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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Mo's missed drug tests, Kimbo v Shamrock and all the week's best sportswriting

This week also features a 1980s arcade game and a look at basketball’s mysterious triangle offence.

1. “A collective madness fell upon British athletics last week. Buttressed by ignorance and stupidity, driven by an arrogance that has somehow survived a thousand scandals, the sport contrived to rally around a man because it emerged he had missed two drugs tests.

Bizarre, isn’t it? But that is what happened. Few expressed even mild concern that Mo Farah had missed the tests several years ago. And heaven forfend that anybody should actually seek to censure him for it.”

Oliver Holt of the The Daily Mail outlines how athletics’ arrogant reaction to Mo Farah’s two missed tests shows just why so many believe cheating is endemic. 

Athletics - Mo Farah Filer Farah missed two drugs tests in 2010 and 2011. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

2. Larry Hodgson loved to golf. But, he recently acknowledged, “I was a bad golfer.” Back in the late 1980s, the software engineer resolved to improve his game. He figured others shared the same goal. 

“For his new employer, he began designing a large-scale golf simulator that could be dropped into oversized family entertainment centers like Dave & Busters. That way, parents could practice their swing while their kids pumped quarters into Street Fighter.

“The concept, however, didn’t quite work. The idea was too big, too ambitious. Incredible Technologies junked it, but not before Hodgson had built software that allowed him to create virtual golf courses. Why not use that to develop a coin-operated golf game?”

This great piece by Alan Siegel takes us all the way back to the 1980s and looks at how Golden Tee became the best bar game in America. 

3. Ninety percent of people would rather see famous guys try to fight, than brilliant fighters do their job. If any of the UFC’s champions fought on FOX, on the same day as Kimbo Slice fought on Spike, Slice would almost certainly receive more views. You have to respect Scott Coker for being the man willing to make a laughing stock of his product in the educated fan’s eyes just to cater to that.”

The internet is abuzz with speculation over whether Ken Shamrock v Kimbo Slice was ‘fixed’. Jack Slack’s excellent article on Fightland examines the evidence.

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4. Terran Petteway has long imagined the moment when his name is called on draft night. If it happens, he knows he will cry. But no matter what, that moment won’t be the end of Petteway’s journey.

“If my name is called, it’ll just be the beginning,” he said. “But damn, it’ll be a night that I’ll always remember. It’ll be a night that we’ll celebrate as a family, but it’ll be bittersweet. Because I know my mama. She’d be hella proud. Hella proud.”

Terran Petteway’s mother died of cancer in April. This is a touching piece on Grantland by Jonathan Abrams on how the NBA prospect will honour her on draft night whether a team selects him or not. 

Nebraska Iowa Basketball Nebraska forward Terran Petteway. Source: AP/Press Association Images

5. Is it a coincidence that England’s best World Cup performance since 1966 came in 1990, the period when it was more regular for coveted English talent to go abroad? From that team, as well as Waddle, Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne, David Platt and Des Walker all signed for foreign clubs. Glenn Hoddle, who did not make that squad, was strutting his stuff in France at the time.

“Today England wakes up with a familiar feeling in the aftermath of an international tournament flunk – a knockout cocktail of frustration, confusion, disappointment and blame.”

Amy Lawrence’s Guardian piece asks whether it is a coincidence that England’s best World Cup performance since 1966 was in 1990, during a period when more of the nation’s coveted talent played overseas? 

6. The system is basketball’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, renowned for being highbrow and difficult to understand. Yet trying to get through an abstruse book about the essence of cognition is one thing; that basketball could be over our heads is somehow harder to take.”

Nicholas Dawidoff makes an attempt to lift the veil on Phil Jackson’s mysterious triangle offense.*To truly appreciate this in all its beauty, it needs to be viewed on your computer. 

Originally published at 07.30

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About the author:

Donal Lucey

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