Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Surf’s Up — Inland

July 19, 2018

Surf’s up at the Surf Ranch, a hundred miles from the nearest ocean. Bryant Gumbel explains.

More:

“Surfing goes inland: Kelly Slater’s artificial waves push pro tour into uncharted waters,” Alex Dick-Read, The Guardian

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Skateboarders Conquer the World

July 11, 2018

Skateboarders Conquer the World
“After decades of commandeering streets, sidewalks, parking lots and public sculptures, skaters entered the mainstream. Now New York City, the United States, and the world at large have all seen a surge of skate park development. With skateboarding entering the Olympic Games in 2020, the international growth of skate parks is likely only beginning.”

“Skateboarders Won,” Jeff Ihaza, New York Times

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Image (“Woman with a Skateboard, after Fernand Léger”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Ball

June 26, 2018

Meet the 2018 World Cup football.

“This year’s World Cup ball is called the Telstar 18, a nod to the original design. While the panels have changed to just six propeller-shaped pieces to make the ball even more spherical, the black-and-white checkered design is back.”

A Vox video.

More:

“Satellites and microchips: the surprising tech behind the World Cup ball,” Marc Chacksfield, TechRadar

“From Russia With Lough: Adidas Telstar 18 Is Specifically Designed to Stop Dip & Swerve,” Sports Illustrated

“World Cup 2018: Adidas boffins produce ball specially designed to stop Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kicks,” Duncan Wright, The Sun

“Fifa World Cup 2018 ball: Adidas Telstar 18 football ‘a problem for goalkeepers,'” Jamie Teather, Evening Standard

“Telstar 18: From satellites to microchips – The tech behind FIFA World Cup 2018 ball,” Manas Tiwari, Financial Express

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Baseball: Keeping Score

April 30, 2018

Darryl Wilson keeps the score straight at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs’ ballpark has a manually-operated scoreboard that tracks eight different games at once. Video via Great Big Story.

More: 

“Inside Wrigley Field, The Scorekeepers Stay True To Baseball’s Beginnings,” David Schaper, NPR

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NCAA Claims Unpaid College Athletes Are Like Prison Labor

February 27, 2018

NCAA Claims Unpaid College Athletes Are Like Prison Labor

It’s almost March, when America’s thoughts turn to college basketball. NCAA March Madness alone earns $900 million for the NCAA, and big university athletic programs and their coaches reap lucrative rewards from sports, but collegiate basketball and football players are unpaid, being considered “student athletes.” In answer to a pending lawsuit, the NCAA justifies this situation by citing the clause of the 13th Amendment that allows unpaid prison labor. This jaw-dropping argument is compounded by the fact that the purpose of the 13th Amendment was the abolition of slavery in the United States, and Division 1 college athletes are overwhelmingly African American.

The suit against the NCAA was brought by former Villanova receiver Lawrence “Poppy” Livers on behalf of all athletic scholarship players, who are required to play in sports by the terms of their agreements. A previous suit failed because it also included “walk-on” players without such binding scholarship agreements. Livers vs. NCAA claims sports scholarship athletes, like students in work-study programs, should be considered university employees and compensated.

More:

“The NCAA Says Student-Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid Because the 13th Amendment Allows Unpaid Prison Labor,” Shaun King, The Intercept

Related:

“Four Years A Student-Athlete: The Racial Injustice of Big-Time College Sports,” Patrick Hruby, VICE sports

“Your March Madness Bracket Is Exploiting Student-Athletes,”  Dave Zirin, The Nation

“When will NCAA be done exploiting athletes?” Editorial Board, Charlotte Observer

“The NCAA Must Change the Rules in Order to Solve College Basketball’s Existential Crisis,” Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated

“Let High School Players Go Straight to the NBA Again,” Sean Cunningham, RealClearLife

“The NCAA,” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, 2015 (20:53)

“What Would Happen if the Players Ran College Basketball?” Ray Glier, Ozy

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

December 23, 2017

Soccer Trial In Brooklyn: Guilty

Two former officials of the South American soccer association were found guilty in U.S. Federal Court on Friday of accepting millions of dollars in bribes. The jury will deliberate on a third defendant next week. 24 other people tied to FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, have pleaded guilty, and 15 more charged in the racketeering  and money-laundering probe are fighting extradition to the U.S.

