Constantly Changing Uniforms

Apparently it’s not enough to wear your jersey in a continuous loop to show your love for your team.

EAAAAGLES

As Pat from Silver Linings Playbook demonstrates

Recently, sports teams have made continuous changes to their uniforms:

“It used to be your uniform lasted for a generation or a decade, and now it’s once a week,” said Paul Lukas, the creator of the Uni Watch blog, who believes the uniform buffet represents a broader cultural shift. “This mirrors the notion of having to check your email and Twitter feed every few minutes because people need a fresh jolt of stimulation.”

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The Right Story For a Tennis Star

When it comes to actually watching tennis, I tend to become restless, because during every serve and back and forth, there’s always the anticipation of the moment when someone drops the ball, when you let out the breath you’ve been holding, like you just did after reading this terrible run-on sentence. However, when it comes to tennis stars, I’m always biased towards Andy Murray because he won the gold medal in London 2012. Also, a little girl I interviewed said her favorite Olympic athlete was, “the swimmer, Andy Murray.”

I spent 20 minutes looking for the right picture

Look at that smile! AWWW.

Unlike a sport such as football or soccer, big tennis matches are not lead-ins to a grand finale. Each one is a grand finale in its own right — specifically, the Australian Open, US Open, Wimbledon (the fancy name the Europeans call their tournament), and the French Open are all considered “Grand Slams.” That means tennis is not about winning that one tournament, but winning as many as you can.  The New York Times rounds up this year’s tennis narrative:

So it went in a year that despite all of Djokovic’s earthly achievements and supernatural flexibility will belong in the history books and the memory banks to Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

Nadal was both the player of the year and comeback player of the year, brimming with urgency and accuracy after serious knee problems and winning 10 titles — six on clay and four on outdoor hardcourts — while compiling a 75-7 record.

Murray secured himself a permanent place of privilege in his class-conscious island nation by beating Djokovic to become the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon (his book “Seventy-Seven” is now available for purchase).

Lately I’ve been fascinated by the meta-narrative between tennis’s biggest stars. Continue reading

The Vatican’s Cricket Team and Faith in Sports

I didn't know he needed keys

The Vatican cricket team’s emblem: the keys of St. Peter

How is sport like faith? Faith can be similarly used for cooperation, friendship, money, or play. In terms of fitness, if anyone has been to a religious institution, it’s likely they’ve done hard labor around the temple grounds, or played in a soccer game with friends after a particularly long religious function. You travel for faith, taking planes and buses and walking to Mecca or the Vatican or church the way you travel for sport, to the World Cup or the Olympics or to your brother’s little league game. You watch faith, at your church’s Christmas show or the religious stories that air on television during Christmas or during a christening, the way you watch sports in a bar or at the match, cheering with your brethren, although damning the other team under your breath is not seen as serious as doing the same in religious ceremonies — though both can end in violence, as evidenced by when the Red Sox won this year. And you can celebrate faith recreationally, on your own time: what is the difference between playing with a ball in your office, throwing it and catching and just engaging in some fun, compared to saying a silent prayer over your child’s head, or giving money to a homeless man, or telling the person you joined in religious ceremony that you love them?

I was dazzled by this story about the Vatican starting its own cricket team. Continue reading

Qatar’s Human Rights Abuses Show the Underbelly of Sports Diplomacy

Qatar 2022

Qatar is abusing the foreign workers building the 2022 soccer World Cup infrastructure. From the Guardian a few months ago:

Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.

This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.

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On “Man” and “Woman” in Sports

Two articles in the past week, “Man Up,” about the situation with Incognito bullying fellow Dolphins football player Martin, and “She’s All That,” a profile on WNBA player Britney Griner not only examine the sports narratives of manhood and womanhood, they show how sports causes misdirection, re-evaluation, and redefinition of what these terms mean. They are prime examples of how sports turns a cultural subtext into a textual narrative we can dissect.

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The Legacy of International Chess Play

This week marks another round in the FIDE World Chess Championship. Grantland writer Spike Friedman explains the game:

The FIDE World Chess Championship pits the reigning world champion against the winner of a qualifying round-robin tournament between eight of the top players in the world. The finals is a best-out-of-12 tournament with draws earning half a point. If the finals end in a draw, four rapid-chess matches are played as a tiebreaker. If those draw, then blitz chess, played with a three-minute starting clock, serves as the final tiebreaker.

Chess is a global fascination — the worldwide audience members of the games last Saturday, November 9th, crashed several websites. The Netherlands version of the BBC broadcast the game and boasted numbers of 700,000 watching –14% of their whole population.

However, the BBC is unimpressed, with 10 reasons why chess will always lack mass appeal for the sport. They hit on the lack of insight on the game, the fact that personal, local games in the park have more draw than a hermetically sealed international, and the romantic notions of chess – used in media to show how brainy, strategic someone can be – are definitely not supported watching in international play.

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And really, it’s nothing compared to Ron Weasley’s chess playing in the first Harry Potter book

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