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Mike Tyson's weed resort and the rest of the week's best sportswriting

Stick the kettle on and enjoy the week’s best reads… plus one from the vaults.

Mike Tyson on a day away from the office.
Mike Tyson on a day away from the office.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

1. Something crazy is almost always happening at Mike Tyson’s office. You never know who will come around the corner, through the big roll-up garage door. Sean Penn came by one day, and Roseanne, too. One day, one of the creators of He-Man came in for a general meeting. He is now a professional inventor and wanted to see if Mike Tyson and his partners needed anything invented. When the inventor asked a room full of people including Mike Tyson if they remembered He-Man, Mike Tyson said, “Yeah, love that,” and then, by way of explaining what he loved about it, added, “Skeletor.”

The company that Mike Tyson and his partners are running out of this office is called Tyson Holistic.* Ostensibly it’s a marijuana company, one of more than 10,000 new businesses launched since California voted to legalize recreational pot in 2016.

Alex Pappademas gave GQ the elevator pitch of ‘Mike Tyson is opening a weed resort’…and followed through on it in style. 

2We try to remember the last time we were in Ennis. A wedding, a passing through before the motorway, an Under 21 match, a conference. We’re early, so we head to the pub. This shared communion, with others of our tribe. Not the Cork tribe, but the hurling tribe, including the Clare people adorned in saffron and blue. We’re all in this together. Yes, there’s a them and us, but really it’s just us.

Tadhg Coakley has been writing about his experiences at the Munster Championship on his personal website this year – they are all worth reading, and the latest goes to show how sport threads together out varied, disparate and lonely lives. 

3My mother got cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, when I was 15. She had a battle and did incredibly well but it was: ‘She’s ill. You’re not going to England.’ And that changed to: ‘She’s okay, you can go away now.’ So I went and scored twice for the Aston Villa reserves within four weeks of being there, and they were talking about me as ‘the next big thing’ but I wasn’t equipped mentally for it. I struggled. I was homesick. I never fulfilled my potential.

Gareth Farrelly is intelligent, articulate and has a heck of a story to tell. Then he met Paul Kimmage for the Sunday Independent. 

4. In fact the man o’ war [jellyfish] works just as well as a metaphor for professional football clubs. Or at least for those clubs that like to mythologise themselves, to talk of an enduring club “culture”, some vital collective identity that must be honoured and nourished for the team to prosper – the Barcelona way, the Yeovil Town way. The parts may die and fall away. But the colony, the collective, the indispensable spirit endures.

It is a way of understanding the past that has clung most notably to Manchester United, clouding not just issues of team-building and executive appointments, but the club’s basic sense of its own happiness. 

History is the nightmare from which Manchester United refuse to wake, writes Barney Ronay for The Guardian. 

5. Although he knows there are many still around who have been part of the FAI’s administration and are comfortable with what has gone on, Kerr is not devoid of hope. Plus, he sees a change in some newer faces – “educated people who have come through”.

“It’s different from the 1960s when Billy Morton said: ‘There’s too many bicycles parked outside Merrion Square’.

“They were working-class people trying to make a living and keep their teams going. They weren’t people buying land for a rugby club, or next door to the church making sure there was a pitch for the GAA club. They were not those people. They did not have access to the religious and political system of that time. Our football has suffered, for sure.

“I’ve no criticism of the GAA, what they have done across the country is extraordinary. But they had a great base with the Catholic church and the political aristocracy. Rugby has always had a different clientele.

“For us, for soccer, I think there’s an opportunity to change things now. But it needs leadership.

Okay this piece was technically last week – but it narrowly missed the deadline for inclusion here and we couldn’t ignore it this time. You think you hear a lot from Brian Kerr, but as Michael Walker found out for the Irish Times – you can never hear too much. 

Oh, and by the way…

Robbie Brady celebrates with his girlfriend Kerrie Harris and supporters after the game Robbie Brady after scoring against...yep. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

6. Brady, meanwhile, ran to the crowd where his family were located, sharing tears and hugs with them. Keane — the same Roy Keane who criticised this team four years ago — hugged every one of them, including Shay Given, a veteran of Saipan, when the then captain walked away from the World Cup.

From there he moved to O’Neill and the two men hugged like a pair of auld codgers on their way home from the pub. Drunk on excitement, they smiled at each other and gave a look which effectively said, ‘We did it’.

No words were exchanged. None were needed.

Following the news that the Times Ireland newspaper is closing down, look back at one of their many great sports pieces - Garry Doyle‘s fantastic, mood-snaffling live report of Ireland’s win over Italy at Euro 2016. 

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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