Posts Tagged ‘Sport’

Skateboarder with no legs

In Watch on March 9, 2011 at 7:21 am

Italo Romano is a skateboarder without any legs:

Amazing.  The shirt comes off at 4:19.  Dude is ripped.

Via:  GOOD

Boom! The History of Madden NFL

In Read, Watch on January 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

The Madden NFL franchise is one of the best-selling video games of all time.  ESPN’s Outside the Lines took an in-depth look at the history of the game, including the early development of the concept:

The biggest pain was conceptual: What was a football simulation supposed to look like? How should it play? “Football” on the Atari 2600 console featured three-man teams composed of players who resembled and moved like ambulatory kitchen appliances. Everything was new: play-calling boxes; an “oomph” (read: turbo) button. Ybarra tried a TV-style camera angle. Finding holes at the line of scrimmage proved impossible. He switched to the god’s-eye, end zone perspective still used in today’s games. The game played better, but it still looked like bleeding Lego blocks.

Not really Jocks vs. Nerds.  Instead, it’s Jocks + Nerds = $3 billion.

I can’t find video of the original 1989 version, but here’s the difference 20 years makes, with gameplay footage from 1992 and 2011:

Shot put biomechanics solved

In Read on September 20, 2010 at 7:08 am

German scientists Alexander Lenz and Florian Rappl have created a model of shot putting that predicts an optimum angle of release that matches the angle observed in the best shot putters.

Apparently, the best models biomechanicists were previously able to come up with were 4-5 degrees off, so this new model represents the solving of a puzzle that has been out there for some time.

Lenz and Rappl look at the energy the athletes can impart to the shot as they push it at an angle from the shoulder. This can be split into kinetic and potential components. The potential component is related to the height of the shot above the shoulder when it is released.

The German pair point out that the equation that determines the final distance depends on the height but also on the velocity squared. So the athlete is better off imparting more energy in kinetic than potential form. And this lowers the optimum angle of release.

Shot Put Biomechanics

Shot Put Biomechanics

I didn’t know that scientists were busy on these types of questions, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have guessed that a problem like this would have still been unsolved!

Goodyear Blimp pilots

In Read, Watch on September 7, 2010 at 7:06 am

To mark the start of the college football season, here is a piece from ESPN’s Outside the Lines on the life of a blimp pilot.  They ran the story in January this year to mark the 50th anniversary of blimps being used to cover sporting events.  Turns out the position is very tough to get, and there’s a lot more to think about than you might imagine:

It’s a juggling game during sporting events, steering the blimp toward the action, timing the left turns, trying to stay out of the way. The U.S. Open tennis tournament is one of the hardest events to cover, [Pilot Marty] Chandler says. There are airplanes whizzing around from JFK. There are tennis players who get perturbed over the roar of the blimp’s engines from 1,000 feet above. There are shadows to worry about and international satellite signals to dodge.

“So you work like crazy,” Chandler says. “Because the last thing we want to do is disturb the event we’re trying to cover.”


The Goodyear Blimp

There’s also video embedded at the link that talks about the genesis of the blimp shot, and its significance for college football in particular.  Frank Chirkinian is the former CBS producer who pioneered the technique.  His take:  “You don’t need a single word, not a single word uttered, with a picture like that from above.  It says it all.”

Big Air at the Coliseum

In View, Watch on August 23, 2010 at 7:06 am

X Games 16 came to Los Angeles three weeks ago, and they decided to mix it up with the venues this year.  The Big Air super ramp has previously been set up in the parking lot north of the Staples Center (where it was quite the site to see from the 110 freeway).  L.A. Live is there now, so they put Big Air in at the Coliseum.

Jordan Moore at the USC RipsIt Blog went over during setup and took pictures:

X Games Big Air at the L.A. Coliseum.

X Games Big Air at the L.A. Coliseum.

The scale of that ramp is mind-boggling.

Chances are slim that the event will return to the Coliseum next year, as event coordinators have complained about the venue being too big.  Even if 50,000 people show up you’re still only half full.

