A Gamble

VEGAS LINES, BOOKIES, OFF-TRACK BETTING, CASINOS: the kidneys of the posthuman body-social; a filtration system used for the purification of toxins from the media-net, by reconstituting black market money into a usable electronic form? (Or a teat to be suckled by the destitute? Or the fibrous connective tissue of social networks?)

Sound

On the Sunday night NFL tilt featuring Carolina and Atlanta, Panthers DE Mike Rucker was hurt on a play. ESPN showed the replay of the injury with isolated volume of Rucker's moanings. Certainly much different than how this injury was treated.

Dictionary.com WOD Digest

Modern sport offers a curious juxtaposition of carceral technologies and artistic moments.

Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, may be held as an exemplar for coping with the cyborg age.

The fitness club consultant appears solicitous to the concerns of the obese patron, without understanding why those concerns exist in the first place.

This year?s Skins Game: a blend of technology and animus allows Sorenstam to take the lead after Day One.

Using performance enhancers may cause athletes to become fractious; not using them may cause athletes to become losers.

MLB — and indeed all professional sport governing bodies — are doing their utmost to stanch the flow of information into the public domain.

Gridiron football, as a model of war, but more specifically as a model of the American military-industrial complex, serves to make its constituents — players and fans alike — more bellicose.

Spacetime Malleability

I played a great deal of soccer when I was young. In fact, it was the first organized sport I ever played after joining a team as a four year-old.

As with all youth soccer, my formative years in the sport consisted of a great deal of kick-and-chase, as we moved the ball down the field in a linear fashion, always in a forward vector. When we lost the ball, the opposing team attempted to do likewise. I remember my utter surprise when, for the first time, I saw professional soccer teams on television kick the ball backwards as an active course of strategy. This blew my mind: I didn't know you could do that … or at least I had never thought of it.

The point? There are very few sports where we see this characteristic. The system of downs in gridiron football discourages this, as does the midcourt line in basketball. In baseball and in any form of racing, it is obviously nonexistent. It is considered a radical strategy in golf, only to be used in extreme circumstances. Hockey is the only sport that immediately comes to mind in which we see this take place.

It is the conversion of excess space into scarce time. It demands a more nuanced view of strategy, rather than the linear, advance-at-all-costs mentality seen in the most popular American sports.

The Value of a Schilling

The Sports Guy recaps a subplot from the Red Sox' luring of pitching star Curt Schilling to Boston:

You probably heard the story by now: On Thanksgiving night, Schilling submitted a lengthy post on the Red Sox message board on MLB.com, then chatted with Sox fans until the wee hours on another Sox message board called "The Sons of Sam Horn" (SOSH).

Now …

I'm a longtime member of SOSH, a den for diehards that weeds out weaker members and has 250-post threads on subjects like "Does Casey Fossum's delivery point seem different to you?" and "One Man's Thoughts on Nomar's Last 500 At-Bats, In Order." These guys know more than me; I'll freely admit it. During this past year in California, I clicked on SOSH twice a day for breaking Sox news (if something happens, SOSH usually has a thread going within about 1.23 seconds). Believe me, I'm not defending message boards — they can be evil places, especially in the wrong hands — but some of them aren't that bad. And SOSH isn't that bad.

An admitted internet junkie hoping to get a handle on Sox fans, Schilling couldn't have picked a better place. He stumbled into a SOSH chat room at 2:30 in the morning and found about 20 fans in there, which is my favorite part of the story — only the guys from SOSH would be chatting about the Sox at 2:30 A.M. on Thanksgiving night. After he introduced himself, they verified his identity with a barrage of questions, then spent the rest of their time pleading for him to come to Boston. He ended up staying in the chat room past 4 o'clock, talking about anything and everything. I'm not making this up.

The next day was even stranger: After Schilling landed a SOSH account and word spread with the members, Friday afternoon — the deadline for Schilling to accept his Boston trade — turned into a pitch session from the SOSH members to Schilling. Everyone had their say. Hell, I was on vacation in Santa Barbara, and I ended up posting something (much to the chagrin of the Sports Gal, and I can't emphasize this strongly enough).

. . .

Now here's where it gets crazy. The deadline comes … and Schilling accepts the trade. Better yet, he specifically mentions the passion of the SOSH guys as one of the main reasons he decided to play in Boston. Unbelievable. Can you remember any other instance of fans directly influencing a player like this? Can you remember any other player seeking out the input of fans like this? I mean, unless you're a Yankees fan, how can you not root for Curt Schilling now? Shouldn't every player be like this? And if they were like this, wouldn't you like sports a little more than you already do?

The Corporate Voices

Cheers, applause, music, action: the stadium sportscape is a cacophonic cauldron of sounds, not the least of which emanate from corporate billboards that shout at us insistently, much like merchants hawking their wares in the bazaars of an earlier age. We don't notice the shouting, however, as we concentrate on the game at hand having pulled off that cocktail party trick of muting voices in the background in order to better focus our attention. It isn't until much later, when it is time to make a purchase, that the shouting makes itself heard.