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March Madness Preview

March Madness Preview

The NCAA tournament, that glorious spectacle that only comes but once a year, is finally upon us. Sportswriter Bob Ryan said that if the field of 68 duked it out six times, we’d have six different winners. Sounds like brackets will be busted early and often, which, in my view, makes for the most enjoyable viewing experience. Sure, Michigan State was my pick last year (sorry Hoos), but I was stoked to see Middle Tennessee State do the unthinkable and knock off Sparty in the first round. Once my dreams of a perfect bracket are shattered, usually in the first…

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The Magic in Magical Thinking

The Magic in Magical Thinking

“…conscious uncoupling…”

“…and Mexico will pay for it!”

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

We cannot help it. Humans desperately need to square the circle. I want to find a cosmic thread or Special Sauce that allows the New York Football Giants to somehow, over about 6 coaching changes and zillions of players post-LT/Simms, to somehow get to the Super Bowl every year.

That is Magical Thinking.

But not every illogical extrapolation is as delusional as the Giants making the Super Bowl in the next few years. Not all desire-driven reality-bnding is magical. Heroin, smoking, and bacon have no objective merit: to…

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Gaga for Gaga

Gaga for Gaga

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” -Irenaeus

I don’t know the last time I was so fixated on a Super Bowl half time show. Actually I can state with complete confidence that I’ve never been so fixated on one. From beginning to end, Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI was one for the record books. It was glorious in the best sense of the word.

No doubt Gaga’s performance will inspire a sea of words on the interwebs in the next 24 to 48 hours. I hesitate to add the pile of prose. But something caught my eye that…

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Super Bowl LI Postscript: Joy and Pain, That's the Deal

Super Bowl LI Postscript: Joy and Pain, That’s the Deal

Fact. Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever. Fact. Super Bowl 51: to rehash it would be to diminish it.  To explain how exceptional Tom Brady and the Pats were at the end (if we are talking human beings, celebrities, biggest stage) would be to diminish them. Hear this out: The arguably greatest QB in history, before Sunday, just orchestrated the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.  That’s not hyperbole. That’s what happened.

Cut to my very-much-in-Atlanta family room with all of our offspring fully present in full Falcon regalia. Third quarter: Falcons up 28-3. What? No really, seriously? We were…

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Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) - The Transformation of Tom Brady

Super Bowl Preview 2 (and Prediction) – The Transformation of Tom Brady

“Your men love you. If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough” – Prince Edward (to Heath Ledger/William) “A Knights Tale”.

We know a lot about Tom Brady, and there are so many reasons to hate him. He cheated. He is a good friend of of the person most centered in the cross-hairs of the ire of many right now. He’s married to (according to us) the woman who possesses the most robust combination of  wealth and beauty of any woman in the world. That pretty much covers it for many of us. Such a variety of…

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On "Omniscient" Narrators: W.C. Heinz's "Death of a Racehorse"

On “Omniscient” Narrators: W.C. Heinz’s “Death of a Racehorse”

Sportswriters are not generally awarded the prestigious seats at writer’s guild meetings. But when the Library of America brings out a collection of your sportswriting, as they did for W.C. Heinz, the guild must make an exception. Imagine what Heinz’s reportorial eyes witnessed —  the right crosses of Rocky Marciano, the mercurial shouts of Vince Lombardi, and the sweet swing of Stan Musial (not to mention the Battle of the Bulge). Writing his best work at mid-20th century, Heinz bridged the golden era of sportswriters like Grantland Rice with the New Journalism of Tom Wolfe. His boxing novel (“The…

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Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject "The Disease of Me" by Embracing "Brothership"

Super Bowl Preview #1: The Atlanta Falcons Reject “The Disease of Me” by Embracing “Brothership”

Here is the first of two Super Bowl Previews (one highlighting each team) and why one can be justified in pulling for either team in Super Bowl LI. Legendary NBA executive and coach, Pat Riley wrote a book in 2013 called The Disease of Me, a treatise on how self-centeredness (being curved in on one’s self) can and does sabotage even the best of teams (be it a team in sports, business, family units, etc.). Riley speaks from a place of experience, having had both underachieving and overachieving teams as a coach and GM in the NBA.  Here are Riley’s key…

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Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

Not Another Sports-and-Jesus Analogy

I was born in Wisconsin, as was my dad, and his dad, which means that we are Green Bay Packers fans. Cheeseheads. We bleed green and gold. Our hearts belong to St. Vincent and Lambeau Field. Our loyalty is defined by our history and our sense of place. 

Unlike my dad and his dad and most of the rest of my family, I don’t understand football. I’ve tried. I went to a Big Ten school and attended all of the home football games, but honestly, that was mostly to see my friends in the marching band. (I’m not making…

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Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

Prejudice Like Crack: Confirming Confirmation Bias with Michael Lewis

I’ve been enjoying Michael Lewis’s new book, The Undoing Project, which picks up where Moneyball left off: When it comes to sports recruitment, if the numbers are more reliable than human judgment, the next question is why? What’s going on in the human mind that makes even the experts’ top picks hit-or-miss?

One answer is the inevitable confirmation bias. The following definition comes to us from our magazine’s recent Mental Health issue: “The tendency to experience the world through the lens of your already held beliefs. If you think, before you’ve eaten there, that La Frontera is a terrible restaurant…the odds are in favor of you hating it…

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Does Hockey Have a Soul? Thoughts on a Cruciform Zamboni

Does Hockey Have a Soul? Thoughts on a Cruciform Zamboni

Here’s one from hockey enthusiast, our friend, Scott Dalton.

If you’ve been paying much attention this season to ESPN’s commentary on the NHL, this article may have caught you off guard.

In the seemingly endless stream of ESPN’s NHL news, there sits an article written by John Buccigross that attempts to tap into the spirituality of one of America’s most violent sports: hockey.

With striking and overt spiritual imagery, Buccigross draws parallels to Catholic confession and an endless cycle of “rinse and repeat” justification he experienced in high school. He credits hockey for a feeling of renewal.

For Buccigross the Zamboni has been a…

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Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

The other day, a dear friend posted a photo on Instagram that piqued my interest immediately. It showed her son, wearing a gi, proudly holding up a broken board. Her caption said “Joel the white belt.” Now, as proud as I am about my dear friend’s kid’s achievements, this wasn’t what drew my attention. The thing I noticed immediately was the the board, though split down the middle, had “Good job!” written on it. It also had Joel’s name, the date, and the name of the Grand Master who, I assume, oversaw the accomplishment. Here’s the fascinating thing, though: the…

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Tim Tebow's Big God

Tim Tebow’s Big God

I’d be thrilled to have Tim Tebow as a son-in-law if my daughters weren’t spoken for. Look at him, he’s pretty perfect. Listen to him, he’s pretty easy to like. At ESPN HQ in Bristol, Connecticut, word is that everyone who works there with him loves him. He’s a super nice, cute, likable dude. I’m a Harry Connick Jr. fan too–best American Idol judge of all-time, and I watched all the seasons. So, this little exchange should be “can’t miss,” correct? Actually, that would depend on your definition of “Big God.” Take a listen:

Did you catch all that? Tim Tebow…

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