Our favourite things this week: from Cornish football to American maps

时间:2019-11-16 责任编辑:毕群 来源:兴发娱乐平台 点击:223 次

American football is taking a battering. The , and magazines have lined up to admonish . With in the media predicting the death of the NFL, has written a defence of football in .

Chait is smart enough to see that the sport has problems. It needs to be safer. The concussions need to stop. Players must improve their behaviour. Rice has to go. And football should be better at looking after its youngsters and professionals. But he also provides some facts that go against the narrative that is popular elsewhere: “High-school football has a fatality rate of 0.83 per 100,000 participants. This is actually lower than the rates of boys’ basketball, lacrosse, boys’ gymnastics, and water polo.”

Chait is not going to win this argument with numbers, and he does not try to. Instead, he insists that football is essential to America’s culture – and to the development and improvement of young men: “Football is unusual in the way it requires you to master your fear. I would never suggest that all boys need to do it; not everybody should master the violin or learn Mandarin, either. But those who do often find it rewarding or even transformative. All sports require effort and discipline, but the discipline required to hurl your body directly into somebody else’s is unique.”

If Chait’s anthropological defence fails to convince you, try his personal account of the sport he experienced in his youth: “Football is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. Absurd as it may sound to say this about a career as a second-stringer for an average team, nothing I’ve done in my life felt as important at the time I was doing it. This is not because my life is a failure, and it is not because football stole my youth. Football’s enemies have an accurate sociological observation, but their conclusion is backward. Nothing else pumped so much adrenaline through me that I couldn’t feel my feet underneath me as I ran and could barely remember my name, or made me weep or scream uncontrollably. It is the adventure of your life, a chance to prove yourself as a man before other boy-men who, even if you never see them again, you will always regard as brothers-in-arms.”

Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait)

On football safety, who do you believe -- a man named "Diamond" or an innocent Midwestern boy?

“I feel like I’ve lived a lot of lives. Or just one really full one,” says Timber Joey in this short documentary by . Joey is the Portland Timbers mascot. Every time they score a goal he cuts a slice of wood from a log that sits on the side of the pitch. It’s not but, as Joey points out: “Everyone’s got their own thing. I run around with a chainsaw.”

Timber Joey: America’s Best Mascot

No one means more to football in America than Landon Donovan. The LA Galaxy forward made when he captained them to a 1-1 draw with Ecuador last week. Donovan ends his international career with 57 goals and 58 assists but he was more than a goal-getter. He was a totem: a talisman for a whole sport, a regional representative. So says , who saw Donovan say goodbye for : “Plenty of American players came before the LA Galaxy forward and many will follow him, but there won’t be another who embodies the era in which US soccer grew up more than Donovan. He helped USA reach the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup. He was a catalyst for the transformation of MLS, from a league on the brink to a sustainable, growing entity. He was the reason Ian Darke shouted, “Go, go, USA!” And he’s why Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey returned to North America to play their club football. Over the last 15 years – with one notable exception – he was there for it all.”

Did you know that the Chicago Bulls logo looks like an unhappy robot reading a book when you turn it upside down and take away the horns? Have you ever realised that the Philadelphia Eagles are the only NFL team with a badge that faces left? And can you see the map of Australia in the logo below? find the hidden messages in sports logos so you don’t have to bother.

Yoga Australia logo

“I have a theory I’ve wanted to explore for years, but was never sure how I would realistically put it to the test… until now.” And so began ’s football experiment. Steve wanted to know if footballers raise their game when playing their former clubs, so he has been betting £5 a week on a player to score against an old team. He has lost a lot of fivers so far.

Jay Tabb, Craig Gardner, Marouane Chamakh, Dejan Lovren, Rio Ferdinand, Gaël Clichy, Samir Nasri, Aly Cissokho, Adam Hammill, Jacob Butterfield, Adam Clayton, John O’Shea, Steven Caulker, Stewart Downing and Adel Taarabt have all let him down this season. But his luck improved when Frank Lampard scored against Chelsea. Could the comeback be on?

“The main problem is identifying the most likely candidates each week,” says Steve. “So I got in touch with Opta and asked if they could help. They kindly agreed to provide me with a custom spreadsheet of 4,000 players together with their former employers, spanning all 92 clubs. Armed with this new information I’m hoping to have a change in fortunes. That said, I still need people to get involved.” Follow his progress – and suggest bets – on .

have featured ’s photography in . Enjoy.

Photograph: Darren Luke
Photograph: Darren Luke

and analysed the results of nearly 200,000 matches in the history of English football and came across an intriguing trend for : “In the early days of English football, about 60& of games were won by the home team. The rest split about equally: 20% draws and 20% away wins. Now, the home team wins only about 40% of games, the visitor wins 30%, and the rest are draws. This trend doesn’t show signs of slowing. Home-field advantage in English football is disappearing.”

As always, the really interesting question is why. A few reasons are suggested – more comfortable travel, the gentrification of crowds, the professionalisation of referees – but the most intriguing is the idea that players have improved their away performances as they know their supporters are watching on TV. They can no longer escape their “monitoring” fans, who are critiquing them from home and will berate them if they don’t put in a shift.

Alex Zanardi lost both of his legs in a motor racing crash in 2001 but, remarkably, he is now an Ironman. The accident almost killed him but it did not dent his competitive edge. He won gold in the handcycling event at the London 2012 Paralympics and . Just look at those arms.

alex zanardi (@lxznr)

What a feel: thousands of people cheering you at the line and the speaker shouting: Alex Zanardi, YOU are an IRONMAN!

has been taking his daughter to baseball games since she was nine months old but, now that she is emerging as a young person who can make her own decisions, he realises that he could lose her to the other distractions that compete for the attention of young girls. “I know she, at eight years of age, is in the process of building her own cabinet of interests, and that baseball may very well be left out when she’s done filling it,” he writes in . Forbes is prepared for the day she will turn her back on baseball, but he is hoping it will never come. When he writes like this, it’s hard not to root for him:

“Maybe to her it’ll always be just a game, a sport, and not the trembling, holy thing it is for me. Perhaps she’ll find the gender politics of the game troubling, the near-total exclusion of women and the objectification and othering of those let in. She’d be right to see it that way, too. But I’ll take her to a game anyway. Sit with her and cheer. Explain what I can, answer what questions I can. Show her what I love about the game, and hope that the feeling of the place washes over her the way it did and does me. I won’t try to force that last aspect, because it can’t be forced. But I will hope fervently that something about baseball reaches her and takes up permanent, quiet residency, as it did me in my own prehistory. I want this both so that she has this place, and so that I will have this thing to share with her always.”

All hail the cartographers at Vox.