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Damian Lillard sinks OKC like it’s no big deal

“the most irrational and hysterically rude shots you will ever see” – Deadline

That look, ya gotta love that look into the camera.

Also see: It’s in the Details: Hidden Highlights From Damian Lillard’s Buzzer-Beater

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Current Events

March Madness is our Koshien

What an amazing game played by UCF against Duke yesterday. I keep coming back to the final basket, those final seconds when everything hung in the balance, how it almost made it in, just a slightly-softer-touch. UCF was so close to upsetting a #1 seeded championship team. It was never supposed to be that close.

“It was up there forever, I felt like, in slow motion,” he said. “Once I saw it go past the midpoint and roll out, there was, at that point, nothing left to do.”

Heartbroken UCF proud it pushed No. 1 Duke during close NCAA Tournament loss

Then today I saw the locker room speech by the UCF coach, Johnny Dawkins, father of the player who just missed that last basket and a former player for Duke, the team that won. You can hear the sniffling in the background and really feel their loss. These boys, some of them seniors, were playing in the last game of their entire basketball career. They are at the peak of their career, if they are not getting picked up by a pro team, this is it.

For me it was an exciting game and an close loss. Exciting for sure but my bracket’s intact, I’m moving on. Just a close call. But to these kids, the loss must have been devastating. So many years invested up to that one final moment.

There is an annual high school baseball tournament in Japan that is very much like the March Madness tournament here in the United States. 4000+ teams across the country play in a national tournament that ends up with less than 20 teams going to a the famous Koshien Stadium in Japan in mid-August. The entire nation turns in during the hot summer evenings to watch their nation’s youth play their hearts out.

March Madness is our Koshien

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Current Events

Putting it on the line

“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham,” Senator Booker said. “The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process. The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee’s views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law. This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate’s Constitutional duty to advice and consent.”

www.booker.senate.gov
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Catch a puck and score

Jared Spurgeon plays hockey for the Minnesota Wild but is looking forward to baseball season.

h/t to SBNation

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Never Give Up

In the final lap of a 4×400 relay Phil Healy, the anchor runner for University College Cork women’s team, was a quarter lap down and in 5th place. She had to make up a massive gap and ahead of her and runners to chase down included a future representative for Ireland in this Summer’s 2016 Olympics.

Not only will you see an amazing comeback in the video above, as a bonus, you’ll hear two Irish announcers falling over themselves as they witness history.

UCC from the depths of hell are powering through! one announcer says.

The Washington Post has the full story behind this incredible comeback.

It’s unbelievable! What a run!

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Current Events

Heineken Champions League

Heineken has long-running relationship with the UEFA Champions League tournament in Europe. Each year they run a series of advertisements running up to the contest that feature the fans and get everyone excited about the game.

This year’s installment is brilliant. The Dilemma pits an Italian fan’s love of the game against his faithfulness to his mates who get together to watch every game together on the couch.

Last year’s The Match illustrates what a ship of football freak sailors will do to get a TV signal of their favorite game.

Heineken USA reached out to expats in NYC with it’s own campaign. Work or Watch the game?

Heineken Spain gets in on the game in 2014. Will you run out on your girlfriend?

2013 featured The Negotiation where the guys have to convince their wife or girlfriends to spend almost $2000 for a pair of stadium seats, “you don’t even have to worry about the dogs chewing on them.”

There’s more where these came from. Follow Heineken on YouTube for more.

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Comanche, the new kid in town

Photo by Onne Van Der Wal
Photo by Onne Van Der Wal

In the world of sailing, the big boats are the Super Maxi class ocean-going racers. Netscape billionaire Jim Clark has commissioned Comanche, a 100 foot vessel that only a nautical architect with unlimited resources could dream up.

Comanche

Built in Maine for a cool $1.4 billion, it is currently on a ship enroute to Australia where it will compete in the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge in Sydney Harbour on December 9th, followed by the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race after Christmas.

Designed to win races and break records, it boasts an 11,000 square feet spinnaker.

h/t to my colleague Eli who sails the San Francisco Bay

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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

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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.

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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.