Almost all of the outrage about Uruguay's Luis Suarez apparently taking a bite out of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the 1-0 loss, which knocked the Italians out of the World Cup, has focused on what Suarez did.
Here's an opposing point of view: A former newspaper sports reporter in Worthington, Minn., Daniel Kerwin writes that he "was born in the sports-crazed land of Australia and endured the ups and downs of sports fandom while being raised on four different continents before most recently settling in Tokyo, Japan, where he teaches English." He is a graduate of Macalester College.
Here's what Kerwin posted on his Facebook page after the game:
The issue here isn't IF Suarez bit Chiellini during Uruguay's game vs. Italy, regardless if it was through malicious intent or not. I'm more interested in looking at this through an anthropologist's perspective of how people are reacting to it.
A world-class soccer player, in a sport that isn't completely lacking in physical contact, gets some teeth marks (not breaking the skin, no blood) in his shoulder late in a closely contested game. His reaction: Immediately fall to the floor and start complaining to anyone who will listen, proudly showing off to anyone who is within range "Look! He really bit me! It ACTUALLY happened! I have little bite marks in my shoulder!!!"
Whether related or not, his team immediately gives up a goal, which seals its elimination from the tournament.
This is what really gets me about professional athletes sometimes: The whole "Referee! Referee! Kiss my boo-boo and make it better! That bad, bad person over there caused me irreparable harm!" reaction, while the energy expended in this reaction proves that the player is actually perfectly fit and healthy, and sometimes is showing greater energy protesting than they have shown actually playing the sport itself during the game.
I'd MUCH rather see the player say "OK, so I got some bite marks - I'm a professional athlete playing in a close game, I'm gonna shake it off, go out there and do everything I can to win, then show off the bite marks after the game to prove that it didn't faze me... If the referee sees the incident and decides to do something, cool - my team just benefited. If not, let's go win this game by ACTUALLY playing the game."
Think of how revered athletes become when they overcome an injury and come up with a clutch play - I'd much rather try to be remembered for producing something like that than "Oh, he's the guy that got bitten and complained a lot about it."
I understand the tactical advantage of suckering the referee into giving your team as many free kicks and penalty kicks, and the other team as many red cards, as possible - but come on! Play the game with AT LEAST a bit of honor. Get up after you're taken down, and after that if you can't stay up, and keep going, THEN we'll say "OK, I guess you're hurt pretty bad, we accept your complaining."
If you immediately fall down and start rolling around without showing any signs of trying to suck it up, don't expect us to take you seriously.
As for the media - a la CNN's Rachel Nichols saying "he tried to EAT him!" OK, I get that the media has to overreact to things to draw an audience to their product, but that is a HUGE overreaction. I accept that Mike Tyson literally tearing off flesh from Evander Holyfield is a pretty egregious act, but in no way does this deserve to be treated on the same level. And I get that Suarez hasn't done himself any favors by tarnishing his reputation with past biting incidents, and if he gets suspended for this bite, he has no one to blame but himself.
But to every pundit treating this as a heinous crime and screaming for his head, get over it.
In sports, things happen - players get kicked in the face and get their noses broken (Clint Dempsey against Ghana), which is much more serious than a couple of superficial bite marks on someone's shoulder. I get that a kick to the face can be purely incidental, whereas biting is less likely to be incidental, but physical contact is physical contact. It happens. Play on.
Congratulations to the Eden Prairie boys’ lacrosse team on winning the state championship Tuesday afternoon with a 13-11 victory over Rosemount.
Its baseball team had a chance to make it two championships in one day for the school, but the Eagles succumbed to Mounds View pitching ace Sam Hentges and an 8-run sixth innning in a 9-0 loss at Target Field in the Class 3A title game.
Two first-place trophies in one day would have been fitting for the athletic powerhouse that began the school year winning its third consecutive state football championship, the first large-class school to pull off that feat.
Had not the weather intervened in recent days, perhaps Eden Prairie could have ended the year with another trio of firsts.
Its girls' lacrosse team saw its championship game shortened by lightning Saturday night, leaving Blake with an 11-7 victory. And if the baseball game had been played that night as scheduled, the Eagles' chances likely would have improved: Instead of having four days of rest, Hentges -- a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Indians -- would have been forced to pitch just two days after he threw a complete-game shutout.
Let’s face it: Eden Prairie wins at everything, right?
From 2008 through 2012 Eden Prairie won the Challenge Cup, a Minnesota State High School League year-longcompetition that awards points to schools based on their success in section and state tournaments in athletics and fine arts.
But before calling for Eden Prairie to either join the SEC or split into 12 smaller high schools, consider this: The school that won the Challenge Cup last year, and will win it again this year, is not Eden Prairie.
That would be Wayzata.
