Reading list

Probably the greatest essay on athletes’ bowel movements you’ll ever read.

One of those epic Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell email exchanges, this time talking about athletes in the modern age, with the mass media and the Twitter and that. Yes, it’s long, but it’s worth sticking with.

If you’ve ever wondered how you’d really fare at paintball against ruthless killers and that, here’s how.

An amateur bowler comes *this* close to bowling three 300 games in a row. Heartbreaking. And an amateur cyclist tries drugs and quite likes them. Eye opening.

Reading list

Lionel Messi gets the New York Times treatment. Wish Maradonna had read this.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker says let’s wait until Lance is proven guilty; from the same author, a long 2002 profile.

As a father of two under-three Waikato fans born on the North Shore, I know the importance of giving the offspring absolutely no choice in which team they support.

A 13 year old scores his own version of my favourite goal ever.

Reading list

There may be no entrapped pool of human talent left on earth with the dollar value of Cuban baseball players.
Sharpest keyboard in the west Michael Lewis on Cuban baseball players

I felt as intensely focused as a diamond-cutting laser; Grand Theft Auto IV was ready to go. My friend and I played it for the next 30 hours straight.
Guy gets addicted to coke, pot and Grand Theft Auto

Instead, I was waiting for someone… said to be a genius and a paranoid obsessive, the greatest chess player who ever lived and an obnoxious crackpot. I was looking for Bobby Fischer.
Potted history of the potty recluse Bobby Fischer

I can unequivocally say that this is one of the top five most abysmally, hyperventilatingly, throbbingly appalling experiences of my life. The only small ray of consolation was that I wasn’t alone … It’s not just me being humiliated, it’s the culture and inhabitants of an entire continent. writing hero AA Gill goes to the gym in Manhattan

Reading list

Barney Ronay on the IPL:

Sehwag is simply a primal talent. He swatted one of Yusuf Pathan’s lightweight off-breaks for an enormous six over mid-wicket. He uppercut violently over cover. Sehwag does this kind of thing anyway. He doesn’t need cheerleaders or a man shouting things into a microphone.

Harry Pearson on wingers that look like True Blood extras. And KD Laing:

Take a peek at film of George Best back in the day when he looked like the fifth Beatle rather than some chubby geezer who played session marimbas on the second Eagles album… all of them lads who guarded their mercurial image and seemed to live for the day they provoked the rampantly romantic Barry Davies to squawk ecstatically: “Oh, my word, and you have to admire the sheer impudence of the boy!”

Reading list

Jeremey Coney interview:

“I did get on the field in front of Bay 13 at the MCG. I can remember having an exchange with a hostile crowd down there. I did give some back – which was stupid. “Ah, look, we’ve got a young goose here, there’s only 35 shoplifting days to Christmas, Cornery,” they shouted. Then they started to throw marbles and they were pinking me on the back of my jersey. There must have been a hundred marbles around me and I thought I was going to roll an ankle. Then they started throwing pies when they ran out of marbles. And that attracted the birds. I had undulating ground underfoot and above, flying wildly around me, were birds swooping to attack these bits of meat. It was a disaster. And it was from that day on that I was solely a slip fielder.”

– Gideon Haigh’s sweet tribute to England’s Chris Tavere:

“As an ersatz opening batsman, Tavaré did not so much score runs as smuggle them out by stealth.”

How A $500 Craigslist Car Beat $400K Rally Racers:

“I once asked Bill why he insisted on going through every spectator section crossed up and with the engine banging off the limiter. “Dude,” he said, “I don’t care if it costs me a couple of tenths. It makes the fans go nuts.”

The top ten Roy Keane battles:

“The two had been grappling for an hour or so before McAteer responded to a Keane foul by miming writing motions, mere days after the midfielder had said he’d rather buy his son a Bob The Builder CD than Keane’s autobiography. Soon afterwards, they chased for a loose ball, Keane elbowed McAteer in the head, and off he trudged.”

Reading list – Game Changers: How Videogames Trained a Generation of Athletes

Wired magazine on how video games are changing the game:

Then Brandon Stokley snagged the ball on the play that would soon be dubbed the Immaculate Deflection and pulled his astonishing did-you-see-that Maddenball maneuver. Donny Moore, an EA designer who was sitting to Madden’s left, leaped to his feet. “That’s what happens in the game!” he screamed, ecstatic.

Other examples include Jonah Lomu playing a lot of Jonah Lomu Rugby, Shane Warne’s addiction to Leisure Suit Larry, and the NRL playing roster’s re-enactment of Grand Theft Auto most Sunday nights.

Reading list: A-Z of cheating in sport

The Observer’s latest Sport Monthly features an exhaustive list of all the ways cheating gits can prosper in sport. My top three:

3. face clutch, the n ham-acting technique employed by footballers to make clear to officials that they have been struck, punched, touched, or nearly touched in the face by an opponent. See: Rivaldo

2. goalposts, moving the vb 1. figurative for changing the rules after a contest has begun. 2. actual method deployed by Swedish goalkeeper Kim Christensen during a match between IFK Gothenburg and Orebro in September 2009

1. Henry Hill n, proper the real-life Goodfella who arranged, in 1978, for basketball players at Boston College to “point shave” – or miss shots, deliberately, at certain times – to aid gambling gangsters. Hill said he first snared the players with offers of free booze, drugs and prostitutes.

The Underarm and Andy Hayden’s lineout work are also noted.

KP’s coming home

Laurence Booth summarises just what Kevin Pieterson is up against in the South African IPL jaunt.

In the two weeks he’s there he’ll match wits with ex-best mate Shane Warne and his England team-mate / power-struggle nemesis Andrew Fintoff, and will captain Boucher and Kallis, who’d probably rather KP played international Cricket for South Africa.

Add in that the expat is as popular as a punch in the nuts in the Republic, where crowds aren’t renowned for subtlety (nice work Richie, BTW). He’s up against it – his planned jaunt through the exotic sub continent, before collecting US $1.55M has a very different look now, not that it will bother this supremely confident Cricketer. It’s a little known fact (to me, anyway. Ahem) that Pieterson has only three 5os from 29 attempts in T20, a poor return for a guy who’s made for the Ramones form of the game. He should do better than that at home.