Tag Archives: sports

Oh the Agony!

writhing time

The Wall Street Journal quantified the number of minutes spent watching men roll around in the grass glancing sidelong at the ref. I’m surprised to see the Italian “men of glass” so far down the list. In the 2014 World Cup it is the host nation who currently holds the title with Neymar who, “had five such “injuries,” the most on his team. In every case he was back on his feet within 15 seconds.”

The World Cup Flopping Rankings

Baseball Fandom, Visualized

The United States of Baseball

From a New York Times deep dive into how people list their preferred baseball team on Facebook.

“Like the Mets, the Athletics are the less popular team in a two-team region — less popular everywhere in that region, based on the data from Facebook. Again, winning the World Series matters. The Giants have won two of the last four. The A’s have won none of the last 24.”

Alameda baseball fan baseI always knew that there are a lot of East Coast transplants in the Bay Area, 6% of them being Red Sox fans sounds about right.

Hacking Madden

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, one of the most controlled sporting events on the planet. While it’s not exactly rigged, every aspect of the game has been optimized for maximum viewing audience engagement. Sure, there’s a football game in there somewhere but every variable has been carefully engineered to maximize viewing enjoyment.

Some suspect that the two week media circus around Richard Sherman was a carefully planned media campaign designed to put Sherman, and his sponsor, the headphone maker Beats, into the spotlight. With all the attention on social media around the event, it’s no surprise that there are social media hashtag strategies of each brand hoping to cash in. Advertisers, eager to build up anticipation of the big event, are previewed snippets of their big 60 second spot during the playoff games. Our emotions have been conditioned to peak around mid-day today as they kick off to the fading strains of the National Anthem.

As long as people are going to control all the variables around the game, why not engineer the game itself? Jon Bois over at SB Nation has a column where he hacks around with the settings of the XBox video game Madden to come up with fantastical characters to face each other on the virtual gridiron. In this week’s finale, he puts the 7 foot 400 pound Seattle Seahawks up against the 5 foot 160 pound Denver Broncos. And he didn’t stop there. He also slides all the ability, stamina, and strength settings to “11” for the Seahawks and turns all the Broncos players settings down to zero.

He wrote about the resulting game in his column, The Machine is Bleeding to Death, a hilarious piece complete with animated gifs highlighting the best bits. It’s a distorted, comic book caricature of the contest being played out on a gaming platform designed to look as real as possible. The best sports writing is at once about the game but more broadly about society and the world around us thru the lens of the game. Jon Bois’ review of the video game of the football game which we are all about to watch is social commentary at its best.

madden-graphic

May the best team win today. Despite the odds.

The Art of Flight

The Art of Flight

I saw the most amazing video yesterday.

The Art of Flight was released last year and is one of the best snowboarding movies I’ve ever seen. If you like the Warren Miller skiing flicks, this one is for you. It’s got Red Bull branding all over it but  if you can get past that it’s an amazing bit of filmmaking. It is like the Endless Summer for the snowboarding crowd. But instead of touring the world looking for the perfect wave, they visit places like Alaska and Patagonia in search of untouched “first descents.” Oh, and instead of hitchhiking their way around, they get a rides from their sponsor’s helicopters.

I have to thank the folks at Red Bull for underwriting the whole adventure and capturing it all on high-end Red Digital cameras because what they produced is truly amazing. The locations are amazing, the tricks are incredible, the cinematography top notch, and soaring, full Dolby  music by M83 & The Naked & Famous is worth listening to on a good set of headphones. Watch it and get ready for winter.