More:

“2 Top Soccer Officials Found Guilty in FIFA Case,” Rebecca R. Ruiz, New York Times

“Fifa trial: two ex-soccer officials found guilty on multiple charges of corruption,” Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

Update:

“Fifa trial: ex-president of Peru soccer acquitted of corruption charge,” AP via The Guardian

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‘March Madness’ Leaves North Carolina Over Bathroom Bill

September 14, 2016

'March Madness' Leaves North Carolina Over Bathroom Bill
North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” has cost it two rounds of 2017’s “March Madness” Division I men’s college basketball tournament games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has relocated those games and six other championship events out of the state due to the North Carolina state law known as HB2, which requires people to use public bathrooms based on their sex as designated on their birth certificates. The law, which also nullifies local laws protecting the civil rights of LGBT citizens, had already lost Charlotte the NBA All Star Game and millions of tourist dollars. The NCAA decision is arguably a bigger blow to the Tarheel State, where college basketball has deep roots and a wide following, and Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are legendary contenders. This won’t help North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s reelection bid, either.

Here are the NCAA championships North Carolina is losing to bigotry:

  • 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup (Cary), Dec. 2 and 4.
  • 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships (Greensboro), Dec. 2 and 3.
  • 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second rounds (Greensboro), March 17 and 19.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional (Greenville), May 8-10.
  • 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships (Cary), May 22-27.
  • 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship (Cary), May 26 and 28.
  • 2017 Division II Baseball Championship (Cary), May 27-June 3.

More:

“NCAA  Moves Championship Events From North Carolina, Citing Anti-Gay-Rights Law,” Marc Tracy and Alan Blinder, New York Times

“NCAA had enough of NC inaction on HB2,” Luke DeCock, Charlotte Observer

Related:

“North Carolina’s HB2 Is Not Just a ‘Bathroom Bill,'” NotionsCapital

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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New Olympic Sport

August 18, 2016

New Olympic Sport
Let’s face it, not every sport in the Olympics has the excitement of race walking or horse dancing. There’s definitely room for something new at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Here it is:
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The Boy Who Learned to Fly

August 14, 2016

The Boy Who Learned to Fly, an animated film based on the life of Usain Bolt. Directed by Limbert Fabian and Jacob Wyatt for Moonbot Studios and Gatorade.

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NBA Flushes North Carolina’s All-Star Game Down the Toilet

July 25, 2016

NBA Flushes North Carolina's All-Star Game Down the Toilet
The 2017 NBA All-Star game will be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to another location because of the Tarheel State’s bathroom legislation, the Association announced last Thursday.  The “Bathroom Law,” aka HB2, requires people to use gender-separated bathrooms and changing rooms according to the sex on their birth certificates, which denies transgender people access to public facilities.The All Star Game isn’t just a single pro hoops contest; it’s a 3-day weekend series of events for basketball fans, supported by the NBA, league sponsors, and local businesses, and the cancellation will cost state businesses an estimated $100 million.

ARRGHHH!!! responded North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, or words to that effect. The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets issued a perfunctory statement accepting the situation and urging Carolinians to get it together or lose any chance at the 2019 All Star Game.

Other businesses and events have also cancelled plans for activities in North Carolina. Over 200 CEOs of major companies (including the state’s largest employers) have signed an open letter urging the law’s repeal. Scores of state, county, and city governments have forbidden government-related travel to North Carolina due to the law.The bathroom law is flushing billions of dollars in business activity and tax revenue down the toilet.

More:

“The NBA Has Moved The All-Star Game From North Carolina Because Of Anti-LGBT Law,” Kevin Draper, Deadspin

“NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 law,” Sports Illustrated

“NBA will move 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over HB2 law,” Tim Bontemps, Washington Post

Related:

“House Bill 2 could cost N.C. $5 billion a year, report says,” Katherine Peralta, Charlotte Observer 

“Police officers have no idea how to enforce North Carolina’s new ‘bathroom law,” Mark Abadi, Business Insider

“North Carolina’s ‘bathroom’ law is about more than who’s in the next stall,” Paul Woolverton, Fayetteville Observer

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.