Looking Back at the Malice in the Palace
Published on February 29, 2012 by Sara Foss

If you're an NBA fan, you probably remember the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons back in 2004. What happened wasn't an ordinary fight. It was scary. Players were fighting fans. Chairs and other objects were being thrown. People were in danger.

The brawl had real ramifications. It sent the Pacers into a years-long decline, tainting the careers of athletes such as Jermaine O'Neal, who probably deserved better. And it reinforced the unfortunate opinion that the NBA is a league of thugs, and prompted the league to take any even more dictatorial approach to dealing with players on a range of issues, such as dress.

Over at Grantland, Jonathan Abrams has created an oral history of the brawl, interviewing many of the players and coaches and even a few fans who were there that day. The person who comes off the worst is Ron Artest, AKA Metta World Peace, which probably comes as no surprise to anyone who saw the footage of the brawl or has followed his career. His former teammates remain irked about the fact that they supported him even though he incited the brawl, only to see him issue a trade demand the following season. There's a lesson here: Loyalty is all well and good, but it's important to invest your loyalty in people who deserve it. Ron Artest, quite plainly, did not deserve it.

Anyway, the Grantland piece is pretty fascinating, and also kind of sad. Click here to read it.

Why Women Should Write Sports
Published on February 21, 2012 by Sara Foss

Last week GOOD magazine posted an item on the lack of women in journalism.

This week, they have an interesting piece explaining why women should write sports.

Click here to read it.

Swimming Pool Etiquette
Published on February 16, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about something I think about quite a bit: how not to behave at a public swimming pool.

Here's an excerpt:

"I swim laps at the YMCA frequently, and I’m pretty happy with it. Sure, I have my complaints, but as long as I can swim laps with a minimum of hassle, I’m OK.

I do, however, become greatly annoyed whenever I witness an egregious breach of pool etiquette. Sometimes I just hear about such breaches from other swimmers. For instance, this week one of my lap-swimming friends reported that when she attempted to share a lane with a female swimmer, the woman directed her to another lane, saying, 'You’re going to splash all over the place and I can’t get my face wet!'

My immediate reaction: If you can’t get your face wet, maybe a public swimming pool is not the place for you! The Y has treadmills — go use one. But don’t ask the other swimmers not to splash. That’s unreasonable. My mom doesn’t like to get her head wet due to some sensitivity stemming from a childhood case of frostbite, but she’s never gone to a public pool or swimming hole with the expectation that she could avoid water. In any case, my friend did what the woman asked and found a different lane. But she’s a much nicer person than I am. If I’d encountered this woman, I would have tried to splash her. And I bet I could have made it look like an accident, too, because hello! You’re at a pool! There’s water everywhere!"

Click here to read more.

Published on February 14, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about Linsanity.

The gist: Jeremy Lin is terrific, and his ascendance is something to be celebrated.

Also, I wrote about Linsanity before this evening's Knicks-Raptors game, in which Lin hit a tiebreaking three pointer with less than a second to play.

Linsanity, indeed.

Click here to read my post.

Also, click here to visit Dan Wetzel's weekly podcast, in which he discusses the rise of Jeremy Lin.

All Hail Jeremy Lin
Published on February 9, 2012 by Sara Foss

Jeremy Lin is Asian, a Harvard grad and a devout Christian.

In other words, he's like nothing you've ever seen in the NBA before.

He's excelled in his handful of starts, which begs the following questions: Why hasn't this guy gotten a chance to play quality minutes before? Is his sudden success a fluke? Or is he the real deal?

Some links:

Kyle Wagner at Deadspin

Zach Lowe at the Point Forward

Les Carpenter at ThePostGame

Dave Zirin at The Nation

Cord Jefferson at GOOD magazine

Paul Pierce is Awesome
Published on February 8, 2012 by Sara Foss

Last night Paul Pierce passed Larry Bird on the all-time leaderboard for second most points scored in franchise history.

Over at Celtics Hub, Pierce and coach Doc Rivers reflect upon this impressive achievement. The comments I appreciate most come from Rivers, and highlight why Pierce, as exasperating as he can be, is such a valuable and beloved member of the franchise.

"You know, here’s the part I wish people wrote more about Paul: Paul had a chance to leave us when we were bad. And instead of moaning that he wanted to go to a championship team, he stayed. And he said, ‘I simply want to be a Celtic and I trust that we’re going to win a title some day.’  He had no reason to believe that, at that time. I mean, we were pretty awful. And to me, I wish people talked about his loyalty more, because I think that’s special, especially in this day and time, when everybody’s jumping from team to team. And that’s their right, too, I don’t begrudge that with anybody, but I do think it’s special that Paul Pierce decided that he wanted to be a Celtic for his life. And I think that’s pretty cool. In this day and time, in any sport, I think that’s special."

