football

Winners and Losers from Italy Missing The World Cup

WINNERS: 

Sweden: Already among the 10 happiest countries in the world even before today’s result

Brazil: Watching today’s drama made me really glad my team has been assured of their place in the World Cup since literally March (more…)

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Winners And Losers From The U.S.A.’s Elimination From The World Cup

WINNERS: 

The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team: Given the current geopolitical climate, avoid an uncomfortable trip to Russia next summer

Panama: Will replace the U.S. at the World Cup, making the fact that the U.S. beat them 4-0 just this past Friday that much funnier

Landon Donovan: Was smart to retire when he did

Iceland, Portugal, Serbia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay: Just reminding y’all that these nations, whose combined population is about a sixth of the United States’, all managed to qualify for the World Cup by beating either the same or harder opposition than the U.S. faced

Donald J. Trump: Proven right, as the U.S. clearly demonstrated that it was tired of winning

LOSERS: 

The United States Soccer Federation: In fairness, could not possibly have foreseen that their desperation-fueled appointment of a crappy, uninspiring coach might come back to bite them

Serious assessments of the U.S.’s technical and tactical failures: Already being ignored in favor of criticizing the team’s lack of “personality”

Trinidad and Tobago: Should feel pretty bad about spoiling three hundred million people’s dreams of seeing their country stumble to a limp third-place finish in their World Cup group

Christian Pulisic: The only American player I’m going to miss seeing at the World Cup, which is damning in its own way

Bruce Arena: Ultimately, you have to chalk up this defeat to Arenal failure

The terrible pun I just subjected you to: I am so, so sorry

Chile: Also failed to qualify for the World Cup today, which is notable because they’re an actually good team

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Politics Has No Place in Football, Except for the Systematic, Government-Sponsored Deification of the Military

Every Sunday, America settles in front of the TV for a long day of NFL action. When I settle in front of the TV for a long Sunday watching NFL action, all I want to do is watch a game of football, as well as the massive ceremony beforehand highlighting and showcasing uniformed members of the United States armed services, and put all my everyday concerns about the economy and healthcare and what have you to one side for a few hours. Nowadays, though, even that seems like too much to ask. On Sunday, we saw NFL players across the country kneel during the regularly-scheduled, stadium-spanning pregame displays of our nation’s regalia we have come to unquestioningly accept, utterly disrespecting everything that these same displays purposefully reinforce as unconditionally deserving of our respect. I’m sick of politics interfering in the sport I love—at least when that politics doesn’t serve the relentless promotion of the United States military and its actions—and I know I’m not the only one. (more…)

Death by a Thousand Yards: A Dive Into Jon Bois’ “17776”

Over the last two weeks, I had the privilege of following along as one of my favorite writers unveiled, piece by piece, an extraordinary, ambitious experiment in fiction. Jon Bois’ 17776 is quite something: depicting a distant future crushingly similar to our present; conveyed in writing almost exclusively through conversations between characters, but these conversations supplemented by still images, GIFs, and video; and—here’s the clincher—published via, of all places, the popular sports site SB Nation. I will not offer any sort of synopsis for the piece here. You should read 17776 in its entirety anyway, and you should definitely do so before reading this essay. You won’t regret it: it’s a fantastic, absorbing, and remarkably poignant read.

What it isn’t, however, is all that weird—at least if you’re familiar with Jon Bois’ previous work. 17776 treads very similar thematic ground to several of Bois’ previous projects—which is a strange enough statement, considering that the man is technically a sportswriter, an employee of many years of a major sports website—and in his previous work, we can see the genesis of ideas and themes that eventually manifested themselves more fully in 17776. (more…)