Tag Archives: sports

2022 is done. Thoughts and rambling on the last 365 days (i.e. the December 2022 edition)

Another year over. A semi-pandemic year, in a sense. Covid is still with us, but we did not (so far) get slammed with a bad new variant like we did last year with Omicron. Instead the pandemic is lesser than it was, but greater than the flu in terms of the sickness and death it brings. We still get vaccinated, though less than before. Schools are attended (though  affected),  restaurants are dined in, parties and special events are attended.

You could say things look….normal. But then you can look towards China: they seem to be struggling to deal with COVID lately. Who knows what 2023 will bring? More normal or more like China?

But that’s for 2023. As for last year and what was trending, we can look to  Google which has all its data. One place that was trending alot in 2022: China. China is struggling with both Covid and Xi’s approach to it, as this shows. As for the Chinese leader himself, it was a bad year for Xi, as well as Putin and other global bad guys, sez VOX. And it’s not just the Chinese residents that are having to deal with Xi and his government: Canada has been investigating chinese police stations in Canada. More on that here. I expect China will also trend in 2023. Let’s hope for better reasons.

Other trending events in 2022? Crypto. There was lots of talk about it and people like Sam Bankman-Fried after the collapse of his crypto currency exchange and subsequent arrest. We had stories like this: How I turned $15 000 into $1.2m during the pandemic and then lost it all. Tragic. The overall collapse of the industry has lead to things like bans on crypto mining. That’s good. It has lead to questions around the fundamentals, like: Blockchains What Are They Good For? Last, to keep track of all the shenanigans, I recommend this site: Web3 is Going Just Great. I expect crypto to remain a shambles next year. Time and money will tell.

Elon Musk also managed to trend quite often due to his take over of Twitter and more. He still has fans, but many are disillusioned. After all, his campaign to win back Twitter Advertisers isn’t going well. He was outright booed on stage with Dave Chapelle. (No doubt being a jerk contributed to this.) Tesla stock is tanking. Even his  Starlink is losing money. What a year of failure. I can’t see his 2023 improving either. Hard to believe he was Time’s Man of the Year in 2021!

Because of Musk, people are looking to join other networks, like Mastodon. (BTW, here’s some help on How to Make a Mastodon Account and Join the Fediverse). Some are looking to old networks, like this: the case for returning to tumblr. Some are looking at new ways to socialize online, like this.

Musk was not alone in trending this year due to being a bad guy. Let’s not forget that Kanye West trended as well due to his freakish behavior and antisemitism.

AI was another big trend this year, with things like ChatGPT and stable diffusion (here’s how you can set it up on AWS). We also had stories like this: Madison Square Garden Uses Facial Recognition to Ban Its Owner’s Enemies. Not good. What’s next for AI?  This takes a look. I think we may get an AI winter, but we have 12 months to see if that holds true.

For what it’s worth, Newsletters like Matt Yglesias’s are still going strong, though levelling off I think.

Trends and development aside, here’s some other topics I found interesting and worth being up to close the year:

Assisted death was a grim topic in 2022 in Canada. I remain glued to stories like this: We’re all implicated in Michael Fraser;s decision to die, and  this and this. It all seems like a failure, although this argues that assisted dying is working.

Here’s two good pieces on homelessness Did Billions in Spending Make a Dent in Homelessness? And ‘It’s a sin that we all had to leave’: Moving out of Meagher Park.

Need some advice for the new year? Try this: How Much and Where Are You Really Supposed to Tip? Consider this a good approach to  reading. Here’s a good approach to  slowing down, while here’s a good discussion on  Boundaries. Things to avoid:  the biggest wastes of time we regret when we get older.

Things I found interesting in sports this year:

Things I found interesting in general this year:

Finally, here’s some good advice to close out the year: Don’t Treat Your Life as a Project.

Thanks for reading this and anything else you read on this blog in 2022. I appreciate it. I managed to blog about roughly 3000 things on the internet this year. I hope you found some of them useful.

Happy New Year!

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The decline of youth hockey in Canada

The other day I wrote of the decline of start up tech. Today, I’m writing about the decline of youth hockey in Canada, as written about here: In Canada, the Cost of Youth Hockey Benches the Next Generation – The New York Times.