Having suffered through the bad years, I appreciate Pierce's loyalty, and his willingness to build a championship caliber team in the city that drafted him. I fully believe players have the right to seek greener pastures, just as any frustrated worker might, but there's something special about a player who spends his entire career with one team, and finally raises a banner to the rafters.


End of the Season
Published on February 7, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about the sad end of the 2011-2012 NFL season.

Here's an excerpt:

"The first Super Bowl I watched was in 1986, when the New England Patriots played the Chicago Bears. I even requested permission to stay up past my bedtime to see it. 'OK,' my mother said. 'But don’t expect much. The Patriots are not expected to win, and the game probably won’t be very exciting.'

My mom was right. The Bears crushed the Patriots. I got bored before the game ended, and went to bed.

Times have changed. On Sunday night, I fully expected the Patriots to win. When the New England Sports Fan Friend said, 'But seriously. If you had $100 to bet on this game, who would you take, the Patriots or the Giants?' I said, 'The Patriots,' without hesitation. And when the game opened on an ominous note — the Giants scoring 2 points on a safety — I was completely confident that the score would be much closer by halftime. And it was. It was only in the game’s final moments that it began to register that the Patriots were likely to lose. Even after Wes Welker and Tom Brady failed to connect — the failed play most commentators have pinpointed as the moment the game was lost — I still had faith."

Click here to read the whole thing.

Super Bowl Pick
Published on February 2, 2012 by Sara Foss

Yes, I am picking the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

Click here to read more.

Free Steve Nash
Published on February 2, 2012 by Sara Foss

I wholeheartedly support this campaign.

Secret Weapons
Published on January 26, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about the whole concept of the "secret weapon" in sports.

I don't believe in secret weapons, but my dad does.

My theory is that if players are good, they play, and if they're bad, they sit. In other words, there just aren't a lot of secretly good players whose coaches are waiting to spring them upon opposing teams in crucial moments. But maybe I'm wrong. To decide for yourself, click here

Pats-Ravens Torture Bowl
Published on January 23, 2012 by Sara Foss

I don't like close games.

At least, not when one of my teams is involved.

How close was Sunday's Patriots-Ravens' game? The New England Sports Fan Friend and I stared silently at the screen for about 45 straight minutes. Occasionally, the New England Sports Fan Friend got up and paced around the living room, stopping about a foot from the TV to mutter and curse. After the Ravens took the lead, he declared the game over. "We're done," he said. I didn't have the nerve to point out that there was still plenty of time on the clock - the entire fourth quarter, if I remember correctly. 


NFL Conference Championship Picks
Published on January 19, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my NFL Conference Championship picks.

Click here to read them.


Why You Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Bill Belichik
Published on January 17, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at Grantland, Charles Pierce explains why New England Patriots coach Bill Belichik is the NFL's most anarchic spirit.

Click here to read it.

Beating Tim Tebow is Fun!
Published on January 16, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about how enjoyable it was to watch the New England Patriots destroy the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Here's an excerpt:

"I don’t know what it is about Tim Tebow, but he seems to bring out the worst in me.

Not only did I want him to lose on Sunday, but I wanted him to lose badly. I didn’t want a close game, where the spunky Broncos hung in there or, god forbid, won the game. I wanted a massacre. And the New England Patriots delivered one.

Tim Tebow seems nice enough, though I don’t know him personally, and cannot really attest to his inner goodness. It’s Tebowmania that gets on my nerves. As the New England Sports Fan Friend pointed out, ESPN embarrassed itself with its Tebow coverage leading up to Sunday’s game. In fact, the most amazing thing about Tim Tebow is how he causes the collective IQ of the nation’s sportswriters to drop 50 points whenever they’re discussing him.

Take Michael Silver, at Yahoo NFL. 'I realize this goes against every ounce of rational thought in my being, but … the Broncos — led by Willis McGahee and a revved-up defense, and guided by the mellifluous left arm of You Know Who — will stun Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough on Saturday night,' he predicted. I read this sentence four or five times, and decided that Silver had lost his mind. Sure, upsets are always a possibility in the NFL, and the Patriots have not won a playoff game since they failed to win the 2008 Super Bowl, but I just could not believe that Tom Brady and Bill Belichik would allow the Broncos to win. This was a huge mismatch from the get-go, and anyone who couldn’t see it was blinded by an extreme case of Tebowmania."

Click here to read the whole thing.

NFL Divisional Playoffs Picks
Published on January 12, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I predict the winners of the NFL Divisional Playoffs.

Click here to read them.

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