Posts tagged "ESPN"

30 for 30: Space Jam Game

The Mercilessness of College Football’s Win-Now Age

The Mercilessness of College Football’s Win-Now Age

What an interesting time it is for college football. Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni were fired from their jobs last week–Kiffin from USC and Pasqualoni from UConn–after only three years of coaching. After The University of Southern California suffered a loss to Arizona State this past Saturday, Kiffin was let go. Finishing his career at USC with a 28-15 record amid difficult NCAA sanctions, Kiffin’s coaching at USC isn’t universally perceived as failure. For USC athletics, and their fans, however, it’s failure with a capital F. ESPN’s Ted Miller says it best:

The problem with coaching USC is you’re coaching USC. If you…

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The Wonderfully Puzzling Honesty of Early Retirement

The Wonderfully Puzzling Honesty of Early Retirement

For sports fans, retirement is a sensitive subject. Early retirement is particularly touchy though. As fans, we long to see our favorite players exercise their talent for as long as possible. Early retirement usually occurs as a result of something rather serious, like an injury or a crime–it rarely happens by way of a willful decision. The latter is far more disorienting for sports fans. I still remember when the great Detroit Lions running back, Barry Sanders retired. Even though running backs tend to have shorter careers than most other positions in the NFL, Sanders’ decision to call it quits was…

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The Quirky Grace of Fandom: A Best of This Is SportsCenter Commercials

The Quirky Grace of Fandom: A Best of This Is SportsCenter Commercials

Being a fan’s a funny thing – you idolize certain players on your team, riding with them on their ups and turning critical on their downs. It’s tempting as a commentator on anything – sports, literature, movies, etc – to stand above all of it as the judge, the arbiter and critic, and SportsCenter does a good bit of that. But the critical attitude of standing above is opposed to the loving attitude of standing below, looking up. And the most charming parts of ESPN are not when they’re rating the five best closers in the NL East, but when…

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The One With No Legs, The One Who Could Not See, and The One Who Stayed

The One With No Legs, The One Who Could Not See, and The One Who Stayed

Buckle your seat belt and grab a tissue (box). What follows is the amazing story of a former ESPN producer, Lisa Fenn, and two boys from Akron, Ohio: Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton. You might have read/seen the a clip a few years ago on ESPN entitled, “Carry On.” Originally aired in 2009, the story highlighted a unique and extremely loyal friendship between two high school wrestlers–as Leroy described it, these guys shared a bond that was “damn-near unbreakable.” Here’s the footage from ’09, ht AKC & BR:

“Carry On” was produced by Lisa Fenn, who, it turns out, has played a vital…

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Another Week Ends: Techno-Fasting, Google Glass, Tiger Babies, Missional Burnouts, Serrano’s Backfire, Powell’s Joy, and Family Tree

Another Week Ends: Techno-Fasting, Google Glass, Tiger Babies, Missional Burnouts, Serrano’s Backfire, Powell’s Joy, and Family Tree

1. First off, a timely rejoinder to our many social-media-is-making-us-lonely posts from Paul Miller on The Verge, entitled “I’m Still Here: Back Online After A Year Without Internet”. As the title suggests, Miller unplugged for a solid year, partly as an assignment to try to discover how technology, and the Internet in particular, had affected him (and us) over time. He reports that while the experience was initially incredibly freeing, he eventually found himself right back where he started, i.e. his new habits became just as constraining as the old ones. In theological terms, you might say that Paul’s story…

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Thank You For Not Coaching

Thank You For Not Coaching

People are selfish. Christians are people. That’s an interpretation of something Aaron Zimmerman said at last year’s Mockingbird Conference (Have you registered for this year’s yet?). He said that people are bad, and that’s true…selfishness is just one of the myriad ways in which we’re bad. That’s why it’s noteworthy when someone does something legitimately unselfish; when someone does something for someone else with no regard for themselves, they usually end up on magazine covers and talk shows. Such behavior runs counter to our nature, and so it stands out.

Professionals in the athletic arena are people…

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Even Jim Valvano Died

Even Jim Valvano Died

Jim Valvano (most likely known to non-sports fans as the namesake of the Jimmy V Foundation, a cancer research supporter which has given away hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the disease) was the subject of the latest ESPN 30-for-30 documentary, “Survive and Advance,” which premiered on Sunday night. The doc is about the unlikely path-to-a-championship of the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack, coached by Valvano, which included nine consecutive must-win games, many of which came down to the final seconds. The team’s run (the final basket in the championship game was recognized by Sports…

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Michael Jordan, Oscar Pistorius, and the Year of the Heroic Fall

Michael Jordan, Oscar Pistorius, and the Year of the Heroic Fall

“You ask for these special powers to achieve these heights, and now you got it and you want to give it back, but you can’t…I drove myself so much that I’m still living with some of those drives…I don’t know how to get rid of it.”

