Don’t like sifting through sports websites? Sick of click-bait articles as your sole source of news? No access to the ink-stained wretches at fishwrap east-side? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know from this week in sports –
- The “Last Dance” wraps up – The ten-part docu-series which elevates Michael Jordan to angel-Michael from the Bible status is finally done, and it ruffled some feathers. Apparently MJ’s brand had the final say on what made the series, which perturbed legendary documentary filmaker Ken Burns. It also angered former teammates Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen, and a few others whom were painted in a negative light. Honestly, I don’t blame them. You’ve got a billionaire in Jordan who is worshiped in an unhealthy and arguably unwarranted fashion, has always received all of the credit for the Bull’s run, holds eternal bitter grudges, and, with much of the world trapped indoors and forced to binge-watch Netflix , decided to force-feed us with more “His Airness” doctrine. I never got to see any episodes, since it is available only to cable subscribers and our internet doesn’t allow you to stream a 30-second youtube much less a documentary (reading is a timeless source of entertainment, I’ve found out during this quarantine). I’m always fascinated by ‘inside’ looks at stuff like this,, and in fact a book I’ve read is Sam Smith’s inside look at the Bulls called “Jordan Rules,” so I have no doubt I would be intrigued, but I also am grounded. Hey, Jordan is a dude who puts on his Hanes every morning just like everyone else …. he just is gets 2 million bucks to do it.
- Just in case you missed “Last Dance,” Lance Armstrong has you covered with the newly minted “Lance,” documentary. Like, honestly, who do these people think they are?! MJ and Lance are definitely two of the largest sports icons of the century really, but at this point I think we are all worn out from ‘idolizing and pedestalizing’ these people. I have to think people are also worn down from watching T.V. and just want to be able to have constitutional freedoms back again… like being able to run alone, on a trail, secluded from people, in the woods… without wearing a mask.
- How close are we to sports? According to ESPN, it doesn’t look great, but we don’t need to give up all hope. Here’s what I remember from reading the article and listening to sports talk shows debate the issue: First of all, MLB is a mess. Apparently, owners and players had come to an agreement back in March for a Covid-impacted season. However, this deal was made under the assumption that fans, an obvious source of income for owners, would be involved in a return to play. Well, given that is currently unlikely, players and owners are at a standstill. Some players, like Blake Snell, have come out and said they will not play – apparently 7 million bucks to play half of a season in front of no fans poses a risk that is “not worth it.” While Snell complained behind the screen of his Twitch account, I don’t really care because baseball is boring and no one cares about it anyway. The NBA is what I hope finishes its season. We are at the peak powers of this current generation of stars. Lebron is the king, Kawhi is a beast, you’ve got all these young stars and dominant forces trying to figure out how to win in a league revolutionized by Steph Curry launching bombs from 40-feet. It’s great. And we were so close to play-off time, when things really heat up – especially actual defense. Unfortunately, the NBA is led by perhaps the most competent commissioner in all of the major sports, and he is sensibly looking to hold off on making a final call until he sees what happens in other sports as they make a return. Late June or July is possible. I think that is maybe ok as long as we go right to the play-offs with maybe even best of 5 in the first two series, just to quicken things up. However, I think it is also intriguing to possibly extend the play-offs as long as normal, and even if the Finals happens in October, simply push back the start of the following season to December, which is, by the way, when pretty much everyone else in the world (high school, college, YMCA rec leagues) are starting their seasons, too. We’ll wrap up this piece of commentating by saying the NHL has the wrong idea- they are looking at a 24 team play-off in the comeback….why not invite the BSU Beavers to be a part of the play-offs, too! The NFL is kind of like Trump – they’re going to do what they want and they’re probably going to come out of everything ‘winning’ and making a bunch of money, even if they get some serious backlash. I predict the NFL will start week 1 as scheduled. I also could see them leading the way in terms of games with no fans and/or games with fans.
