Tag: Sports

2019, Basketball, Sports

The Soul of Basketball (2018, Ian Thomsen)

This book is basically meant for me as the Mavericks’ championship was the greatest thing to happen in my adult sports fan life prior to the Raptors winning recently. So I should love this. But I don’t quite. I’m going to try to articulate why.

2018, 2019, Basketball, Personal, Sports

Your NBA Champion 2018-19 Toronto Raptors

I attended a Raptors game at Sky Dome. But I’m not one of those fans who can say that I have been a fan of the Raptors the entire time. The seats we had at the Dome were bad enough my only memory is not being able to see the ball well and not understanding …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City (2018, Sam Anderson)

I didn’t know I wanted to read a book about Oklahoma City. (I bet you don’t think you need to read a book about Oklahoma City.) I’ve never been there. All I knew about it was that there is a basketball team there (stolen from Seattle), that the Flaming Lips are from there, that there …

2018, Movies

Free Solo (2018, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)

I thought I wanted to see this movie in theatres. Watching it on the small screen, I think I’m okay with not seeing it in theatres. I’m not sure I would have been able to watch some of it in theatres because I have a fear of heights. SPOILERS if you don’t know anything at …

2018, Movies

Screwball (2018, Billy Corben)

If I could describe this documentary about Biogenesis and Alex Rodriguez in one word, it would be “glib.” This is one of the glibbest documentaries I’ve ever seen. On the one hand, that makes for a pretty funny movie. On the other hand, the style is very over the top and the filmmakers appear to …

2013, Books, Non-Fiction

The Boys in the Boat (2013) by Daniel Jams Brown

All I know of the 1936 Olympics is Olympia and Jesse Owens. So this story, the story the American Gold medal-winning 8 man crew, their coxswain, their coach and their boat builder (yes, even him) was completely new to me. I don’t even remember the rowing scenes in Olympia very well. This is an exciting …

Hockey, Sports

Memorial May Madness

My fellow Canadians regularly ask me why I watch March Madness. Usually, I tell them, “It’s the greatest sports tournament in the world” and then I spend a while qualifying that by telling them what I think of the NCAA. (I regret to say, by watching this year’s March Madness on cable, I am indirectly …

2018, Personal, Sports, Travel

Riley Goes to Panorama Mountain Resort, February 3-February 9, 2018

For the past week, I was in the Kootenays, skiing at Panorama Mountain Resort, a place I have wanted to ski at for a very, very long time. (That is true of many ski resorts in North America, however.) I cannot say enough positive things about the resort and I would strongly encourage you to …

2016, Basketball, Books, Non-Fiction, Sports

Boys Among Men (2016) by Jonathan Abrams

This is a pretty excellent narrative history of the one and only generation of NBA stars to come directly from high school. Though I have one minor quibble, I got over it and, for the most part, it’s probably the definitive book about this topic.

2011, Baseball, Books, Fiction, Sports

The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach

This is an excellent debut novel, featuring a richly constructed world and (mostly) believable characters. It works as both a baseball novel and a college novel. It has been a long time since I cared about characters this much.

2016, Hockey, Personal, Sports

Am I Still a Leafs Fan?

As I find myself wrapped up in the success of The Blue Jays so far this playoff, and eagerly awaiting the NBA season, I wonder to myself if I still care about the Maple Leafs, this at a time when there is more legitimate optimism around the team than perhaps there ever has been before …

2016, Basketball, Sports

Initial Reactions to the Raptos’ 2016 Draft

I saw a CBC story that claimed Raptors fans (on twitter) were not happy with Toronto’s #9 pick. Some twitter users were unfamiliar with Poeltl because they apparently do not follow college basketball or NBA mock drafts or…maybe they aren’t even actually Raptors fans (but just play them on twitter)?

Hall of Fame, Hockey, Sports

The Annual Hockey Hall of Fame Complaint for 2015

First of all, congratulations to the deserving inductees. The problem is, as always, that the Hall of Fame inducted players who both deserve to be in it, and players who do not (or, in this case, not yet). So congratulations to Nicklas Lidstrom, a player who, I have argued elsewhere, might be the 2nd best …

Hockey, Sports

The Phil Kessel Trade

I never believed the Leafs would get the return for Kessel that the Bruins got for him from the Maple Leafs. But I hoped it would be something. When the Leafs traded for Kessel, I was upset. I was upset for the following reasons. On the side of what the Leafs gave up: It was …

1989, Books, Non-Fiction

Summer of 49 (1989) by David Halberstam

I am not a Yankees fan or a Sox fan but I am a fan of The Breaks of the Game, probably the best book I have ever read about sports. Summer of 49  is not on that level, but, for someone like me who was not alive during the summer of 1949, and who was …

1994, TV

Baseball (1994, 2010 Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

Burns and co.’s constant mythologizing is a lot more appropriate here than it was in The Civil War, and as such I feel like this effort is the more successful one, despite the greater historical importance of the first series. And to their credit, they only mythologize about certain things: for examples, the game’s ludicrous …

1982, Books, Non-Fiction

The Umpire Strikes Back by Ron Luciano & David Fisher

The Umpire Strikes Back is entertaining and illuminating but certainly only on one level: Luciano excels at that traditional, yuk-yuk self-deprecating American humour of the pre-Lenny Bruce era that offends absolutely no one. He has numerous anecdotes which are mildly amusing and certainly informative about particular players’ idiosyncrasies as well. But Luciano never really makes …

2012, Basketball, Sports

Fuck you, NCAA

I really mean it: fuck you. I am a pretty big March Madness fan. I’m not exactly the biggest, but I’m certainly dedicated. And though I don’t exactly directly help your revenue stream, I have consistently watched the licensed Canadian TV providers of the tournament for close to a decade, so I have certainly helped …

1938, Movies

Olympia (1938 Leni Riefenstahl)

Yes, this is a propaganda film made by one of the worst regimes in 20th century history. But for me it’s real historical value is as a document of sports, particularly as the first film document of an Olympic games. As such, it is absolutely riveting (not knowing the fates of Canadian athletes, I was on the …

2011, Sports

Boston’s Golden Age: Enjoy it while it lasts

So Boston appears to be going through a golden age in sports. In the last ten years or so every Boston team in the major sports has one at least one title. I can’t say that I hate that fact, though I don’t like it. I hate the Red Sox (not as much as the …