UPDATE:  There’s plenty of video on YouTube.  Here’s Jake Brown:

Why write sports?

In Read on August 17, 2010 at 7:11 am

Last month a group of sportswriters sat down for a round table discussion with Matt Robison for the Morning News.  Topics included why they started writing about sports, and what it is about sport that makes for such a great literary source:

What’s one specific moment in sports that made you want to write about it?

Will Leitch: It was actually in 1989, when Nick Anderson hit a last-second shot from three-quarters to give my beloved Illini a win over hated Indiana and its monstrous Patton-esque coach Bobby Knight. It was good over evil, and a 13-year-old Will Leitch danced and laughed and accidentally hugged his father. (Gross!) It was such a powerful moment, the idea that sports can make you feel euphoric like nothing else can, and I knew I wanted to capture that moment.

Nic Brown is also one of the authors, and it turns out they did this roundtable the day after his tennis match with Tripp Philips.

Author vs. pro

In Read, Shop on August 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

To help promote his new book Doubles, author Nic Brown challenged his tennis-pro friend Tripp Philips to a match.  This essay provides a glimpse into the world and mindset of elite athletes:

“You have no weapons,” he tells me two days later, over a lunch of cheap tacos and cheese dip. He reviews the match in this specific analytical way I’ve experienced with other professional athletes. To them, match review is engineering, not personal nicety. The performance is fact, not opinion. “No matter what,” he says, “I was going to have you off balance. And no matter what you did, I was going to be perfectly balanced. I knew where you were going to hit it before you hit it. It’s the difference between me and you. But if I played Roger Federer right now, he’d do the exact same thing to me.”


Throw like an athlete

In Read on August 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

In the summer of 1996, James Fallows explored why boys and girls throw differently for The Atlantic.  He demonstrates the conclusion that throwing a baseball can be learned by anyone, no matter the gender:

Readers who are happy with their throwing skills can prove this to themselves in about two seconds. If you are right-handed, pick up a ball with your left hand and throw it. Unless you are ambidextrous or have some other odd advantage, you will throw it “like a girl.” The problem is not that your left shoulder is hinged strangely or that you don’t know what a good throw looks like. It is that you have not spent time training your leg, hip, shoulder, and arm muscles on that side to work together as required for a throw.

Also included are stories about the Clintons, John Goodman, and why tennis proves there’s no such thing as “throwing like a girl.”

Caddy gets a car

In Read on July 29, 2010 at 7:04 am

A 23-year-old caddy in Muskegon, MI, walked away with a brand new Jeep Wrangler when his club choice helped Stan Andrie make a hole-in-one last week:

“I think you should hit a 5-iron,” Andrie recalled [caddy Dave] Maxey saying.

“If I get a hole-in-one, do you want a big tip or the car?” Andrie asked him, referring to the prize for an ace on that hole, a brand-new, black Jeep Wrangler 4×4, valued at $26,500.

Maxey chose wisely.

Dave Maxey with his new Jeep Wrangler.  Photo by John Madil.

Dave Maxey with his new Jeep Wrangler. Photo by John Madil.

HT:  Jonathan Kuhn, who recently launched a script review service at

If I never get back

In Read on July 13, 2010 at 7:43 am

With a nod to tonight’s All-Star Game, here’s a piece in the L.A. Times about a new monument to Jack Norworth, who wrote “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in 1908:

Norworth had never seen a baseball game when he wrote the song’s lyrics. He was riding the subway in New York when he saw a billboard for the Polo Grounds, the legendary ballpark where San Francisco’s Giants then played. He pulled out a pencil and paper and dashed out the lyrics.

Jack Norworth Monument.  Photo by Katie Falkenberg.

Jack Norworth Monument. Photo by Katie Falkenberg.

Norworth actually updated the lyrics 19 years later, but the changes he made were to the verses, which I didn’t even know existed.  Baseball Almanac has more details and the full lyrics, but no word on why Nelly Kelly replaced Katie Casey in 1927.

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