Under Further Review: The Great Alone

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Last week, I had the good fortune to catch Mad Max: Fury Road. I came into the theater expecting an incredible odyssey through a fantastical, apocalyptic environment (those hopes were completely met). I had no reason, however, to anticipate the realization that would hit me several days later: Fury Road is a perfect primer for The Great Alone. Instead of the feverish, sweltering Outback, The Great Alone throws the viewer far north, into the Alaskan wilderness. It is this harsh place that hosts the Iditarod, a thousand-mile dogsled race across an unforgivingly cold mishmash of mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, and forests. One of its founders was Dick Mackey, an Alaskan local who won the race himself in 1978, by the closest margin in the event’s history. The film skips a generation, focusing on Dick’s son, Lance, who wishes to follow in his father’s footsteps. The Great Alone does justice to Lance’s remarkable tale of survival and success, and is framed exceptionally well by director Greg Kohs and his team.

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Sportswriting Prompts for the NFL Offseason

It’s hard to find fresh material during the NFL’s long offseason, which lasts 52 percent of the year. Here are some writing prompts for sportswriters:

1. If you could give your team’s star player a superpower, what would it be? How would this superpower affect his contributions to the game? The superpower cannot involve fire-starting or weapons, since those are generally prohibited in stadiums.

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President Obama Forms Emergency Task Force to Save American Tennis

2013-04-01T161409Z_1063458317_GM1E94200LP01_RTRMADP_3_USA-EASTERWith tennis legends Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi at his side, President Barack Obama declared a stae of emergency yesterday, and announced the formation of a task force designed to save professional tennis in the United States. The program, called Foundation Of Our Tennis: Fixing America’s Unconscionable Losing Tradition (FOOT: FAULT) was initiated via executive order as a result of America’s dismal 1-9 performance on Day 2 of the French Open. In those ten matches, American players won just four total sets. Worse yet, the lone American winner, Sloane Stephens, advanced by defeating her countrywoman, Venus Williams. Read more →

The Fun Run: Kindergarten’s Greatest Sporting Event

149.children-runningThe day I’ve been waiting for all year has arrived: it’s the Kindergarten Fun Run. The school didn’t measure the course, but I did. It’s 0.84 miles. I also checked the course for glass, because in our family, we run barefoot, like the Tarahumara. I also made sure the post-race snacks were gluten-free, dairy-free, and GMO-free. Our bodies are temples to the sport of running, and we do not want to defile them by ingesting those toxins. I began reaching out to the school board the year my daughter was born, because I figured it would take a few years to get anything more than peanuts banned from the cafeteria.

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Horford Dedicates Game 5 Victory to Fellow Florida Alumnus

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Wednesday night, Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford lifted his team to a key 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals, netting the game-winning layup with less than two seconds to play in Game 5. After the game, during an interview with Unfortunately Not Craig Sager, Horford became wracked with emotion when thanking a personal hero.

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$82,000: A Tale of Extravagance

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This article on Chris Christie’s spending habits at MetLife stadium brought back fond memories of the time I spent $82,000 at Camden Yards.

$10,000: I walked into the stadium feeling festive. I had dollar-dollar bills in my pocket (and in my briefcase). I was just so excited for the Orioles’ Mid-Atlantic brand of baseball that I decided to make it rain.

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Under Further Review: Reach Your Limits

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As a frequent consumer of American pop culture, I’ve had a certain stereotype of Eastern Europeans burned into my mind: burly and steely-eyed, but also soft-spoken and calm. For better or worse, Reach Your Limits does little to dispel that image, but this Bulgarian documentary does introduce a fascinating Balkan sports culture. The film focuses on orienteer Kirill “Disl” Nikolov, as he attempts to set a new world record; his goal is to run the longest Bulgarian mountain route, the Kom-Emine, in less than five days. To succeed, he’ll have to cover 600 kilometers (370 miles) and ascend a total of 14,600 meters in altitude. Reach Your Limits sets up his quest as an individualistic battle between one man and the literal forces of nature, but the film also portrays a remarkable feat of teamwork by a large support crew that includes a coach, pacesetters, drivers, and doctors.

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An Open Letter to Ichiro Suzuki

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1 Steve Bartman Circle
Washington, DC 20500
May 7, 2015

Mr. Ichiro Suzuki
C/O the Miami Marlins
501 Marlins Way
Miami, FL 33125

Dear Mr. Ichiro,

I am writing to convey my sincerest apologies regarding reckless and abhorrent behavior that led to an unfortunate incident during your game against the Washington Nationals on the evening of May 4, 2015.

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Hut, Hut, Haiku: Poetry Inspired by the NFL Draft

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Last year’s Poetry Enrichment for Players program (PEP) has been expanded to include fans. The draft was such a tease. Sunday rolled around, and there was no football in sight. To cope, I participated in the NFL’s Anti-Boredom Haiku Plan for Fans, part of the league’s strategy to make the offseason more interesting, and to support cultural initiatives in the community.

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Baseball is Weird, Part I: Lineup Calligraphy

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Baseball is a great sport, but let’s be honest: so many of its traditions, unwritten rules, and idiosyncrasies are bizarre. In this series, which will run for somewhere between one and 3,000 parts, we will take quick looks at some of the sport’s most intriguing quirks.

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