Sports

Inside The High-Stakes, Zero-Sum Game Of Youth Club Sports

“Someone will turn on you eventually. It’s a very toxic environment.” Many children who dream of playing their favourite sports professionally are finding themselves burnt out due to the toxic environment that permeates the club sports industry. Although children are placed on teams, the zero-sum game of club sports makes teammates feel more like potential rivals. There are limited scholarships to be divided among a growing number of players, so backstabbing and toxic rivalries inevitably arise, especially when kids get older. Read full article here

Football Is Becoming More Predictable

In the major European football leagues, matches are becoming more predictable due to the larger budget gaps among the competing teams. After analysing data from the past 26 years, the researchers observed that teams with bigger budgets had begun to dominate their home leagues. It’s likely because these teams can afford better players (who often have high salaries), which can determine the outcome of a match before it even starts, especially if the budget imbalance is quite noticeable. Read full article here

The Pigeon Puzzle: How Do They Figure Out Their Impossibly Long Routes Home?

Lady Hearst, Nick Oud’s pigeon, finished a massive 800-kilometre, 14-hour race in 2015; what makes this astonishing is that, whilst migratory birds use flight paths to travel, racing pigeons like Lady Hearst don’t have that luxury. It is still shrouded in mystery how these animals, when in a “completely foreign environment,” navigate home. What this article does uncover, however, is what their owners will do to win: “incidents of doping, mass deaths, and illegal gambling have detracted from what should be an exhibition of an animal’s incredible skill.” Read full article here

Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports?

Pain may be one of the driving factors for the prevalence of ‘rich people’ in endurance sports. Research suggests that the unpleasantness involved in these sports provides a temporary relief from the “burdens of self-awareness”, and that the pain is seen as an achievement in discipline. Either way, this pursuit of pain has resulted in a condition reserved for the well-off: “white-collar rhabdomyolysis”, or kidney damage caused by extreme exercise. Read full article here

Ashes to Ashes: How a Sporting Defeat Led to Major Social Change

England’s shocking cricket defeat at the hands of Australia in 1882 may have sowed the seeds for the legalisation of cremation within Great Britain. It was the first time that they had been beaten on their home turf, and a mock obituary mourning the death of English cricket followed soon after, joking that English Cricket was to be cremated. The author, Reginald Shirley Brooks, likely did this on purpose; by mentioning cremation (at the time a touchy subject), he had boosted its publicity, helping cremation advocates win over public opinion. Read full article here

The Cowboy and the King

Cecil Smith, despite his polo prowess, had difficulty breaking into the elite sport. He was prevented from playing in Meadowbrook, the home of polo, by virtue of being a Texan cowboy. It was Tommy Hitchcock, the king of polo himself, who silently advocated for his inclusion; having seen Cecil play, he was itching to play against him to see if a worthy rival had finally emerged. And Cecil didn’t disappoint, masterfully beating Hitchcock and his team during their first match together.
Read full article here

Cheating Controversy Results In Most-Watched Chess Stream In History

In March 2021, a friendly chess match between IM (International Master) Irene Sukandar and amateur player Dadang Subur became the most-watched chess stream in history. This match took place after Subur was accused of cheating by IM Levy Rozman, whom Subur defeated in a 10-minute game on Chess.com. Following Rozman’s report, Chess.com subsequently banned Subur’s account. Yet, even after losing 3-0 to Sukandar and making fairly basic mistakes throughout their match, Subur maintained his innocence. Read full article here

Cheating Controversy Results In Most-Watched Chess Stream In History

In March 2021, a friendly chess match between IM (International Master) Irene Sukandar and amateur player Dadang Subur became the most-watched chess stream in history. This match took place after Subur was accused of cheating by IM Levy Rozman, whom Subur defeated in a 10-minute game on Chess.com. Following Rozman’s report, Chess.com subsequently banned Subur’s account. Yet, even after losing 3-0 to Sukandar and making fairly basic mistakes throughout their match, Subur maintained his innocence. Read full article here

The Plot to Kill the Olympics

After a fateful meeting with International Swimming Federation’s (FINA) chief executive, Katinka Hosszu realized that FINA (and by extension, the Olympics) didn’t care about sports or athletes, only money. When this detestable tainting of the sport was revealed, Hosszu and other world-class swimmers jumped ship to the International Swimming League, an organization attempting to reinvigorate the future of swimming through modernization, fair compensation, and annual competitions that could turn swimmers into superstars. Read full article here

The Physics of Karate

Have you ever wondered how karate masters could break blocks of concrete without shattering their own hands? It turns out that it is not strength or durability, but technique which matters the most: it’s all for naught if your hand doesn’t reach a speed of 10.6 meters per second. And why doesn’t your hand shatter? It turns out that human bone is five times stiffer than concrete and fifty times harder to break. Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

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