Category: Re-posts

Back with Team USA! Hello from Parapan Ams!

A great peek inside the Games! I miss the days when I could do this, but stay tuned 😉

Thanks for sharing, Jamie!

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Daily Medal for Best Piece of the World Cup goes to…

Gwendolyn Oxenham in The Atlantic.

Before Tim Howard stops trending on Twitter, I wanted to make sure you saw this awesome piece she did on Ryan Dempsey, USMNT star Clint Dempsey’s brother. Hands down my favorite of the tournament so far.

When he graduated, whatever opportunities he’d once had in soccer were gone. Like most players, he had to find something else to do with his life. Which isn’t all that easy to do when you’ve grown up playing, watching, and hoping about one thing. “It wasn’t that I didn’t have a backup plan,” Ryan says. “I didn’t have a backup passion.”

Nowadays Ryan works a 50-hour-a-week job—“It’s pretty much the most boring thing in the world to talk about.” But he’s quit trying to replace his passion. A job is just a job, while futbol is who he is, even if he never made it as far as he wanted. When the workday is up, he does what he’s been doing his whole life: He heads to the field. He is one more middle-aged guy playing for nothing on dirt, still the blanco surrounded by guys from Honduras, Mexico, and Panama.

 

“Ties are Un-American” and other tweets from last night

ties usa portugal

Bear Bryant (of the other football) once said, “A tie is like kissing your sister.”

Victory denied in the last minute of overtime stoppage led to this comment overheard at work the next day:

“This is why I hate soccer. Because games can end in ties during time that magically appears whenever the ref wants it to.”

Americans—we may not understand soccer, but dang it, we love to win. That’s why this tweet from The Wire was just a little too soon:

Followed a little too late by:

Still, there is some good news:

 

Here’s what needs to happen (courtesy of NYTimes Sports):

IF GHANA BEATS PORTUGAL IF GHANA AND PORTUGAL TIE IF PORTUGAL BEATS GHANA
IF THE U.S. BEATS GERMANY The U.S. advances The U.S. advances The U.S. advances
IF THE U.S. TIES GERMANY The U.S. advances The U.S. advances The U.S. advances
IF GERMANY BEATS THE U.S. The U.S. could still advance, but it has much fewer options The U.S. advances The U.S. probably advances if both games are close

 

Thursday afternoon—you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

 

The Backstory: Making of the Beats by Dre Word Cup Commercial

Sometime last week, this video more or less flooded my timeline. Posts and pundits agreed: “Beats by Dre Just Totally Upstaged Nike With Its Pre-World Cup Ad”

Eh.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, TIME. Lest we forget Nike’s 2008 “I Got Soul” and 2012 “The Jogger”. And my personal No. 1: Channel 4’s “Meet the Superhumans”.

I will say Beats by Dre cracked the Top 5. And for those of you who want to know its secret, Olivier Laurent (also at TIME) has the story:

“The Game Before the Game” was filmed and post-produced over six weeks. “I worked with Omar Johnson, Beats’ vice-president of marketing. His goal was to keep the team lean, agile and aggressive. He didn’t want a large production because we knew that we would need to be opportunistic. I feel this approach really helped in creating an intimate setting where these players were comfortable to share with us their actual pre-game rituals, which are very personal. It also helped us in being able to bounce around the world efficiently.”

Nabil worked days and nights for a month across eight different time zones. “The lack of sleep never helps you stay as creative as you want, but we went for it. The cinematographer, Danny Hiele, and I had a few hairy moments in the helicopter over Rio when the weather was windy and stormy – altitude drops when flying in a helicopter are definitely ‘God-help-me’ moments. Danny was literally hanging out of the plane with a massive camera and just a single-strap seatbelt holding him in.”

Read more on TIME….

Chance Encounters, Mindfulness, and Hippies

braindrawing

Today’s post came from a chance encounter I had walking home from work last week. Chipotle and dry cleaning in hand, I was crossing the street in front of my place when I ran into a gentleman searching for a bookstore. As I gently broke the news to him that there were no bookstores within walking distance (and wondered how on Earth I was still living in this intellectually-barren wasteland), we fell into a conversation about schools and careers and goals. Because Washington.

“Lost sidewalk man” was actually Kenneth Wesson, noted brain researcher and education consultant. Kenneth being a neuroscientist and me being in the veteran space, we organically hit on the topic of traumatic brain injury (TBI). I told him about Chris Clemens, a veteran I had worked with at the training center.

While deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, Chris sustained a traumatic brain injury when an RPG exploded in his camp. Still, that summer I watched Chris sprint, long jump, and train his way to the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Kenneth told me that adaptive sports are so effective at treating TBI because they non-surgically re-wire the brain.

That stuck with me. Non-surgically rewiring the brain.

Back in March, Rebecca Hiscott over at Mashable listed eight ways technology had started to re-wire the human brain. In the 1950s, people dreamed in black and white. Our memory and attention spans are worse. Our visual skills and creativity are better. And “phantom vibration syndrome” is a thing. A very annoying thing.

The point that we can train the brain the same way we train the body. Often times what separates a gold and silver medalist is…mindfulness. (Knew that religion major would come in handy someday!) And I think it’s a lot like that in life. Mindfulness before that interview or date or hard conversation.

During Sochi, Mike Wise at the Washington Post profiled snowboarder & gold medalist Jamie Anderson:

Asked what helped her cope with the pressure before the night of the event, music, candles or meditation, Anderson said, “All of the above. . . . Put on some meditation music, burn some sage. Got the candles going. Just trying to do a little bit of yoga.”

Ommmm

After she was through centering a group of stressed-out reporters on Internet deadlines, it wasn’t clear whether she had just swept the slopestyle snowboarding events for the U.S. or was set to open a restorative wellness center with a noon Ashtanga class.

Either way: Tell your children to breathe. Be present. Don’t worry about sending them to institutions of higher learning; take a walk in the woods. Chill-ax, it’ll all work out.

Freaking hippie might just be on to something.

JAMIE ANDERSON AP

A little TED for thought – “Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?”

David Epstein has a pretty cool job.

Currently over at ProPublica, Epstein is a sports science reporter. These are the folks who report on the biomechanical, physiological, techy side of sports like in-depth mathematical analysis of Tiger Woods’ golf swing…or the existence of Michael Phelps’ ankles.

Epstein is also author of The Sports Gene, which is kind of like Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers but in the end just goes there and says it: Some people are just born with it.

Still, does that mean every time we saw the world record line trailing behind Usain Bolt or when Shaun White landed the first Games-time double cork, what we were really seeing was human evolution in action? Are humans just being born faster, better, stronger—or can elite performance still be learned?

Short answer: It’s complicated.