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Posts Tagged ‘sports

“A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule”*…

 

The American house is growing. These days, the average new home encompasses 2,500 square feet, about 50 percent more area than the average house in the late 1970s, according to Census data. Compared to the typical house of 40 years ago, today’s likely has another bathroom and an extra bedroom, making it about the same size as the Brady Bunch house, which famously fit two families.

This expansion has come at a cost: the American lawn…

As houses have gotten bigger, yard sizes have receded. What gives? “The Shrinking of the American Lawn.”

(Compare and contrast: “Who is the Tiny House revolution for?“)

* Michael Pollan

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As we eulogize our edgers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1894 that the first issue of The American Lawn Tennis Bulletin, the official organ of the American Lawn Tennis Association, was published.  Its name was subsequently changed to American Lawn Tennis Magazine, then to USTA Magazine, after its sponsoring organization– the sanctioning body for amateur tennis in the U.S. and host of the U.S. Open tournament–  dropped “Lawn” from its name.

1894 advertisement

source

 

Written by LW

July 11, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The problem with winter sports is that — follow me closely here — they generally take place in winter”*…

 

Be that as it may, winter sports have long had the devotees… and with them, helpful instructors.  Consider Bror Myer, a Swedish figure skating champion, who produced an illustrated guide for hopefuls.

To facilitate an easy interpretation of the text, as well as to show more clearly the various movements, I decided, after great consideration, to illustrate the work by means of photographs taken with a Cinematograph.

Check them out at the Internet Archive.  And for a look at why his choice of photos was inspired, contrast his work tothis French ice-skating manual from 1813, one of the very first devoted entirely to the sport.

[Via Public Domain Review]

* Dave Barry

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As we sharpen our blades, we might recall that it was on this date in 1994 that figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, surrendered to authorities in Portland, Ore., after being charged with masterminding an attack on Harding’s rival, Nancy Kerrigan.

On January 6, 1994 [on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships], a man named Shane Stant delivered the blow itself—a single strike on the right knee with a police baton—and then fled the scene in such a panic that he ran right through a plexiglass door. Cameras captured the aftermath of the attack, with Kerrigan bellowing on the ground: “Why? Why? Why?”

The surreal quickly became the sensational. Implicated in the attack were Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding; her ex-husband, Gillooly, and Gillooly’s band of hired goons—Stant, bodyguard Shawn Eckardt, and getaway driver Derrick Smith. Harding initially denied everything, while Gillooly, charged with conspiracy to commit assault, later pleaded down to one count of racketeering. Awkwardly, both Harding and Kerrigan competed in the ’94 Lillehammer Olympics. Harding finished eighth, and Kerrigan won the silver. A few months later, Gillooly and his associates went to prison while Harding got probation for conspiring to hinder their prosecution. (She maintains to this day that she knew nothing of the attack in advance.)

[source]

Gillooly and Harding in happier days

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Written by LW

January 19, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Sometimes I have chosen to see films just by their posters”*…

 

email readers click here for video

Pablo Fernández Eyre‘s lovely video of movie one-sheets animated with the film footage that matches the image featured in the poster.

[via Laughing Squid]

* Jean Paul Gaultier

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As we take our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1898 that an American institution was born.

The University of Minnesota football team (for our non-American readers out there, I’m of course referring to the kind of football where you’ll get a penalty for using your feet) was playing their final game against Northwestern University. The U of M’s team had been having a lackluster year, and there was a general feeling on campus that this was due to lack of enthusiasm during the games. So several students, lead by Johnny Campbell on a megaphone, decided to lead the crowd of spectators in a chant: “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Minn-e-so-tah!” The crowd went bananas, as they say, and an energized Minnesota team won the game 17-6.

That day Johnny Campbell and his (presumably drunk) friends became the first cheerleader squad.

[source]

Johnny Campbell

source

 

 

Written by LW

November 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”*…

 

On the eve of the World Series, an appreciation of Game 6 of the 1975 championship contest between the Red Sox and the Reds: “Game Changer: How Carlton Fisk’s home run altered baseball and TV.”

* Leo Durocher

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As we settle in for the run, we might recall that it was on this date in 2000 that the New York Yankees defeated their cross-town rivals, the Mets (4-2 that evening; 4 games to 1 overall) to take what was known as “the subway Series.”  The Yankees became the first team in more than a quarter-century to win three straight World Series championships.

Mike Piazza and Derek Jeter face off

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Written by LW

October 26, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The score never interested me, only the game”*…

 

The story of the exotic Belgian import that is the most mystical, magical sport on Earth…  and of the Detroit lifer who became its King… and of an art heist:  “Believe in Featherbowling.”

* Mae West

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As we take our seats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1947 that Holt, Missouri set the world’s record for the fastest accumulation of rainfall: 12 inches (300 mm) of rainfall in 42 minutes.

 source

 

Written by LW

June 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Just play. Have fun.”*…

 

The mud-pit belly flop, a highlight of the annual Summer Redneck Games in Dublin, Georgia

 

The word “weird” is defined by various dictionaries as odd, bizarre, eccentric and unconventional. And where most of these traits could be considered unsettling, in the world of photography, and specifically sports, it could also translate to a gold mine.  The essence of photography is to capture a truly remarkable moment. And many times, different (or weird) can be good. If photographers covered the same events from the same angles, we really wouldn’t achieve anything unique or memorable…

712 people and 600 balls in Manhattan: the world’s largest dodgeball game

Sol Neelman, a self-proclaimed “failed athlete” and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, has turned his lens away from the conventional targets of sports photography…

A Chinese tourist in the dunes of the Sahara Desert tries his hand at sandboarding

Read an interview (from whence, the body quote above) with Neelman here; peruse his portfolio here.

* Michael Jordan

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As we Do It, we might recall that it was on this date in 1893 that “Cowboy Bill” Pickett invented bull-dogging. A 23-year-old cowhand at the time, he rode alongside a stray, dropped from his horse to grab the steer’s horns, and– emulating bulldogs that he’d observed– sharply bit the steer’s upper lip.  Soon after, Pickett and his four brothers formed The Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association.  He did his bulldogging act, traveling about in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.  In 1905, Pickett joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show that featured the likes of Buffalo Bill, Will Rogers, and Tom Mix; Pickett was soon a popular performer who toured around the world and appeared in early motion pictures (see below)– though he often had to mask his African-American heritage by claiming (only) his Native American roots.  (Even then, while he was in fact part Cherokee, he claimed to be part Comanche.)

As the event became a common rodeo event, lip biting became increasingly less popular until it disappeared from steer wrestling altogether.

 source

Written by LW

May 4, 2015 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

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