A promo for "Sadako vs. Kayako," a forthcoming movie in which the monsters from J-horror classics The Ring and The Grudge fight one another, saw the two of them playing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball game, with The Ring's Sadako pitching a 96km/h ball to The Grudge's Kayako, who handed off running duties to Toshio. Read the rest
Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and cultural icon, died today at 74. He was the greatest. From the New York Times:
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Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)
Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition...
If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title.
The Library of America has just published String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, a slim volume of beautifully written, never collected essays by one of the great tragic figures of American literature, David Foster Wallace, a self-described "near-great junior tennis player" during his own boyhood. Read the rest
In a recent high-stakes basketball match between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warrior player Draymond Green kicked Thunder player Steven Adams directly in the penis and testicles. Read the rest
Weird Universe shares the tale of Larry Canaday, the 1970s football coach at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida, who would bite the heads off live frogs to psych up his team before games.
"Our kids love it," Canaday told the Associated Press in 1977. "They say 'Look how wild the coach is, let's get wild, too!'"
Canaday said he started the practice when trying to fire up one player. "I looked down and saw this little frog and just reached down and bit it. The boy's eyes got big as saucers and he became a real go-geter."
After several years of the ritual, school officials told him that the "frog-biting must cease."
"Last year we were winning," he said in the 1977 article. "But now we're losing, and certain intellects will use this as an excuse to pick on football." Read the rest
In 1970, journalist Hunter S. Thompson, 32, and artist Ralph Steadman were assigned to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's Monthly magazine. The resulting article, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" (PDF) was the birth of the good doctor's gonzo journalism and changed first-person reporting forever.
Starting with this awesome shot of Bettie Page pretend-ladyfighting with a sexy foe, here are some wonderful photographs of female wrestlers from the 19th century through the 20th, all the way up through the '80s and '90s.
Qatar, one of the worst places in the world to be a worker (even the flight attendants experience human rights abuses), was picked to host the 2022 football world cup by the famously corrupt FIFA organization, despite the physical danger to spectators (and athletes!) from the incredible temperatures. Read the rest
Under The Weather is a single-person pop-up shelter to sit inside that my big brother Rick came up with a while back. (He was sick of getting soaked at his kids' soccer games and was inspired by a portable toilet he saw by the field.) Under The Weather is designed for spectator sports, fishing, and other outdoor events where it's raining, windy, or cold, but you are either obligated to watch or having so much fun you don't want to leave. Rick used his personal savings to have a bunch of the tents made and they mostly just sat in a warehouse until last year when videos and photos of the thing somehow went viral. Now this curious contraption is selling like crazy. I'm proud of him!
In the last few months, Rick received a bunch of requests for a version of Under The Weather that a wheelchair or stroller could roll right into. (The standard Under The Weather tent has a lip on the bottom of the door that makes this difficult.) So Rick designed a new model, the Accessipod, in which the entire back of the tent opens up for easy access. Check out the videos below!
You can buy all the tent models directly from him here: Under the Weather
The original Rollerball (1975) is a fantastic dystopian science fiction film in which corporations run the world and crowds go crazy for an ultraviolent sport called, you guessed it, Rollerball. (Watch the movie trailer below.) Just before shooting wrapped up, the movie teams played the game for real (apparently with less blood) for an audience of thousands at Munich's Olympic Basketball Stadium. Sports Illustrated covered the chaos for its April 21, 1975 issue:
(Director Norman Jewison... was delighted that the game devised for his film turned out to be one that can be played in earnest. "It can be played, if it's played with very strict rules..." he said on the set. "But it is still a very violent game, though maybe no more so than football. There is a gladiatorial aspect to rollerball that frightens me."
Solid Oak Sketches has filed copyright registrations in the tattoo designs that decorate the bodies of some of basketball's biggest stars (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kenyon Martin, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, etc), and has sued Take-Two Software, maker of NBA 2K16 and other basketball video games, for reproducing tattoos as part of the likenesses of the players. Read the rest
Last week, professional surfer Tom Dosland fell 40-feet down the front of a wave at Jaws, Maui's legendary surfing break. See the intensity of it all in the video above. Surfer magazine interviewed Dosland about the day:
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Before this wave, I had paddled for a few and pulled back because it wasn’t quite lining up right. But when this wave came toward me, I was totally committed. It looked like a sea monster rising out of the ocean when it came my way. But I was going. No matter what. So I flipped around and started paddling to get into it. You can’t really tell from the video, but there was some wind blowing spray up the face as I was about to drop in, which pretty much blinded me for a few seconds. I could only see out of one eye, and only partially. So I was pretty much just going off of feeling for that brief second before you drop in. Then, I was able to open up both my eyes, and I realized what was about to happen.
That’s crazy you couldn’t see. Can you walk me through what happened next?
Once I started to drop in and could open both my eyes, I instantly realized that this wasn’t going to end well for me. So I sort of hit the eject button hoping to make the best of it and penetrate. I was free-falling for a while. It felt like I jumped off a cliff. That’s when my leash stretched out all the way and flipped me over head-first.
It's a universal, dismal truism that all major sports events are ripoffs that transfer money from cities to the pockets of corrupt sporting leagues and bodies, but even by those standards, San Francisco's impending Super Bowl is particularly terrible. Read the rest
This is footage from the 45th annual Junior Boxing Program Championships, held in 1964. From History's Playlist:
The Naval Junior Boxing Program was founded in 1919 by Spike Webb, and was made available to the children of naval Officers and cadets stationed in Annapolis, MD. Children ranging in age from 5 through 11 and weighing 30 to 100 pounds were allowed to enter the ring and fight during these tournaments... This youth boxing club was meant to teach the children sportsmanship and how to have a strong body and mind under pressure.