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Posts Tagged ‘football

“If you start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you”*…

 

In the fourth volume of Brett’s Miscellany, published in Dublin in 1757, readers could find an entry on a custom called “throwing at cocks.” This was an activity where a rooster was tied to a post while the participants, as if playing darts, threw small weighted and sharpened sticks (called coksteles) at the poor bird until it expired. The article explored the sport’s origin: “When the Danes were masters of England, and used the inhabitants very cruelly,” it began, “the people of a certain great city formed a conspiracy to murder their masters in one night.” The English artfully devised “a stratagem,” but “when they were putting it in execution, the unusual crowing and fluttering of the cocks about the place discovered their design.” The Danes, tipped off by the commotion, “doubled their cruelty” and made the Englishmen suffer as never before. “Upon this,” the entry concluded, “the English made custom of knocking the cocks on the head, on Shrove-Tuesday, the day on which it happened.” Very soon “this barbarous act became at last a natural and common diversion, and has continued every since.” Thus the innate human urge to throw things at things entered the early modern era…

On the human desire to hurl (and hurl things at) animals and other humans: “From Throwing Sticks at Roosters to Dwarf Tossing.”

* Nikita Khrushchev

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As we resist the temptation to toss, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939, in a football match between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Centenary Gentlemen at Centenary College Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that “one of the weirdest games in NCAA History” was played.  A torrential downpour and resultant muddy field conditions prevented either Texas Tech or Centenary from advancing the ball either running or passing.  To cope with the conditions, both teams resorted to immediate punting, hoping to recover a fumble at the other end of the field.  They combined to punt 77 times; the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Thirteen records still stand in the NCAA record books:

— Most punts combined both teams: 77 (42 were returned, 19 went out of bounds, 10 were downed, four were blocked, one went for a touchback and another was fair caught; 67 came on first down)

— Most punts by a team: 39, Texas Tech

— Fewest offensive plays: 12, Texas Tech (10 rushes, two passes for a total of minus-1 yard)

— Fewest plays allowed: 12, Centenary

— Fewest yards gained most plays: 30

— Fewest rushing attempts, both teams: 28

— Most punt returns: 22, Texas Tech (for 112 yards)

— Most punt returns, both teams: 42

— Most individual punts: 36, Charlie Calhoun, Texas Tech, for 1,318 yards (36.6 average)

— Punt yardage: 1,318 yards, Calhoun

— Punt returns (and total kick returns): 20, Milton Hill, Texas Tech, 110 yards

The 1939 Texas Tech football team

source

 

Written by LW

November 11, 2017 at 1:01 am

“There is no virtue whatsoever in creating clothing or accessories that are not practical”*…

 

Officially known as the “President’s emergency satchel,” the so-called nuclear “Football”—portable and hand-carried—is built around a sturdy aluminum frame, encased in black leather. A retired Football, emptied of its top-secret inner contents, is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. “We were looking for something that would demonstrate the incredible military power and responsibilities of the president, and we struck upon this iconic object,” says curator Harry Rubenstein.

Contrary to popular belief, the Football does not actually contain a big red button for launching a nuclear war. Its primary purpose is to confirm the president’s identity, and it allows him to communicate with the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon, which monitors worldwide nuclear threats and can order an instant response. The Football also provides the commander in chief with a simplified menu of nuclear strike options—allowing him to decide, for example, whether to destroy all of America’s enemies in one fell swoop or to limit himself to obliterating only Moscow or Pyongyang or Beijing.

Although its origins remain highly classified, the Football can be traced back to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis…

Read more about “the ultimate power accessory” in “The Real Story of the ‘Football’ That Follows the President Everywhere.”

* Giorgio Armani

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As we play “button, button, who’s got the button,” we might spare a thought for Showa Tenno Hirohito, the 124th Japanese monarch in an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C.; he died on this date in 1989– after serving six decades as the emperor of Japan.  He was the longest serving monarch in Japanese history.

Made Regent in 1921, Hirohito was enthroned as emperor in 1928, two years after the death of his father, Emperor Taisho.  During his first two decades as emperor, Hirohito presided over one of the most turbulent eras in his nation’s history.  From rapid military expansion beginning in 1931 to the crushing defeat of Japan in 1945, Hirohito stood above the Japanese people as an absolute monarch whose powers were sharply limited in practice.  After U.S. atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was he who argued for his country’s surrender, explaining to the Japanese people in his first-ever radio address that the “unendurable must be endured.”  Under U.S. occupation and postwar reconstruction, Hirohito was formally stripped of his powers and forced to renounce his alleged divinity, but he remained his country’s official figurehead until his death.  He was succeeded as emperor by his only son, Akihito.

 source

 

Written by LW

January 7, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Wrestling is ballet with violence”*…

 

“You call it wrestling, they term it ‘working’ … As Shakespeare once said: ‘A rose by any other name,’ etc.” So Marcus Griffin began his groundbreaking 1937 book on the ins and outs of the pro wrestling business, Fall Guys: The Barnums of Bounce. It’s a good place to start, because any discussion of the grunt-and-groaners (as Griffin would call them) inevitably involves an examination of the artifice that undergirds the endeavor, and that artifice — be it the antediluvian secret that the whole show is a put-on, or the modern-day pretense that both actors and audience interact as if it’s legitimate — is itself bolstered by an intricate, seemingly inane vocabulary of lingo, idiom, and jargon.

