Tag: Sports

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 …

2014, Movies, Sports

The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats its Young (2014, Annika Iltis, Timothy James Kane)

This is a very conventional documentary about one of the craziest races you’ll ever hear about. Not only is it insane (somewhere between 100 and 130 miles in 60 hours, over hills and through the woods) but is run in such a kooky way. Part of the appeal of this film is the sheer accomplishment …

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)? Frankly, if this is the …

2008, Movies

Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008, Chris Bell)

This is an entertaining and thought provoking documentary about steroids in particular, and performance-enhancing drugs in general, in the US. The filmmaker uses the often annoying framing device of how the filmmaker and his family is affected by the issue, but here it actually works as it turns out the family is a bit of …

2010, Movies, Sports

Senna (2010, Asif Kapadia)

This is a captivating and engrossing film about Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian Formula One driver who some believe was the greatest driver the sport has ever seen, but who died young, before he might have broken some records. The film does a good job of making us understand why Senna had appeal outside of his …

2013, Movies, Sports

The Crash Reel (2013, Lucy Walker)

If you have a child (a teenager) who doing or is interested in playing or participating in a sport that involves serious risk of head injury, you should make your child watch this movie. There are lots of moving and penetrating accounts out there of what life is like after a head injury however I …

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 …

2010, Football, Sports

Ti-Cats

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/265348–ticats-will-invest-in-new-stadium A little while ago, the Hamilton City Council stood up to their one and only major sports team. The Ti-Cats said they would leave. It was an obvious bluff but most of the citizens freaked out. They held save our Cats rallies. Being an Argos fan, I had a bit more objectivity. I thought …

2010, Sports

Sports People don’t often seem to get “stats”

Yes, they sort of understand them in the sense that they know what a good one is and what a bad one is, but they regularly mistake the concepts. Take, for example, +/-. Right now, CBC is telling us that Marleau / Thornton / Heatley are a collective -18 for the playoffs. This makes no …

2009, Hockey, Sports

Olympics

Despite all the roid problems, the Olympics are one of the few things I am not cynical about. I like that. I try to maintain that “faith,” if you will. I thoroughly enjoyed these Olympics, as I usually do, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the ridiculous feats. Personally, I think 18 medals is very respectable …

2009, Hockey, Sports

On the current lack of sourcing in the media.

I can’t understand why people don’t spend more time talking about Syl Apps. He has to be one of the greatest hockey players of all-time, right up there with Gordie Howe. The man played virtually as long, after all. He may not have as many points and especially as many goals, but he was a …