(Actual poll can be seen here, and may no longer reflect the results at the time of my screenshot.)
Category Archives: Sports
I know you’re all watching so here’s your chance to comment on the stuff that you care about. Here’s my assessment so far: Read the rest of this entry
Last fall, Scott invited me to post here at Kulturblog on sports. After promptly forgetting and/or procrastinating for several months, I decided to finally write something. Unfortunately, I don’t think my first post here will be that popular a message with sports fans.
One hundred and twelve million people tuned in to the Super Bowl last week, and I admit I was one of them. (Well, at least the first half of the game; halftime came a little after 1AM here, so I went to bed instead of staying up to watch Madonna and the Giants come out as victors.) I admittedly enjoyed the game, though not as much as I enjoyed watching the BBC commentators try to explain American football to a British audience. (Especially when they attempted to explain the “safety” rule when Tom Brady was sacked in the end zone–that was comedy gold.) But I’ve felt guilty for the rest of the week over watching the game, and I still feel bad for tuning in. Why? Because I’ve been somewhat outspoken in my critique of football as a destructive sport that thrives on legions of fans watching top-notch athletes beat each others’ brains out to a point that many will likely die an early death, or at least suffer serious repercussions for much of the rest of their life. I have increasingly grown more strident in my belief that there is something seriously and morally wrong with American culture’s obsession with football, and yet I still gave in and watched the crowning moment of the sport in question. I have sincerely felt troubled with this hypocritical slip, and one of my cousins even called me out on it on facebook. Read the rest of this entry
Here we are folks, back at the Superbowl for another orgy of advertising, patiotism, consumption, and oh, yeah, there’s a football game too! What’s your prediction? Will the Patriots avenge their loss four years ago? Will the Giants prove their superiority? Will Madonna have a wardrobe malfunction? Will someone actually remember the words to the Star-Spangled Banner? Find out here!
It’s a party! It’s a [k]ultural phenomenon! It’s an orgy of capitalism! It’s (sometimes) a pretty good football game! Talk here about all things Superbowl while we watch the clash between the Steelers and the Packers. Predictions? Get them down here so you can have bragging rights afterward! Trash talk? Bring it on! The kickoff happens now!
As federal agents prepare a grand jury case against Lance Armstrong (a dubious undertaking, from a legal standpoint, on many levels) several questions must be asked. The outcome of the investigation may lead to the downfall of one of the greatest sports stories (and athletes) in the history of the world, or it could lead to the complete exoneration of a legend who will then deserve an enormous apology from his many doubters. More likely, it will lead to some sort of messy place in between those two things. Wherever it leads, it will cost an enormous amount of money and time and will be unlikely to change much about sports, cycling or improve the public perception of either. With all that in mind, Andrew Corsello may be on the right track when he pleads with Lance to just stick to his story, regardless of the actual facts. Read the rest of this entry
Bike racing is not like other sports, and the Tour de France is not like other bike races. In the Tour, there is a long-standing tradition that says you do not attack when your rival goes down, whether he goes down as a result of a crash or a mechanical difficulty. This tradition exists because it is considered poor form to win because of the temporary difficulty of your opponent. The race should be won based on strength and skill and strategy (and other tres importante words beginning with S). This tradition goes double when the rival in question wears the fabled Maillot Jeaune. Thus, the peloton waited for Lance Armstrong when he crashed in previous years and Armstrong himself waited for opponents when they crashed. And Armstrong is not really known to be an especially nice guy.
That’s what makes today’s events so difficult to understand.
Contador was booed as they put the yellow jersey on him at the end of the ride. And this in an area of France that is near to Spain, his home country. You have to work hard to generate that much bad blood.
Contador says he didn’t know Schleck’s chain was off. Schleck says, “my stomach is filled with anger.” One thing’s for sure: the next few days should be very interesting.
*Update: Contador apologized to Schleck and the two shook hands. It’s nice to see this kind of classy move from Contador, who appeared to not only take advantage of Schleck’s misfortune, but also appeared to be lying about it when he said he didn’t know Schleck was having a difficulty. I’m glad Contador acknowledged the mistake and that there will be no continuing bad feelings between these two great riders.
Here is Contador’s video apology:
It’s a classy move, as I said, but it leaves some lingering issues:
First, Contador claims credit for stopping the peloton when Andy crashed on the stage to Spa. Most people think that credit belongs to Fabian Cancellara (holder of the yellow jersey at the time) and Saxo Bank, though it’s obvious that the decision could not have been made without the full cooperation of Contador.
Second (and this is the biggest problem) he throws some blame Schleck’s way for not waiting for him when the field was split on the later stage after the cobblestones. The problem there is that no one, even Contador himself, suggested that Schleck should have waited at that time. Further, there is an enormous difference between the two incidents: Contador hadn’t crashed and had no mechanical difficulty, he was merely caught behind the crash of other riders. The case could easily be made that this was his own fault for not being up front with his team where he should have been. Also (and this is the critical difference), Schleck didn’t attack at that time, the way Contador attacked in the Pyrenees. That makes all the difference in the world, and makes Contador’s apology seem like not so much an apology as a massive rationalization built on half-truths.
Despite that, he did say he was sorry, and I’m glad for that.
Now that the United States has made it farther in the World Cup than since before the Second Great War to End All Wars* [*Note to Kulturblog editorial staff: please fact check this for me.], the Americans (middle-north region) find themselves in an enviable position of being a top seed by virtue of two ties and a 1-to-nil victory brought to us by Landon Donovan in the 91st minute of a 90-minute game** [**Check this one too. That can't possibly be right. Can it?] in “group play.”
Now we enter the elimination round, something that should be much more familiar to U.S. sports fans. Sixteen teams compete in a single elimination tournament for the cup. Think of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, starting in the Sweet Sixteen round. Or the way the NCAA Division I football championship should be decided in a perfect world.
Only there’s one catch: from here on out, games can no longer end in a tie. Read the rest of this entry