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The high school coach who can't forget Parkland and more of the week's best sportswriting

Enjoy some of our favourite reads from the last week.

Mourners lay flowers following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
Mourners lay flowers following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.
Image: Miami Herald/TNS/ABACA

1. On this January morning, the mayor’s office is packed, but McKinney isn’t charming visitors with stories about playing with greatness (though that is him to Michael Jordan’s left in an official team photo of the 1985-86 Chicago Bulls). He instead pulls out extra chairs and comes from behind his desk to sit with three staffers for the same discussion they have had since he got the job last April: how to save Zion.

For The Washington Post, Candance Buckner sits down with Billy McKinney, the former NBA star who left basketball behind to try save his struggling hometown.

2. The problem is inherent in the sport’s decentralized power structure. Boxers are independent contractors and the absence of a central governing body means any form of discipline would have to come from the networks and the promoters, who have a direct financial stake in a fighter’s public profile and ability to generate revenue.

Any of the individual athletic commissions which sanction the sport on a state-by-state basis could put their foot down and deny a fighter the license required to fight in their boundaries, but there will always be another state waiting with open arms to deliver a big-ticket event, and the economic impact it brings, to their backyard.

boxing-2017-floyd-mayweather-jr-media-day Boxer Gervonta Davis was recorded aggressively grabbing the mother of his daughter by the throat. Source: Joel Angel Juarez

Following a disturbing incident involving Gervonta Davis, The Guardian’s Bryan Armen Graham looks at the sport’s structural inadequacy when it comes to holding abusers of women to account.

3. Amid a friendly game in Athlone came some of the most wonderful scenes that will be witnessed in the league this year.

“There was about 100 people at the game, I was sitting beside the St Pat’s fans. Mamoud celebrated like you wouldn’t believe, like a gladiator after victory.

“He has that bit of showmanship about him. I jumped out of my seat and the Pat’s fans were talking about me and why I was getting so worked up for only a friendly. But I knew what it meant. This was someone on the way to living out their dream.”

RTE’s Rory Houston tells the remarkable story of Mamoud Mansaray as he chases his dream of becoming a professional footballer. 

4. The incoming freshmen could not possibly conceive what their older classmates had been through, and the callousness among some devastated others.

A book thudding to the ground set off waves of panic. May saw this post-traumatic stress reaction in his players earlier in the spring, when he took them on a visit to Florida Atlantic football practice. The pop of a nail gun from a construction worker in the football facility lobby sent them crouching to the floor, looking for cover.

A woman standing near them turned to May with a puzzled look on her face.

“We’re from Marjory Stoneman Douglas,” he said.

She started bawling.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson meets high school football coach Willis May as he struggles to rebuild his life two years on from the Parkland shooting. 

chelsea-women-v-lyon-women-uefa-womens-champions-league-semi-final-second-leg-cherry-red-records-stadium Chelsea manager Emma Hayes. Source: Bradley Collyer

5. A player can be affected in different ways depending on the phase of their cycle. They can lose co-ordination during phases one and four and often crave junk food during phases three and four, which can lead to weight fluctuations.

Understanding more about the subject could also have a significant impact on preventing injuries, as there can be a higher injury risk during phases one and two. This ranges from serious injuries – research has suggested a link between anterior cruciate ligament injuries and hormonal fluctuations – to less severe soft tissue problems, which are more likely to occur during the first half of a cycle.

For The Telegraph, Kate Rowan looks at a groundbreaking initiative being driven by Chelsea Women’s head coach Emma Hayes, as the club become the first in the world to tailor their training programme around players’ menstrual cycles. 

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