Now that I am married, I could do that with Christmas cards, like this high school football player does with his recruiting letters. And it makes me feel like this bear:
Merry Christmas, everybody!
This Is How Sports Matter
One of the best concepts for a story I’ve seen, and one of the best written sports stories I’ve read. Don’t read this on your phone – there’s a very cool interactive element that deserves a bigger screen. Gary Smith hits this piece flush, which focuses on a fascinating photograph taken by Marvin E. Newman. The picture features TCU in the locker room 15 minutes before facing off with Jim Brown and Syracuse in the 1957 Cotton Bowl. Smith walks the reader through the stories of the subjects, the place, the time, and what waits in the future for all involved. Beautiful, every part of it. If someone asks me why I loved playing sports so much, I will just send them this story from now on. Joe Williams (a player on the team) summed it up best 40 years after the photograph was taken: “More than who you’re looking at now, that guy in the picture, that’s me. That’s who I really am.” – PAL
Source: “Moment of Truth”, Gary Smith & Marvin E. Newman, Longform – SI.com (12/18/14)
TOB Note: Damn, Phil stole what I was gonna quote. But don’t worry. This story is so great, there are plenty of other options to use to induce you to read it. For example:
“That’s Frankie Hyde just behind Doc Hardt’s right shoulder…Doesn’t know that he’ll hurt his shoulder a few months from now in spring training, that he’ll never suit up for a football game again.”
This reminds me of the time the the equipment manager, an old former player and coach, came to my JV football practice. He told us to enjoy each practice and game, because he had seen seniors crying on the sidelines at the end of the season, knowing it would be the last time they’d ever play the game. This lesson stuck with me, as a broader message: you never know when something will be the last time you do something, whether it be something you cherish or something mundane. So enjoy it. This story has stories about this thought in spades, and as Phil said it demonstrates why sports matter to us.
The Next Frontier in Draft Bust Avoidance
Before the 1998 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts reportedly agonized over their choice with the #1 pick – Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. Manning is possibly the greatest passer in NFL history. Leaf is widely regarded as the biggest bust in NFL history. In 2014, it’s hard to believe, but it was a real debate over the two of them. The Colts got it right. But they almost didn’t, and teams invest millions of dollars in their top picks – and they are always looking for a way to find the Peyton Mannings and avoid the Ryan Leafs. The newest tactic being employed? Facial coding experts – teams are attempting to determine the emotional makeup of a player through facial microexpressions. But does it work? Or is it junk science? -TOB
Source: “Teams Turn to a Face Reader, Looking For That Winning Smile“, Kevin Randall, New York Times (12/25/14)
A Running Race We Can All Get Behind: The Beer Mile
I have done the Beer Mile. 4 laps around a track, 1 beer before every lap. There are other rules, but that’s the gist. I wouldn’t call it a good time, but it’s something everyone should try (1-2-3 Sports! Beer Mile, anyone? Get at us, and we’ll set it up). The fact that people are close to breaking the 5-minute mark on this is insane, and I love it. A great way to get a party started, as long as you can keep the beer down. I’m calling out “Mr. 5k” to do this with us, if that’s even your nickname anymore. – PAL
Source: “Chug, Run, Repeat”, Allison McCann, fivethirtyeight (12/12/14)
TOB Note: I’m in. Tell me where. Tell me when. Reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Revenge of the Nerds – the beer chug/tricycle race. Classic.
Jim Harbaugh Is Crazier Than You Can Imagine
Harbaugh is crazy, we all know that. But this story has me utterly dumfounded:
It was 2007, his first year as Stanford’s football coach, and during what was meant to be a motivational speech, Harbaugh told his players that he wanted to play in the game alongside them. He wanted this so badly that he informed his players that he wanted their blood on him if they bled during that week’s game.
But in the game, right tackle Chris Marinelli ran off the field with the rest of his offense after a touchdown drive, his arm bloodied. He went straight to Harbaugh to show him.
Harbaugh looked at the blood and did exactly what he said he would. He took his hand and wiped it on Marinelli’s arm. The player’s blood was on the coach’s hands.
Then, Harbaugh took it a step further. He smeared Marinelli’s blood all over his own face like war paint.
What the god damn hell? -TOB
Source: “From War Paint to Shakespeare…“, Max Cohen, Michigan Daily (12/23/14)
PAL Note: These stories of Harbaugh’s insanity have gone to such an extreme that I’m beginning to question his sincerity. Wiping someone else’s blood on your face and quoting Bill Shakespeare come off like the actions of someone who wants a legend built around him, which is inherently lame.
What Would You Rather Do: Play QB For the Browns or Kite Surf?
For most of us, the answer is easy: If you had the ability to play QB in the NFL, you’d do it. But if you’re Rex Grossman? And it’s December, when it is cold as hell in Cleveland? And you’re in Florida? And you’ve been kite surfing? And you’ve made a lot of money? And the pay is “just” $53k? Well – Rex Grossman made his choice. And it’s hard to argue with it. Enjoy the swells, Sexy Rexy. -TOB
Source: “Rex Grossman Rebuffs Browns to Kite Surf With Family Over Christmas”, by Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports (12/22/14)
PAL Note: Not mentioned in the story was the fact that Rex couldn’t get the deposit back on the house rental, and Kai – the windsurfing instructor – is booked for, like, 5 weeks!
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