Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Tar Heels: Free subs!

So I went to an NWSL preseason game and a college game broke out! A sizable portion of the Maryland Soccerplex crowd wore Carolina blue and broke into a “TAR! … HEELS! …” chant, despite the efforts of Washington uber-fan Stewart Small to interject “SPIRIT!!” The teams played with college substitution rules. For a while, North Carolina’s players outhustled their opponents to every ball and dominated play. Then Tiffany McCarty broke down the left flank and centered for Carolina killer Caroline Miller, who lashed home the rebound of her own shot, and the professionals restored order against the mighty college … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Tar Heels: Free subs!

Pack mentality hurting rugby

I have to admit I’ve always been frustrated with the flow of rugby. Not the offshoot of “rugby league” is any better — come on, folks, just put on pads and play gridiron football if you’re going to run things that way — but traditional rugby union just stops and starts far too often. It’s not just me. The Economist sees the gamesmanship in scrums in particular as a thorny problem with no easy solution. In the infamously limp match between Scotland and Wales, only three of the 13 scrums awarded were properly contested. Whole minutes at a time ticked by with … Continue reading Pack mentality hurting rugby

No Monday Myriad this week

Check the Twitter feed to get up to speed on world championships in speedskating and women’s curling. Maybe X Games Tignes as well. Then here are a couple of things you should be / could be following this week: – Soccer: U.S. men at Mexico, 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, ESPN. No pressure. – Chess: Candidates’ Tournament. Winner plays Vishy Anand for the world championship this fall. Is it Magnus Carlsen’s time already? Standings/webcasts/etc. And keep an eye out for NWSL preseason news. Continue reading No Monday Myriad this week

Olympic boxing: Pro rules

Boxing safety is more art than science. Consider this: “There’s no evidence protective gear shows a reduction in incidence of concussion,” Butler said. “In 1982, when the American Medical Association moved to ban boxing, everybody panicked and put headgear on the boxers, but nobody ever looked to see what the headgear did.” AIBA’s executive committee unanimously voted to add head guards to amateur competition in April 1984, and they stayed in place through eight straight Olympics. But the headgear has long been criticized for diffusing the impact of a blow and allowing fighters to continue sustaining more head shots for … Continue reading Olympic boxing: Pro rules

Single-Digit Soccer: Who cares about the stakes?

Earlier this month, I did an interview with CBC radio about Ontario’s proposal to get rid of official scores and standings for soccer players under age 12. I made a passing reference to my over-30 coed indoor team and our overly competitive games with nothing at stake but a T-shirt for a division champion. The CBC wasn’t there to capture it, but a couple of days later, we had a perfect illustration of the point. The problems started before the game. I had never seen a roster eligibility challenge in an over-30 coed rec league before, but lo and behold, … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Who cares about the stakes?

Washington Spirit preseason roster

At last, everyone who has been selected at some point by the Washington Spirit has been at a session at the Maryland Soccerplex this month. (Well, except for Natasha Kai, Jordan Angeli, Alina Garciamendez and Teresa Worbis, all of whom are in various states of injury rehab, school or maybe both.) At today’s media day, we were handed an actual preseason roster with numbers and everything. The list: #1 Ashlyn Harris – USWNT goalkeeper arrived in training today but will soon head back over to Germany, where she had been playing pro ball, for national team games. #2 Colleen Williams – Strong U.S. U23 … Continue reading Washington Spirit preseason roster