Here's a list of schools that won state titles in multiple sports in 2013-14:
Multi-sport team champions in 2013-14*
Wayzata: cross-country (boys and girls), swimming (boys and girls), boys’ tennis, girls’ golf, girls’ Nordic skiing, synchronized swimming
Edina: boys’ hockey, girls’ tennis, boys’ golf Minnetonka: girls’ soccer, girls’ Alpine skiing, girls’ track
Eastview: girls’ basketball, high kick dance, jazz dance
Eden Prairie: football, boys’ lacrosse
Blake: girls’ lacrosse, boys’ Alpine skiing
(Includes single-class or big-school tournaments. Nine other schools each won one championship.)
Here are the videos from ESPN and FOX Sports in which Kevin Love talks about his future:
Does Kevin Love want out of Minnesota?
Love on the New York Knicks:
On the criticism he's received for not making teammates better:
On Flip Saunders saying Love has no right to be frustrated:
Love on FOX Sports, where he says he has a great relationship with Saunders, and refers to the Timberwolves as "they." The comment is at about the 2-minute mark of the interview.
So Derek Jeter comes to bat Friday night against the Twins and FSNorth pays the 40-year-old shortstop fawning tribute with this graphic:
That screen shot made its way around Twitter, fueled by Jesse Lund of TwinkieTown, along others,
It caught the attention of the wonderful writer Joe Posnanski, who put up a post called "Greatest Thing Ever" on his web site before the end of the night.
It may well be one of the best smackdown to hyperbole ever. Ever. Posnanski explains what he calls "Jeteration" -- and it's an exercise that can be applied to descriptions of greatness about others who are among the elite at what they've done in their careers.
The money paragraph: Perfection in Jeteration is when you can so perfectly present over-the-top praise for the Derek Jeter that you would use the exact same graphic or story or take as satire. This is not as easy as it sounds. Many have tried, many have failed. But this is as close to perfection as we mere human beings can achieve. If Saturday Night Live was to do a skit about how absurd people are when it comes to their Derek Jeter love, this would be EXACTLY the graphic they would use, word-for-word.
This is not about the tendency to call two scoreless innings of middle relief a great outing or turning a nice running catch into a great one.
Posnanski explains: "So any fair mocking of the Jeteration Phenomenon — where people long to give Jeter Nobel Prizes for things like running out ground balls — must begin with his excellence in mind or the joke loses its power. If you say: Ah, Jeter’s not that good a player, it doesn’t work. (He) has been a superb player. If you say: Ah, Jeter’s not a leader, the joke loses its force. He IS a leader. He’s just not the world’s 11th greatest leader. THAT’s where the joke gains its strength — that space between, 'Yeah, Jeter does a good job leading his baseball teammates,” and “As a leader he ranks just behind the Dalai Lama and a little bit ahead of Gabby Giffords.' :"
And there's more. Posnanski goes on to present his version of a graphic about Jeter in 2014, the 40-year-old shortstop in his farewell year with the Yankees who isn't the player that he used to be.
And there's much more than that, but we're not going any deeper because it would be unfair to give away more of what may well be the 11th best blog post ever written. And we're not really sure about finding the 10 that are better.
This is truly fine stuff for when you have five minutes.
Here's how it started, according to the Boston Globe:
At around 9 p.m. on Friday, Bill Fairweather received a surprising phone call from one of his employees at The Greatest Bar, of which he is co-owner.
A few minutes later, Fairweather raced from his home on the North Shore to the establishment located across the street from TD Garden, home of the Celtics.
Apparently, Kevin Love had just walked in, unannounced.
The Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward had arrived in Boston for the weekend to check out the city, a sightseeing visit that sent Celtics fans into a frenzy about the possibility that Love will join the team — perhaps this summer.
So began Boston's weekend of tracking Love, which Celtics fans got very excited about and Timberwolves president Flip Saunders did his best to downplay.
Fairweather, who used to work for ESPN and was a radio talk-show host, played the role of Chamber of Commerce for Love's visit. At one point in their Friday night conversation, according to the Globe's Baxter Holmes, Fairweather said he told Love: "You could be a rock star here."
According to Holmes' story, Love told Fairweather he thinks that Boston great Larry Bird's No. 33 should be retired by every NBA team and that "he planned on talking to fellow UCLA alumnus Bill Walton about what it was like playing for the Celtics."
And so it went. There were photos with fans that ended up on Twitter and a trip to Fenway Park, where he sat in a club area and at one point met up with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was watching the game from seats on top of the Green Monster scoreboard in left field.
Here's what their meeting looked like:
You can read Holmes' entire story, including the tale of a Boston comedian who staged an event where he planned to stay in Fairweather's bar until the Celtics had a deal for Love, here.
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