The chief reason for the decline is due to costs. If anything, the article understates the cost. The other big reason is organized hockey.  There’s much money to be made from parents wanting the best for their sons and daughters who want to play hockey: you can wring thousands of dollars from them. And wring they do. The clubs, the coaches, you name it, there is someone making a buck from hockey teams. Hockey plays are streamed from an early age, and the faster you can stream kids onto certain “elite” teams, the more you can start charging more for the privilege of them being there.

Not that the parents are pure victims. Lots of parents want their kids to make the big leagues or college teams and those parents press hard for their kid to be on the more expensive teams. It all adds up. If anything, it adds up to something more and more families can’t afford. Read the piece linked to above and you’ll get a better grasp of it.

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The World’s Fastest Senior


This is a remarkable story of literally The World’s Fastest (Old) Man, via The New York Times.

It’s almost inconceivable someone in their 70s can be that fast, let alone setting records. Well worth reading for inspiration.

(Photo link: CreditKristian Thacker for The New York Times)

Sprawlball: how the 3s are messing up the NBA and how to fix it

Two good pieces on how three point shots are affecting the NBA. Opinions differ, but these pieces seem to think that the 3s are not improving the game:

  1. How Mapping Shots In The NBA Changed It Forever | FiveThirtyEight
  2. The NBA is obsessed with 3s, so let’s finally fix the thing

My feeling is pushing out the 3 point line is likely the best thing to do to add more variety to the game.  But read them yourself and decide.

Two thoughts on the Pro Hijab for Muslim female athletes that Nike is launching

First thought: it seems like Nike has done their homework on this. They consulted athletes such as Olympic weightlifting athlete Amna Al Haddad in their development of the product and they:

…worked with Amna and a variety of other athletes to see what they needed and wanted in a performance hijab. What we heard was that women were looking for a lightweight and breathable solution that would stay in place without concern of shifting.

Makes sense: these are the qualities that athletes look for in high performance garments in a variety of sports. That said, gaining the feedback from professional athletes that would actually wear it counts for much more than common sense.

Second thought: I hope professional female athletes that train and compete train in their hijab go on to adopt this product, whether it comes from Nike or other makers of sports apparel. More importantly, I hope that this further results in girls and women adopting such a product and — more importantly — participating more in sports and gaining all that can be gained as a result of such participation (I think those gains are considerable.)

Kudos to Nike on this. And kudos to all the women athletes who train and compete, at all levels.

For more on this, see: Nike Launches the Pro Hijab for Muslim Female Athletes | HYPEBAE

In praise of the 5K and other (non-marathon) races

The marathon is great race, and if you are aiming to run your first in the new year, it is a great thing to accomplish.

That said, you can also get a great sense of accomplishment out of running races less than 42.2 kilometers. To see what I mean, I highly recommend these two articles that praise the 5K:

  1. The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race | FiveThirtyEight
  2. 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome | Runner’s World

After reading them, I had a much greater appreciation of that race. (I think the same argument could be made for the 10K.)

As for me, I am a fan of the half-marathon. The only thing I don’t like about it is the name: it implies you haven’t done something great, when you have. Perhaps it needs to get rebranded as a 20K: not half a marathon, but twice a 10K!

Regardless of the distance you run, and how often you run it, enjoy your athleticism and take pride in it.

(Chart is a link to the image from the FiveThirtyEight article)

Tug of War, 56 pound weight throw, and other discontinued sports of the Olympics

Watching athletics events like javelin and discus, you might think that the sports for the Olympics have been constant since the beginning of the modern games. But as this shows, Unusual and Discontinued Olympic Sports, there are many sports and events that have been dropped since the revival of the modern day Olympics. In particular there was a lot of tinkering in the early years. Not that that is stopping: many sports have been added in the last few decades, and some (e.g. softball) have been dropped.

It would be sad to see your sport dropped from the Olympics, though it would be something to be the last Olympic record holder for it.

Enjoy this year’s Olympics in Rio.

The Globe and Mail on the plan to defeat Usain Bolt is sports writing at its best

Usain Bolt and Andre De Grasse running in the Olympics

Here’s the story behind the photo, above.  Andre De Grasse, the up and coming runner from Canada, was going against the legend from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, in the 200 meter race at the Olympics. Rather than just concede to Bolt, De Grasse and team came up with a plan to beat him. It’s was a smart plan, and the story of it is equally good. Read it here: De Grasse’s plan was to beat Bolt by making him run faster. It almost worked. Here’s why – The Globe and Mail

While it didn’t work, it was likely the best way to beat Bolt (assuming he was beatable).  And the confidence to think he could beat the Jamaican legend is one of the reasons we’ll be reading about the success of Andre De Grasse for some time to come.