These are the words of a 50-year-old Michael Jordan, in an interview with ESPN’s Wright Thompson this past week. The name of the article ESPN released is “Jordan Has Not Left the Building: As He Turns 50, MJ Is Wondering If There Are Any More Asses to Kick.” There is an illustration of a Bulls-era…

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Another Week Ends: Taylor Swift, Tragedy’s Tragedy, Friday Night Faith, Crises of Boredom, and More November Haidt

Another Week Ends: Taylor Swift, Tragedy’s Tragedy, Friday Night Faith, Crises of Boredom, and More November Haidt

David Zahl is finishing up his paternity leave this week. Congratulations amigo! Love to you and yours.

1) In his “Life of Reilly” magazine series, ESPN’s Rick Reilly covered a hummer of a story about one of the most backwards high school football games in history, in which there were “rivers running uphill” and “cats petting dogs.” Taking place in Grapevine, Texas, a well-to-do suburban high school team took on a team from the juvenile justice center—the Gainesville State School Tornadoes versus the Grapevine Faith Lions. Having home field advantage in more ways than one, the Lions’ coach surrendered all—fans,…

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Michael Jordan is (Metaphorically) Killing His Sons

Michael Jordan is (Metaphorically) Killing His Sons

One of the lessons assigned in my church this past Sunday was a selection from Ephesians 4 and 5, wherein the writer implores the Ephesians to live a holy life, ultimately calling them to “be imitators of God” (Eph 5:1).  This is, no doubt, a heavy burden, laid crushingly bare by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore you must be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is The Law, in its most capitalized form. It brings about the death of the one who tries to live up to it.

A similar thing is happening…

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The Low-Hanging Fruit of the ESPN “Body” Issue

The Low-Hanging Fruit of the ESPN “Body” Issue

Around these parts, sometimes we have to go looking for law/gospel illustrations in the nooks and crannies of the popular world. Sometimes, though, they come and browbeat us. Such is the case with the annual ESPN “Body” issue, on newsstands now. A “celebration of the athletic form,” the Body Issue is supposed to be, I think, an equal-opportunity (and more obviously sports-oriented) answer to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Oh, and there aren’t any swimsuits. Birthday suits only, in this one.

Interestingly (perhaps) is the fact that it’s not really the athletes bodies themselves that are the law to…

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ESPN and Lisa Simpson Denounce the World

ESPN and Lisa Simpson Denounce the World

Am I the only one who still watches The Simpsons every week? Sometimes it seems like it…and it seems like the writing staff of The Simpsons knows it. The show has become a trifle (after beginning as a powerhouse) over the last several seasons, and only occasionally still has something interesting to say. In last week’s episode “Lisa Goes Gaga” (even the episode titles are boring…”Lisa Goes Gaga?” This from a show that brought us “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk.”) Lady Gaga comes to Springfield. She’s not planning to; her joyful train only stops in town after Gaga notices what a…

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Another Week Ends: Attachment Parenting, Sendak on Innocence, Self-Disclosure, Fraudulent Psych, Prometheus, Avengers, and Josh Hamilton

Another Week Ends: Attachment Parenting, Sendak on Innocence, Self-Disclosure, Fraudulent Psych, Prometheus, Avengers, and Josh Hamilton

1. Why Is This Attractive Woman Breast-Feeding This Giant Child? asks Hanna Rosin over at Slate, in response to Time’s, um, eye-catching cover this past week. You know the one I’m talking about – at least you do if you’ve seen it (below). The story within, bearing the not-so-subtle title of “Are You Mom Enough?”, profiles the controversial world of radical attachment parenting and the man behind it, Dr. Bill Sears. Now I’m as big a proponent of breastfeeding as the next guy (…), so the reason I include the article here has nothing to do with developmental health or…

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The Calipari Complex: When Perfection Is Perfectable

The Calipari Complex: When Perfection Is Perfectable

I am a Kentucky fan, and because I am a Kentucky fan, I know about expectations. It’s not so much that victory last night–Kentucky’s eighth national championship–wasn’t a thrill. It’s not that everyone in Lexington clicked off their television sets and sighed a sigh of a job well done, a season well-lived, and with a glass of bourbon waddled off to bed. No, there were riot squads, and college kids dancing in the street, and cars and couches burning, and people on top of traffic signals, firetrucks stolen. It was joyous and raucous and overwhelming mayhem. It’s just that it’s…

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