Every subculture has its lingo, but the subbier the culture, the more unintelligible the dialect can be. Couple that with an industry conceived on falsehood and dedicated to keeping the lie alive, and you’ve got a rabbit hole that even the most stalwart of linguists would think twice before exploring. We take a stab at it here. The most obvious of terms, those used in common parlance outside the wrestling world — pin, feud, dud, etc. — are mostly omitted, despite their prevalence inside the biz. Some terms are listed within other definitions for readability’s sake. As with anything of this sort, this list is far from complete — and as with anything so idiomatic, the definitions are frequently debatable. Though some of the terms are obscure, their purpose is larger. The terms obscure the industry’s realities, sure; they function as a secret handshake among those with insider knowledge, obviously; but moreover, they try to describe a unique, oddball enterprise in terms of its own bizarre artistry…

From…

angle (n.) — A story line or plot in the wrestling product, as in, “They’re working a classic underdog angle.” It can be employed in either small-bore usage — i.e., the angle in a match — or in large-scale terms to describe a lengthy story. The term is borrowed from the archaic criminal/carnie phrase “work an angle,” which means figuring out a scam or finding an underhanded way to make a profit.

and…

Andre shot (n.) — A trick by which a camera is positioned beneath a wrestler, looking up, so as to make the wrestler look bigger. Famously used to make the 7-foot-4 Andre the Giant look even bigger than he was.

to…

workrate (n.) — A term for in-ring wrestling quality, used primarily by wrestling journalists to rate the physical and psychological performance of a match. The field of wrestling critique is often associated with journalist Dave Meltzer, who rates matches on a star scale; great matches throughout history are often referred to as “five-star matches” in reference to Meltzer’s rubric.

and…

zabada (n.) — A catch-all term for an arbitrary tool used to fill in a hole in anangle, usually used when the tool is still undefined, as in, “He’ll come out, cut a promo, run-in, zabada, then the finish.”

…it’s all in “Grantland Dictionary: Pro Wrestling Edition,” along with illustrations like the one above (for “chain wrestling”). Check out Grantland‘s other delightful dictionaries here.

* Jesse Ventura

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As we feel the frenzy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1906, in a game against Carroll College, that St. Louis University’s Bradbury “Brad” Robinson hit Jack Schneider with a 20-yard touchdown toss– the first legal forward pass in football.

“E. B. Cochems [the coach at St. Louis University in 1906] is to forward passing what the Wright brothers are to aviation and Thomas Edison is to the electric light.”

– College Football Hall of Fame coach David M. Nelson

1906 St. Louis Post-Dispatch drawing of Brad Robinson’s epic throw

source

 

Written by LW

September 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

Batter Up!…

Walt Whitman once said: “Baseball is our game — the American game: I connect it with our national character.” Still, as Foreign Policy observes

As baseball has skyrocketed to popularity in other countries, particularly Japan and Latin American nations, the days of the United States claiming it exclusively are long over. The sport’s premier international tournament, the World Baseball Classic, featured 12 teams from across the globe this year, with the Dominican Republic coasting undefeated all the way to a championship. The tournament set ratings records in Japan, where it was the most-watched sporting event of the year and even out-performed the 2012 Olympics. In Taiwan, the WBC was the highest-rated cable program in the country’s history.

So, as one settles in for Game Three of this year’s Fall Classic– The Battle of the Beards— one might pause to consider Baseball’s place in the world

A pick-up game in Havana, 2006

[More photos– from South Africa to Iraq to China– at FP]

Baseball has an estimated 500 million fans around the world… which ranks it seventh overall.  To put that in context, the number one sport, football (or “soccer” as Americans are wont to call it), has 3.5 billion fans; the number two pastime, Cricket, 2.5 billion.

Plus– in this anniversary month of the first box score, a new site called Statlas, updates scoring, turning box scores into infographics.

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As we step up to the plate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1863, at The Freemasons’ Tavern on Great Queen Street in London, that the Football Association (or simply, the FA) was established; after centuries of football rules that varied from pitch to pitch, the FA established a single set of rules that has governed the game in England ever since.  And given that it is the oldest such association in the world, its rules and procedures have shaped the game all over the world.

 source

Written by LW

October 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!…

Your correspondent is among the estimated 5.9 Billion people around the globe (roughly 80% of the world’s population) watching at least part of the World Cup.  He has wondered, as he knows that readers have, what all of this time spent goggling goals has done to productivity in the global economy.  Well, thanks to Mashable, the results are in:

Click the image above– or here— to see the full infographic.  Spoiler alert:  as readers will see, like some of more melodramatic players on the pitch, sales and productivity have taken a dive (e.g., 26% of workers surveyed recently reported taking time off work to watch…).

(TotH to Presurfer)

As we struggle to quell our emotions in the wake of the epic injustice to Ghana, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that Althea Gibson became the first African-American to win at Wimbledon.  The finest female tennis player of her time, she won six Grand Slam singles titles and six more Doubles titles between 1956 and 1958.

Althea Gibson

Written by LW

July 6, 2010 at 12:01 am

It may be a “guy thing,” still…

Your correspondent is no particular fan of the Dallas Cowboys.  Still, he is grateful to Jerry Jones and the boys for sharing this remarkable “inside” video of the old stadium coming down:

Click on the image, or here

External views of the demolition, here.

As we duck to avoid the score board in the Cowboys’ new stadium, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that the “Say Hey Kid,” Willie Mays, set the National League Home Run Record.  May’s 512th career home run broke (with sweet irony, famous Dodger) Mel Ott’s League record.  Mays finished his career with 660 home runs– third on the all-time list at the time of his retirement.

Probably the greatest all-around player of all time

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