Sports

English Sports for the Non-English

Featured image Some years ago, during a leisure hour (or three) in a British pub up in Yorkshire, I asked an English acquaintance if he could explain Cricket to me. He paused a moment, and said, “No—I can’t.” And so I never have figured out anything about that peculiar game. Which is preface to this brilliantly done five-minute parody of British sports. Well worth your time: »

Dan Rather: Still crazy after all these years

Featured image Dan Rather tweeted this about LeBron James’ decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers: We know LeBron James has been outspoken about Trump. So it makes sense to head to California, the heartland of the #resistance. The fact that he will be trying to resist the dominance of the Warriors is an added plot twist. It made sense for James to sign with the Lakers because they play in »

Time for the “Soscars”?

Featured image The Whirled Cup soccer tournament is under way over in Russia right now, which is why there’s a file open for Paul in the Missing Persons bureau of the local police. Anyway, while I am a fan of really awful b-movies like They Live, and, needless to say, all the Sharknado classics, as well as the neglected Birdemic, to appreciate truly awful acting you have to be a connoisseur of soccer. »

Scalise makes the play

Featured image A year after suffering a grave wound in the crazed assassination spree attempted against the House GOP baseball team by Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise improbably took the field to play this year’s game against House Democrats. The New York Times story on the attempted assassination summarized the damage done to Scalise: “His injuries are extensive, and he was in critical condition Wednesday night, MedStar Washington »

Making the Trans Run on Time

Featured image Back during the good old days of the Cold War, Robin Williams had a joke that ran: “I really want to see sex made an Olympic sport, just to see what the East Germans come up with.” Back in those days, it was widely understood that East German athletes not only used performance-enhancing drugs, but in a few cases it was speculated that some of East Germany’s “women” athletes were »

Trump’s absurd olive branch offer to NFL protesters

Featured image I understood from the beginning that the Trump presidency would be a circus, but I didn’t expect a sideshow this bizarre. President Trump has asked NFL players to recommend which criminals he should pardon. Suddenly, the NFL kneelers have been transformed from unpatriotic sons-of-bitches to Trump’s partner in doling out justice and righting wrongs. I never thought the players were sons-of-bitches (unpatriotic, yes at least in some cases), but they »

Race and college athletics

Featured image Black football and basketball players in big sports schools have a substantially lower graduation rate than do other student groups. Why is that? Several explanations come immediately to the mind of anyone who follows college football or basketball closely. First, football and basketball players at big time programs are admitted to college with test scores far lower than other student groups. These test scores “predict” substantially less academic success for »

Super PC Bowl

Featured image I am wondering whether any of the players at the Super Bowl will take a knee during the national anthem, and if so, whether the TV broadcast will show it. NBC, which is broadcasting this year’s game, has refused to run this ad because it makes fun of North Korea’s Little Kim: Over the last few years the Super Bowl games have actually gotten better; more close games instead of »

The NFL kneeling protests: On MPR

Featured image Minnesota Public Radio (91.1 FM in the Twin Cities) will broadcast the University of Minnesota Humphrey School symposium on the NFL kneeling protests tomorrow at noon and 9:00 p.m. Moderated on campus yesterday by Professor Larry Jacobs, director of the Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, the symposium panel included Professor Douglass Hartmann, chairman of the University of Minnesota Sociology Department, Frank White, coordinator of the »

The NFL kneeling protests: An invitation

Featured image Tomorrow over the lunch hour I will participate in a symposium sponsored by the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG) at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School. With a nod to the Super Bowl that will be played this Sunday a mile or so up the road, the symposium takes up the player protests that attracted attention in high places this season. The symposium is Betrayal or »

The morning after [with comment by Paul]

Featured image I’ve been a Vikings fan since their first season in Minnesota. In September 1961 my late cousin Lynn Johnson took me to the first Vikings game at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington. Coach Norm Van Brocklin sent in rookie Fran Tarkenton from the bench to replace George Shaw at quarterback. Doing his thing, Tarkenton threw four touchdown passes to lead the Vikings to an improbable victory over the Bears. »

Sports: An Excuse to Talk About Politics

Featured image What was the biggest sports story of 2017? If you polled sports fans, I am pretty sure the New England Patriots’ stunning come-from-way-behind overtime victory in the Super Bowl would come out on top. The Houston Astros’ World Series win would be a contender. Fans of other sports would offer alternatives. But for the Associated Press, and increasingly for many sportswriters, sports are significant mostly insofar as they present an »

The anthem, Army-Navy style

Featured image How a few NFL know-nothings have made the national anthem an item of controversy is beyond me. They must hate the United States. Hatred of the United States may not have been a deep secret of the progressive left, but it wasn’t proudly proclaimed for public consumption. Now you don’t have to take the trouble to suffer through the teachings of Woodrow Wilson or Howard Zinn to get a clue. »

Widespread academic corruption lets UNC sports off the hook

Featured image Years ago, after it came to light that athletes at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill took bogus courses in African and Afro-American studies, I wrote; In my opinion, based on the facts I’ve seen so far, this story isn’t about football; it’s about academic corruption. Now, after years of investigating, the NCAA has reached basically the same conclusion. As a result, the University will not by sanctioned by »

A penny’s worth of thoughts on Pence

Featured image As vice president-elect, Mike Pence and his family attended the musical “Hamilton” in New York City. After the performance, as the Pence family was leaving the theater, the cast saw fit to deliver a political lecture to the soon-to-be VP. Pence, a better man than me, halted and listened respectfully to the left-wing sermon. He told his family that this is what freedom looks like. Yesterday, Vice President Pence attended »

Systemic oppression of a kind

Featured image San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid is Colin Kaepernick’s partner in slime, though Reid has kept his job. He seeks to preserve the protest they took up last year during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games. Reid has accordingly spoken out against Vice President Pence’s counterprotest yesterday expressed in his departure from the Colts/49ers game while Reid did his thing. Reid characterized Pence’s departure as a “PR »

Scalise gets standing ovation; some not pleased

Featured image House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot and almost killed while practicing for the annual congressional baseball game, threw out the first pitch at the opening game of the Washington Nationals playoff series last night. Scalise used crutches to make his way onto the field and a walker to set himself for the first pitch. He threw it to David Bailey, the Capitol Police special agent who was also »