Blake Snow

content consultant, bodacious writer, husband/father

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Tagged sports

Hosting the Olympics or World Cup is like hosting a party

The Scrib

The Scrib

In other words, you don’t do if for the money.

“The Brazilian World Cup is best understood as a party,” writes Simon Kuper for ESPN. “You don’t host a party to get rich. You do it to have fun, and Brazilians will have fun. Yet there’s something obscene about hosting an extravagant party in a country where millions of people need houses, electricity, doctors. That’s what bothered the protestors.”

Politics aside, there are measurable increases in happiness among a host nation’s citizens, according to Soccernomics. Not unlike the effect a good house party has on a host.

But you can still skimp on a party and have a good time. The problem is, I think the Olympics and FIFA always want a lavish party, even if the designated host can’t afford it.

Wright Thompson is a great sportswriter

otl_jordan50_10For example, his recent profile on Michael Jordan turning 50 goes to a place few sportswriters go: Deep thoughts.

Aging means losing things, and not just eyesight and flexibility. It means watching the accomplishments of your youth be diminished, maybe in your own eyes through perspective, maybe in the eyes of others through cultural amnesia. Most people live anonymous lives, and when they grow old and die, any record of their existence is blown away. They’re forgotten, some more slowly than others, but eventually it happens to virtually everyone. Yet for the few people in each generation who reach the very pinnacle of fame and achievement, a mirage flickers: immortality. They come to believe in it. Even after Jordan is gone, he knows people will remember him. Here lies the greatest basketball player of all time. That’s his epitaph. When he walked off the court for the last time, he must have believed that nothing could ever diminish what he’d done. That knowledge would be his shield against aging.

Beautiful. More here.

You can’t look away: Here’s why people still watch NBC’s criticized Olympic coverage

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A lot of rabid olympic spectators in America are understandably upset. NBC has spoiled the tape-delayed results on more than one occasion, either with an evening newscast or even a promotional commercial in between events which announce interviews with eventual gold medalists that still haven’t won on tape delay.

Worse still for cord-cutters like me, authentication of a cable subscription is required to watch events live online, even though NBC is a free broadcast channel. Even still, the live stream app reportedly crashes a lot.

At the same time, the number of people watching NBC’s olympic prime-time and tape-delayed coverage is off the charts. Record ratings even. NBC’s tape delayed approach is even boosting they’re revenue, so they’re approach is obviously working, even if it upsets a lot of people.

So why is everyone so pissed off, and by everyone I really mean just a loud vocal minority? Continue reading…

Bo Jackson: A childhood hero of mine

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I owned my fair share of Air Jordans growing up. But as a jack of all trades, I always had a soft spot for Bo Jackson, his amazing talent, and his cross training shoes. In fact, I probably owned more Bo Jacksons than Air Jordans. I certainly drew more cross trainers than basketball shoes.

Unfortunately, Bo Jackson was only superhuman for four years until he suffered a hip injury. But for those four years, he was arguably bigger than even Jordan, as this wonderful profile of him suggests. Bo, it turns out, really did know.

Tattoo parlors hurt most in ongoing NBA work stoppage

birdman

In a blow to vendors, concessionaires, and local restaurants today, grateful and down-to-earth professional basketball players rejected a 50/50 split of income with team owners from the National Basketball Association.

“It’s not like fans come to see us in really nice, well-stocked, underwritten, and climate controlled arenas with the help of mass marketing campaigns,” said one informed player. “Fans come to games because they know the precise dates and times that we’re on the court. They don’t care about teams, community, or a good time. They just come to watch our amazing skills, like they have in droves on the blacktops we grew up playing on.”

Whatever the case, the real losers in all of this are tattoo artists, experts say. “Inking these walking billboards up is like 70% of my non-drug related business,” said one parlor owner from Los Angeles. “Most players are still only 50% covered, so this work stoppage really impedes us from not only increasing our invoice per customer, but contributing to society in a meaningful way, like tanning salons do.”

