in doing so earned the respect of everyone in the organization, including the stars themselves. They knew Leyland wouldn’t put up with any shit, but they knew that he valued them and cared about them. It wasn’t just a power trip.

The truly great players, the ones who made their magic happen instinctively, knew Leyland would never meddle with their mechanics. “All I want to say to Bonds is ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night,’” Leyland once told Donnelly. “What the hell else am I going to tell him? I can’t tell him anything about hitting. The only thing I know about hitting is that I couldn’t.”

While Leyland had interests outside of baseball (we’ll get to his singing in a moment), he lived in baseball for decades. He was all-in from the jump, and his life went wherever the game took him, be it falling out of a minor league bus after telling the driver to ‘go to the beach’, or be it meeting his wife when she worked for the Pirates. His last manager gig was in Detroit. By the time he arrived, he’d already managed 14 big league seasons, and yet he lived in the clubhouse until the owner caught on. 

One night in Detroit, [Todd]Jones had planned to camp out in the clubhouse with his 9-year-old son, Alex. Then, Jones pitched and blew a save in that night’s game. Feeling dejected, he tried to find solace spending time with his son. They played Wiffle ball on the field after the game. They finally came inside, ready to sleep before the following day’s matinee game. In the early days of his Tigers tenure — until owner Mike Ilitch found out and set Leyland up with a hotel suite — Leyland lived in the clubhouse. It was about 1:30 a.m. when Leyland peeked out of his office. “He’s sitting in his tighty-whities and he goes, ‘Hey, get over here, let’s start talking,’” Jones said. Jones and his son went into Leyland’s office. The old manager, still clad in his underwear, lit up a Marlboro and started telling stories about Don Zimmer. They all laughed and talked late into the night, and before they finally went to sleep, Leyland reminded Jones that these were the moments the game was really about.

I read this, I only hope Leyland was passing that on from knowing those moments with his son and not missing those moments because of baseball.  One more:

When he managed the Rockies, he often would cross the street from Coors Field and sing at a piano bar after games, a way to unwind and deal with the stress of a brutal 1999 season. In 2006, after Leyland returned from a seven-year hiatus from managing, the Tigers won the AL pennant after Magglio Ordóñez launched a majestic home run into the night. In the midst of celebration later that evening, Leyland burst into song. “He sang, ‘Drinkin’ champagne, feelin’ no pain’ till early morning,’” Jones said. “All I ever heard was that one. But it was like that TV show, ‘The Voice,’ where the ugly-lookin’ lady from England blew everybody away because she had this incredible voice, and it didn’t really match her. That was the way it was when we looked at Leyland.”

This is the only video clip I could find of Leyland singing. Not bad, but I’m not sure about the Susan Boyle comparison. Miggy. He sure looks like he’s having fun, and the suit looks good, too.

This really is a must-read. I left a lot of great stories out from this summary. – PAL 

Source: Barry Bonds, Heaters and Crying on Cue: The Lost F–ing Stories of Jim Leyland”, Cody Stavenhagen and Rob Biertempfel, The Athletic (11/27/2020)

TOB: Those stories are all fine and good, but this prank he pulled on Bob Walk is an all-timer:

“One time, he called me into his office and told me I’d been traded,” said Bob Walk, who pitched for the Pirates from 1984-93. “Before you know it, we’re hugging each other and the tears are coming down our cheeks.”

They cried for several minutes. Walk was upset. It was trade deadline day and Walk, who spent 14 seasons in the majors, was nearing the end of his career.

“Finally, we composed ourselves,” Walk said. “I’m wiping my eyes with my sleeve and I say, ‘Well, I’ve got to move on, I guess. Where am I going?’ And with that Jim laughs and goes, ‘Do you really think somebody wants your ass? Get the hell out of here.’”

Haaaahhaha. Also, read this article – the Varsho and Moises Alou stories are worth it.


Kyle Shanahan: Not as Cool as I Thought?

Over the last week, COVID-19 has spiked so dramatically in the Bay Area that drastic measures are being taken in hopes of avoiding a NYC in March like surge.

Santa Clara County was among the first to act, forcing the San(ta Clara) Francisco 49ers to move their next two home games out of state. An inconvenience, to be sure. Privately, even, I would allow the team some measure of complaint.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who has always struck me as a Cool Coach in the best ways, minus perhaps the hats he wears (flat brimmed, tiny logos, bro!) made those complaints very public this week. It was NOT a good look.

Let’s aside the big picture here for a moment and focus on his specific, narrow, whiny point. The 49ers have been snake bitten this year – both by injuries and a bad QB named James Garoppolo. Coming off a Super Bowl that they absolutely blew, their high expectations have not materialized. They are 5-6, dead-ass last in their (admittedly very tough) division. They are not out of the playoff hunt, but they are 1.5 games out, with 5 to play, and there are three teams ahead of them who are also out of the playoffs, so they have a tough road to hoe. I’m not saying they can’t make the playoffs, but they are not making the playoffs. So what’s he complaining about?