- Everyone’s a winner – So, apparently the NCAA decided to give All-American status to everyone who made it to indoor track and field nationals. This was initially according to the Letsrun.com podcast, which has produced some fantastic content over the quarantine for running nerds, interviewing Jim Ryun, Madeline Manning, Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Alan Webb, and Dathan Ritzenhein, but later confirmed here. Indeed, 675 athletes from 161 different DIII institutions received All-American status! I’m on the side of Letsrun here, folks – this is not right. It is an absolutely crushing blow to these athletes to not be given the chance to compete – don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is the appropriate response. Why not give All-American status to the top 8 in each event according to qualifying times? Sure, it’s rough for #9, but it seems like the most certain and fair way to maintain the award’s meaning in a situation like this. I would have done that and then mailed a special participation/qualifier medal/plaque/certificate to all of these special, talented athletes who missed out on the event of a lifetime. The NCAA did grant an extra year of eligibility to athletes, but some schools have decided to not honor this for financial reasons. Schools doing that are being ridiculous – I understand if they decide to not honor a scholarship for those types of athletes coming back for an extra year, but I’ve heard of cases where student-athletes want to come back, are willing to pay full-tuition, and are still being denied admission. Absurd. This is maybe a bit bold, but I think the NCAA should consider giving automatic qualifying to athletes from 2020 nationals to 2021 nationals. Hear me out! 1) It would be an incentive for those athletes to pay money to the schools and return for another year. 2) It would honor their accomplishment of qualifying appropriately. And, 3) since not everyone would take them up on the offer, it would only partially increase the size of competitive fields. If I was an athlete, that is what I would want. I’d rather get an auto-bye to next year’s nationals than receive a meaningless All-American trophy I didn’t earn in the mail…hot takes…only here.
- US Ski team is named and it’s prejudice against old guys. The 2020-2021 A, B, and D teams were named for US Cross Country skiing, and left off the list was David Norris, who at 29 years old was arguably the most successful distance skier on the team last season. US Ski and Snowboard has tried to make the qualification standards more objective, which we like, but has based many standards off of valid research which suggests that as skiers age, the chances of them moving up in the World Cup decreases, which, we don’t like (it might be accurate data, but we don’t like the idea anyway). Norris is killing it, he might be a late bloomer, and he is rewarded with a tough as nails campaign by getting left off the crew? That stinks. We’ve reached out to have him on the podcast, and we hope he joins. Notably, the crew is filled with fresh faces, including Kendall Kramer and Ben Ogden, two friends of the podcast, the latter of whom will be on our next show.
- The Viking’s schedule was released. I know this is old news, but we wanted to make our predictions for the season. “It’s going to be Vikings and Falcons in the NFC title game and you’re on your own after that.” Actually, listen to the Sports Show tonight to hear what we think. We hope to have the man from Muskrat Lake to join us and give expert analysis.
- The greatest athlete you’ve never heard of – Madeline Manning. She is the only female Olympic gold medalist in the 800 in US history. Here is an excerpt from Letsrun.com to entice you to listen to their interview: “A few highlights: She set an indoor world record in the first 800 she ever ran which was by accident as a high school student Manning Mims said the first 800 she ran was by mistake. She was running at the Maple Leaf Games in Canada as a high schooler and was supposed to run the 400. The 400 got replaced with an 800. So she went out and ran 2:10.2 which was a indoor world record at the time. Two year later she was running 2:00 to win Olympic gold. (Click here [12:12] to listen).”
Manning’s story is also told in this article, which highlights her Christian faith as well.
I consider myself a total sports junkie, and I didn’t know this person at all. Furthermore the founders of the world’s largest running website didn’t either. It’s a cool interview and a great story – one more people should hear.
8. One final feel good story – a 9-year old homeless refugee turned Chess champion/prodigy.
Seder-Skier Sports Sunday Show – 9PM tonight. Drop us a note if you have a topic you want us to touch on – email@example.com – or comment on this post with your question/topic.