What is Rule 40  and how did athlete Emma Coburn get around it

This piece, During Rule 40 Blackout, Emma Coburn Showcases New Balance on Olympic Stage, FloTrack, has a good run down of Rule 40 and how Emma Coburn cleverly circumvented it. In short, Rule 40 prevents all but official brands and whom they sponsor from promoting them during an blackout period of time surrounding the time of the Olympics. For example, US athletes using Nike can promote the Nike brand, but US athletes using other brands like New Balance cannot.

How did Coburn circumvent this? According to that article,

After crossing the finish line in third behind Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Jepkemoi, respectively, Coburn immediately removed her New Balance spikes and draped them over her shoulder before carrying the American flag. As a result of the bold move, thousands of photos snapped during her victory lap included her sponsor, New Balance, which otherwise would not have been featured. It’s more than likely that Coburn, who is vocal about sponsorship rights, did this intentionally to spotlight New Balance in the middle of the Rule 40 “blackout period” and circumvent Nike’s exclusive sponsorship rights with USATF.

One thing to note is that there are different rules for different athletic federations, it seems. The US swim team has more latitude than the track and field athletes.

As always, this is about money. Whatever else the Olympics are about — and obviously they are about many good things — money is one of the big aspects of these games.

It’s the weekend. You need to be inspired to exercise. Here you go

I find this ad powerful.  And very inspiring. It’s from the past London Paralympics and if you need a jolt of motivation to help you get going on your workout, check it out:

It’s Hump Day. You’ve got that “Fail” feeling. Watch this.

It’s 2 and a half minutes. What? You don’t have time? You have time to get a coffee. You have time to check your phone. You have time to read your inbox again. So you have time to watch this. Don’t play basketball? It doesn’t matter. Check it out.

Work harder. Think harder. Try harder. Fail harder. Be better.

Source: Fail Harder | Basketball Motivation – YouTube

If you think being vegan will limit you in your attemps to build muscle and compete in sports…

Then you need read this article. If that doesn’t convince you, then head on over to this site to see just how great you can get on a vegan diet.

If anything, being vegan may help you, depending on your current diet and other factors that may be limiting your ability to improve.

Is a Canadian team going to win the Stanley Cup in 2014?

Based on this logic, Why Can’t Canada Win the Stanley Cup? – NYTimes.com (and Nate Silver, 2013), the answer is No. Not only is the argument convincing, it is depressing if you are a Canadian, since as the post also shows, Canadians are avid hockey fans.

Anyone who loves hockey, the NHL or the Stanley Cup playoffs will enjoy this piece of writing.

 

On goaltending, Five Thirty Eight and the genius of Patrick Roy

This is remarkable:

In this FiveThirtyEight | Why Gretzky Had It Easy, Neil Paine tries and I think succeeds in explaining why the save percentage has gone up year after year. The reason is: Patrick Roy. I have been watching young goalies since my son started playing hockey, and I am amazed at how different they play to when I played in the era of Dryden. Back then, the butterfly was somewhat controversial still, and goalies who played that way and were beat up high were criticized for that style. Not only that, but we were trained to get back up again fast. Now, goalies are going down and staying down. Where once we tried to stop low shots with the stick or the blade (both relatively small), now goalies have both pads (relatively big) on the ice most of the time. Roy brought that on, or is credited with it, and now all the young goalies (and older ones) play that way.

Paine is right to credit the gear too, for it is alot better.  The chest and arm protectors are much better than the old ones, and even the top of the knees and the neck are protected now (not so when I was younger). It makes it a bit easier for the goalie to use more of his or her body to stop the shot. I even think the pads make it much easier to slide around than the old pads ever could. But gear alone isn’t the reason: it is the new style and the training to do it that makes a difference.

I disagree with the title: Gretzky had it easy. Watch the video that Paine shows. Watch how patient Gretzky is with the puck, and how he find the opening, no matter how small. I think he would still be doing the same thing with today’s goaltenders. Other than that, a great piece.