American Outlaws and old-school U.S. soccer collegiality

The controversy about the American Outlaws and the upcoming USA-Mexico game in USA-Mexicoville (also known as Columbus) has gone through three stages: 1. Multiple reports said Outlaws from Seattle had basically taken over planning crowd activities for the USA-Mexico game. Columbus fans, who take special pride in their quadrennial duties of welcoming Mexico to a stadium with a history of inglorious moments for the visitors, were miffed. Many other U.S. fans were miffed on their behalf. 2. The Outlaws, backed by U.S. Soccer, said it was all much ado about nothing. All incorrect. Internet rumor and hearsay. But before you … Continue reading American Outlaws and old-school U.S. soccer collegiality

Woly Award: Gwen Jorgensen, triathlon

Gwen Jorgensen didn’t take up triathlon until 2010. She took to it rather quickly, qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. She was unlucky there, suffering a flat tire on the bike stage. This year, she became the first U.S. woman to win a World Triathlon Series event in April. Then she did again. And again, over the weekend in Stockholm, where she blasted her way through the 10k running phase to win by 49 seconds. That’s three wins and the No. 1 overall ranking headed into the series finale. And she’ll take this week’s Woly Award, given to the best U.S. … Continue reading Woly Award: Gwen Jorgensen, triathlon

Testing a hypothesis on running

I think there’s a relationship between the amount of running someone does in high school (and earlier) and the amount of running one does as an adult.┬áThis is an obviously unscientific survey to test that hypothesis. Defining the question: If you ran for your school cross-country team (or track, 800 meters and up) or ran regularly for exercise, you DID run in high school and should answer this: [poll id=”6″] Otherwise, you did NOT run in high school and should answer this: [poll id=”7″] Continue reading Testing a hypothesis on running

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Amen

Sometimes, progress is measured in small steps for individuals.┬áThat was the case in the Spirit’s season finale, where Stephanie Ochs at last got on the scoresheet. I had seen Ochs twice in practice during the week, working various finishing scenarios with both feet. While the rest of the team stretched, Ochs made run after run onto Lloyd Yaxley’s crosses. Mark Parsons told me Ochs had been begging for this sort of extra practice for a while, but the schedule just wasn’t conducive to it. With a rare eight-day gap between games, the coaching staff was happy to oblige. But it’s … Continue reading Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue: Amen

Woly Award: LaShawn Merritt, track and field

LaShawn Merritt won the 2008 gold medal in the highly competitive 400 meters. He followed it up with a world title in 2009. Then the troubles began. He tested positive for a substance that he attributed to the drug ExtenZe. He returned with a second-place finish to Grenadan sensation Kirani James in 2011, then injured his hamstring in 2012 and didn’t make it to the Olympic final. So he’s done, right? Wrong. Merritt blew away the field at the World Championships in Moscow with a world-leading and personal best 43.74 seconds. Then he anchored the dominant U.S. men to victory … Continue reading Woly Award: LaShawn Merritt, track and field

The NASL and the periodic restatement of facts on promotion/relegation

How did a three-part Empire of Soccer interview with NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson start an epic Twitter beatdown? Well, it helped that in the first part, he talked about promotion/relegation, the concept that governs most soccer leagues (and other leagues) worldwide, including a lot of U.S. amateur leagues. (I still don’t know whether my indoor team was relegated last season.) Dan Loney responded with the blog post “Not a Sane League.” That brought out the usual mix of people with an interest in promotion/relegation — some well-intended dreamers who are curious to see if it could work here, plus the … Continue reading The NASL and the periodic restatement of facts on promotion/relegation

UFC: Your unofficial guide to survival as a reporter

Dana White can make things very difficult for those who cross him in any way. Rival promotions are left in the dust. Fighters are cut. And reporters, even entire news organizations, can be tossed into the cold. The funny thing is that I still like him on a personal level, and I respect what he and the Fertitta brothers did to build MMA from a sideshow to a main event. Had the UFC folded circa 2004 when the brothers were losing a ton of money, I doubt MMA would ever have risen to anything resembling the prominence it has today. … Continue reading UFC: Your unofficial guide to survival as a reporter