Sportuality2019-07-26T16:41:35+00:00

Sportuality

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One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

When a team like the Patriots—preseason Super Bowl favorites that started 8-0 and handily won the AFC East—loses the way they did last week against the Tennessee Titans, the typical fan reaction is sadness, anger and disgust.

That’s not what happened in Foxborough this past Sunday night. A pick six might have ended Tom Brady’s legendary New England career, but the attitude in the locker room, in the crowd, and for Patriots fans across the country was something much different–acceptance, appreciation and deep gratitude. For a franchise that has had its share of miracles, this felt like one final piece of magic.

Dynasties don’t typically end in glory, and it’s even rarer when they end with a modicum of dignity. Consider the Golden State Warriors, whose final year included Kevin Durant and Draymond Green getting in shouting matches on the bench. Shaq and Kobe took as many shots at each other as they did on the court. Patrick Roy, the great Montreal Canadiens goalie, walked off the ice in the middle of a 1996 game after a disagreement with his coach and never played a game for the Habs again.

There were rumors of tension in New England, but they never amounted to anything more than a whisper. The crowd showered Brady with chants all game long on Sunday. Robert Kraft heaped praise on his quarterback, and then remarked, “How lucky we’ve been.” Brady, at his locker after it was all said and done, repeated to reporters, […]

Why the Washington Nationals Won the World Series

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THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A GAME SEVEN

Faith. That’s how the Nationals won the World Series earlier this week. It’s what they held onto when they were 19-31 nearly two months into this season. It’s what they believed in when they were down two runs late in the do-or-die Wild Card game. It’s what they remembered when the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS came down to extra innings. And it’s how they won on the road against the Astros. And then again. And again. And again.

We talked last week about the Baseball Gods, and in response, our co-founder Gotham Chopra said that the Nationals have that team of destiny feel to them. That’s code for saying that Washington had the Baseball Gods on their side. Ryan Zimmerman explained the victory in simpler terms. “We were just ourselves,” he said.

In the end, it was some combination of the two. The Baseball Gods have been breathing life into the Nationals since late May, and the Nationals never questioned it. They just let it happen. They believed. Every player did.

There’s Ryan Zimmerman, who’s been with the team since as long as it’s existed, back when they played at RFK Stadium, when they lost 100 games in a season.

There’s Stephen Strasburg, who was compared to Walter Johnson as a rookie, then told he was too fragile to be a true ace, and then pitched the most dazzling game of the […]

The Baseball Gods Are Here to Have Fun

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THE BASEBALL GODS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

There’s an old phrase that people throw around when something inexplicable happens on a baseball diamond. There are unbelievable turns of events in any sport, but they seem to happen in baseball the most. When they do—when there’s a home run that floats out of the park seemingly because of a cosmic gust of wind, or when there’s a grounder that worms its way around infielders and into the outfield for a late-inning RBI—we throw up our hands and declare that the only explanation is that the Baseball Gods are out there having a little fun. The Red Sox breaking the Curse of the Bambino by completing an epic comeback against the Bambino’s Yankees? Baseball Gods. The Cubs finally winning a World Series when their drought reached 108 years? Baseball Gods. When you realize that there are 108 stitches on a baseball? Well, you get the idea.

The Baseball Gods are having a field day right now. If you’ve watched these playoffs or this World Series, you know what we’re talking about. It was there in the ALCS, when the Astros, having led all game, gave up the lead in the 9th inning. With Houston up to bat, second baseman José Altuve—fan favorite and Astros lifer—stepped into the batter’s box against Aroldis Chapman, the filthiest pitcher of his generation. With two outs, Chapman left a slider hanging, something that never […]

Let the Marathon Record Stand

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JOY AROUND THE WORLD

Eliud Kipchoge grew up in eastern Kenya and every morning, he’d run to school. Wouldn’t it have been cool if  he had a stopwatch, a log of how quickly he could make the trip, trying to beat the bell? How old must he have been when he first broke the 10-minute mark? Did he even break a sweat?

Last Saturday, all of Kenya—with the rest of the world—watched Kipchoge run, and this time, there was a stopwatch. We kept looking back and forth, back and forth, seeing if he would actually make it. In a special event in Vienna, Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner in the world, was trying to run 26.2 miles in under two hours. One hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds after he started off, he crossed the finish line. In his hometown of Eldoret, crowds had gathered to watch a broadcast of the feat. It looked like they were watching the World Cup. When he finished, there was elation.

It was a landmark achievement, one that Kipchoge and race organizers compared to man walking on the Moon. The Atlantic wrote of the limitations of that comparison, “Running’s original moon landing, the sub-four-minute mile, took place back in 1954. Yesterday, Kipchoge launched running to Mars.”

Almost immediately after the cheers faded, though, skeptics started crowing. The run would not count as a world record, because it wasn’t an official marathon. Kipchoge ran on […]

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