In August, Jon Stewart inexplicably forgot about Washington (and the legality of its weed). More recently, erstwhile replacement John Oliver committed similar oversight during his segment on the controversial “Race Together” campaign from Starbucks:
The story of Starbucks’ betrayal of the city of Seattle has been thoroughly rehearsed. And since it had been some time since that series of unfortunate events, Microsoft decided to remind Seattle it too can act with callous disregard of local sports icons.
Now, I like Microsoft. I use/am a PC. I have a Windows Phone. Which is how I came across this upsetting discovery:
Mountain Lion. Puma. Catamount. Lion of the Andes. Panther. All different names for the same thing: But unlike Death Cab for Cutie, none of those are authentically Washington. You see, out where I’m from, that critter you see above is called a cougar.
Although aware of the existence of those many alternatives, I actually went years thinking “cougar” is a relatively common term. It certainly helps that it has taken on a strong secondary connotation in pop culture. So imagine my astonishment when I took the New York Times’ Dialect Quiz about a year ago and discovered that the name is pretty much endemic to Washington:
Just over two months ago, a pair of 206 heroes showed up to a talk by NBA Commissioner David Stern sporting Seattle SuperSonics swag and convinced him to pose for a picture. Unsurprisingly, the result made its way to Reddit — courtesy of @joeandtell — where it received overwhelmingly positive attention. But it also attracted one comment that annoyed me so much I decided to respond two months and a week later:
When Richard Sherman was named this past year’s Madden cover boy, I imagine a significant fraction of football fans felt schadenfreudic tinglings: Sherman — thug, villain, superstar — would surely fall victim to the vaunted Madden Curse. After all, he had only one direction to fall.
But this past week, Sherman was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after nearly becoming the San Francisco 49ers’ leading receiver (Colin Kaepernick threw him two passes; the actual leader caught three). That recognition makes him the only player in the NFL to receive the honor in each of the past three seasons (and those 22nd and 23rd interceptions stretched his lead since entering the league to 8).
RS25 has been frustratingly (to his haters) just fine.
But there is another, far more serious, curse the Seahawks have had to contend with in 2014: the Curse of the Bieber. As has been established on this very blog, Russell Wilson does not always make the wisest of wise decisions, and so in early May he failed to extricate himself (or those poor, doomed children) from an obviously dangerous situation:
LeBron James made headlines Friday* when he informed ESPN of his Decision not to let his sons play football because of “the health dangers”. Presumably, James is concerned about “the health dangers” posed by concussion and other violence-induced head injuries that have driven down participation in youth football programs by over 10% in over just a three-year span (2010-2012). Those are legit.
But don’t let James fool you into thinking he is taking some sort of principled stand against the dangers of participating in sport.
My most recent post was about the conflict in the Middle East. So was the one before that and the one before that. And two of the next three before that. And so on. Not quite two solid months of football in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, but I could easily pull off a similar streak if given half the chance. It’s hard not to write about geopolitical issues that affect people I love (that is, people), and I still have a lot more to say.
But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can too often resemble rival fans supporting their favorite teams — the message of my previous post notwithstanding — so to distance myself from falling completely back into familiar patterns, I hope to periodically punctuate my commentary on the real conflict with frivolous asides about meaningless sports. In other words, what I usually like to talk about. At a minimum, I hope the breaks will provide me with a reminder that war is not sport.
All that said, I can’t help myself. It’s impossible to discuss my topic tonight without thinking of what’s happening on the shores of the Mediterranean. Without further ado, I present the ongoing trade negotiations between Cleveland and Minnesota. (Bear with me.)
Right before the World Cup, the New York Times devoted an entire issue of its weekly New York Times Magazine to the upcoming international soccer tournament.
Americans love to make facile comparisons, especially when they talk about sports, so in one of its heroic efforts to make soccer more understandable/relatable, the Times tried to equate players who would appear in the World Cup to their American “counterparts”:
LeBron isn’t the only basketball player making headlines in Cleveland. Earlier this week, number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins earned some of his own when he pulled off what has been described as “a 360-Degree, Behind-the-Back Dunk” while warming up for the Cavaliers:
Just one problem: that’s no 360 degree dunk. Yes, it was very nicely done, and I certainly couldn’t pull it off (duh), but he hardly spun 360 degrees in the air. I can’t argue this better than the first comment posted on the above article:
Google gets all the buzz (pun intended) for its creative and whimsical doodles that often celebrate special occasions and people. For instance, here’s how the search engine decided to mark Mother’s Day:
But Google isn’t the only website that updates its otherwise-static home page on the daily. Ostensible rival search engine Bing hosts a rotating cast of photographs each day, which I happen to see because it is featured on the search screen of my Windows Phone.
Like Google doodles, these images are sometimes chosen to celebrate special occasions. Here’s what Bing has on display this Mother’s Day: