# Sunday Papers
The Sunday Papers: the week’s best sportswriting
Stick the coffee on, turn the telly off and put your feet up – this might take a while.

IN NO PARTICULAR order every Sunday, we flick back through the week’s newspapers, websites, blogs and magazines to bring you the best sports writing.

1. “The old man opens the door and shuffles into a familiar room. The air smells of stale beer and discount brand cigarette smoke. The tables are taken by men with no names. They are all friends. They are all strangers. A different journey brought each of them here, to the pool hall on NW Second Avenue, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Their journeys are over. Most don’t share the details, not even their last names. Some don’t remember the year, or how long they’ve been coming here. They have no past.”

Fifty men fought Ali – but one seemed to vanish. ESPN try to track him down. Off The Ball’s Eoin McDevitt mentioned this wonderful piece during the week.

2. “We have nicknamed Ravard ‘the pitbull’ at Ag2r because he’s small and aggressive and never gives up. He’s never violent but in the past two days he’s had a couple of scraps. On the opening stage he had a bit of a bump off Jeremy Hunt with 15km to go and wanted to start a fight until I let a shout at him to concentrate on what he was doing. He also had a bit of an argument with one of the French guys on the Bretagne Schuller team. Today in the sprint the same guy nailed him to the barrier in the last 200m and after the line they traded slaps like a couple of aul ones.”

Nicolas Roche is back with another diary series in the Indo. It is always an excellent read.

3. “Nash is among a great majority of N.B.A. players who swear by their pregame nap. Most are interested in its restorative benefits, although a few may just be trying to counter boredom. Whatever the reason, balls stop bouncing and shoes stop screeching every afternoon.”

Despite the most boring headline I’ve seen all week, the New York Times opens the curtain on the NBA’s culture of… naps.

4. “Enter Stephen Ireland, shaking his head slowly. He carries a picture of himself wearing Manchester City gear. He sings . . .


All alone in the Toon night,

I can smile at the old days,

I was beautiful then.

I remember the time I knew what popular meant,

Let the memory live again.”

Tom Humphries could have went all Joe Duffy’s Funny Fridays on us, but he pulls off Stephen Ireland: the Musical.

5. “Two weeks’ ago was to be our watershed moment, a fixture against Rathcoole was to go ahead. The weather was fine. The pitch was fine. The referee would be there. There would be a football. Then the message came that we had won Sunday’s game on Tuesday. Rathcoole had pulled out, of the league. Sometimes the numbers don’t add up. A shame.”

On the other end of the football spectrum, far from pink SUVs, Paul Ring thaws out after an enforced winter break.

6. “The initial response to the injury was skepticism, with maybe a hint of the usual grievance that Serena is a malingerer who holds herself at a haughty remove from the sport and its press. Nothing that is said about her seems to bother her, and that bothers the media to no end. She has been covered in this vaguely petulant way for so long that, when news of the injury broke in People magazine, of all places, the first instinct for a lot of people was to roll their eyes. “More Serena drama,” as one of L. Jon Wertheim’s readers put it. It was as if she’d just blown off a date because she had to wash her hair.”

Deadspin pick apart the media reaction to Serena William’s health scare.

7. “The crowd was still pretty sparse, the lights in Semple Stadium hadn’t been switched on, and your columnist was nestled about five rows from the back of the stand, wondering whether he should have stayed in the car himself and listened to the new Elbow CD. Tipp-Waterford was on Setanta, after all.  Then a familiar figure loomed out of the darkness.

‘Well,’ said Dan Shanahan, offering the perennial conversation-opener of the Waterford male as he sat down, ‘I see the county board got decent track suits for the lads as soon as I retired. Typical.’

The Irish Examiner’s Michael Moynihan catches up with the Seldom Seen Kid in Thurles.

8. “This is the story everyone in the league is talking about. This has taken over the hockey narrative. Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty has sparked yet another firestorm around the issue of head shots but this time it is more heated, more intense. It’s also become a huge national story. Pacioretty speaks from his hospital bed. Air Canada fires off a letter to the NHL threatening to pull its sponsorship. Gary Bettman, who’s had an interesting week, fires right back. There’s a police investigation. There’s a reaction on Parliament Hill. It’s in the newspapers. On the airwaves. And this story isn’t being driven by the media. It’s everywhere in the game.”