When asked for comment, a player’s union representative said his constituency is “crawling in their skin to get tatted up,” and that the union is considering making NBA owners pay for all future tattoos, since they’re “very becoming” to the overall product on the court.

Variety show host Jimmy Kimmel and his bit about “suffering tattoo artists” contributed to this report.

This exposé of youth basketball is “jarring” to say the least

I suppose it’s only logical that profiteers would move to high school basketball, having already compromised professional and collegiate hoops.

That said, the below is a must-read summary for any athletic parent, youth coach, or sports fan:

A jarring look at youth basketball: Part 1 | Part 2

Note: The above story is a review of the eye-opening Play Their Hearts Out by George Dorhrmann.

Published works: Home field advantage, fantasy sports, free college, gamer abandonment

Notable feature stories I’ve written recently:

Why fair-weather fans are better than loyal ones

byulogoFrom NPR’s book review of Scorecasting:

When they examined attendance data for the Cubs, one of the unluckiest teams in professional sports who have not won a World Series in 102 years, the authors found it to be remarkably stable — around 90 percent — no matter if the team was at the top of the league or on a losing streak. Fair-weather fans, it seems, actually incentivize a team to win; team owners and coaches will work harder to win games so they can sell more tickets.

Not only are fair-weather fans better for the organization, though. Being one is better for oneself, as fair-weather fans are more at liberty to chose entertainment options that “work for them,” as opposed to staying involved with a mediocre (aka boring) team.

In other words: Go, Cougars! (So long as they’re winning.)

Cheating is a winning strategy

byulogoQuote: “In the 75-year history of the wire service era, CBSSports.com research showed that it is nearly impossible to win a national championship at the highest level in major college football without cheating. Among the schools that have won titles since 1936, when human polls became the accepted form of determining the sport’s champion, only Penn State and BYU have never had a major violation in football.”

Go, Cougars!

I like that humans are trying to invent new sports…

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But I suspect this is far to complicated to ever catch on. And how on earth are amateur, aspiring, or otherwise young players ever suppose to recreate that crazy field!?

Not gonna happen.

PS – Good luck trying to find four goalies. It’s hard enough to find two in soccer.

My Dad on being a great basketball shooter

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I wish I could have seen my Dad play basketball.

My uncle tells me he was a phenomenal shooter, regularly putting up 30+ points a night against amateur competition. My old man reputedly scored 50 points in a single half of intramural college ball once (!).

More impressive from a precision standpoint, he shot 50 consecutive free throws at my neighbor’s house when I was a boy. He stopped before missing his first shot so he could get home “for supper,” he says. Talk about ending on a high note.

Marveling at other great shooters this year, including Jimmer Fredette, whom I’ve watched at close range, I asked my Dad what it takes to be a great percentage shooter. His reply:

“It is a combination of natural and great physical skill, thousands of hours of practice and playing, and the ability after reaching a certain point of physical excellence to take your mind out of shooting and letting your body do it! That’s the groove that is spoken of. Not very many reach the ‘groove’ consistently. When it happens, it is like heaven on earth.”

High five, pops!

Top 10 faith-based Jimmerisms

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On Monday, BYU student Michelle Peralta accused fellow classmates of “idol worship” in a letter published in the school paper. Peralta, not to be confused with the awesome ’80s skateboards of the same name, said she was irritated by what she called “Jimmer worship,” Jimmer being the BYU point guard, 3-point killer, nation’s leading scorer, and all-around swell guy.

In all likelhood, Peralta, an admitted non-sports fan, was probably just venting her frustration over the increased volume of Jimmermania sweeping the nation, Provo very much included. That didn’t stop the Internet from having a little fun with her though.

In a virally large thread on her then-public, now-private Facebook page, hundreds of Jimmer fans came to his defense, while sticking with the comical spiritual theme Peralta had started. Here my top 10 favorites: Continue reading…