Moreover, his complaints are odd in a year when home field advantage is worth less than it’s ever been worth – there are no or very few fans at most games. The atmosphere is that of a summer scrimmage. So what do the 49ers even lose by playing a couple would-be home games in Arizona? Again, what is he complaining about?

To make it all worse, let’s get back to that big picture. People are getting sick. People are dying. We are closing in on 300,000 deaths, which is about 0.1% of the country’s entire population. Which is just crazy. And he’s worried about a couple football games? Man, get the hell out of here. Take a step back, have some perspective, you spoiled, son-of-a-rich-coach-dad brat. And bend your friggin bill.

Ray Ratto wrote about Shanahan this week. Ratto, the longtime Bay Area sportswriter, popped up at Deadspin last year shortly before its untimely demise, and has no resurfaced at Defector, an employee-owned Phoenix rising from Deadspin’s ashes. I don’t always agree with Ratto’s takes. I also sometimes think he tries too hard to turn a phrase – but you gotta crack some eggs to make an omelette, and Ratto also makes some Michelin-starred omelettes. Unfortunately I cannot link you to the full story because it is subscriber-email only, but I will give you this excerpt:

It sucks trainloads, yes. But this is one of those rare times when it sucks for everyone a bit more evenly. And Shanahan’s discomfort is actually good, even if he isn’t enjoying it much. It is never a bad thing to learn how the customers live, even if it’s face-first, and Shanahan’s reaction is what it should be.

As long, we hasten to add, as he understands that he is not alone, or separate, or special. If the nation en masse had viewed COVID as a shared burden rather than something that ought to happen to people we don’t agree with, maybe we wouldn’t be dealing with this to the frightful extent we are now. And maybe we would. But I know lots of people who have it way worse than the San Francisco 49ers, so a couple of weeks without the comforting sights of Great America Amusement Park by Levis Stadium is going to hurt them a lot less than getting furloughed did you.

I hope Shanahan reflects on how his reaction showed just a lack of perspective. I will say this: despite his whining, he was a lot more measured than I think most football coaches would have been. So that’s a silver lining, I guess. -TOB

Source: “COVID Might Force The 49ers To Realize That They’re Not Special,” Ray Ratto, Defector (11/30/2020) 

PAL: This is pure Ratto. The verbose cynic dialing it up. I mean, where the hell does“tough darts, Sacko” come from? What the hell does that mean? But underneath the bluster and random references is a real truth: we’re in this together, and even a NFL franchise is feeling that truth right now. It does suck – of course – but it sucks for everyone.


Should Parkour be added to 2024 Olympics? I started to post this as a joke. A one-word response to the question posed in the headline (“nope.”), but then I felt I should probably read the story if I post about it, even if it’s just a joke, and the story I found was actually a bit interesting, and – yes – funny. Before we get any further, let’s just get the obligatory Office parkour clip out of the way:

Ok, back to the story. Parkour was created with a spiritual pursuit in mind. When it was created in the 80s (I was surprised, too), it had, as Victor Mather describes it, a “freewheeling ethos”. As the sport gained popularity, others sought to capitalize. Namely, gymnastics.

Early parkour practitioners emphasized philosophies like freedom and expressiveness almost as much as the physicality of the sport, which derives from military training and combines elements of gymnastics, martial arts and climbing. Competitiveness and rivalry were shunned as being against the nature of parkour.

Despite that, a parkour organization, the World Freerunning Parkour Federation, was founded in 2007 to expand the sport, but also to add competitive events, and in 2017 another organization, Parkour Earth, was established.

The international gymnastics federation, F.I.G., seeing a way to tap into a younger audience, began holding parkour events as well in 2017, saying the sport was a natural extension of their own.

That put the different operations at loggerheads as they organized competing events.

So you have the purists saying they don’t want the sport to buy in to the Olympics, and you have a different sport trying to claim parkour as a version of their thing and pushing for inclusion. Now that’s more interesting a story than my intended punchline post. I mean, this is still stupid and funny, because we’re talking about parkour, but it’s more interesting. – PAL

Source: “Add Parkour to the Olympics? Purists Say ‘Nah’“, Victor Mather, The New York Times (12/02/2020)


Video of the Week

(shot about a pitching wedge from our new apartment in Oakland):


Tweets of the Week:

(For a very small audience, but the most San Jose tweet of all time)


Song of the Week: I’m on the lookout for fresh holiday music for the next few weeks. I’m not saying new holiday music, but performances and versions of songs that we don’t hear 10 times on Black Friday. Consider it your weekly music advent calendar opening for December. Here’s my first pick: Tony Bennett – “My Favourite Things”


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Christmas isn’t about Santa or Jesus. It’s about the workplace.

-Michael Scott