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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019
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The fallen All-Star, constipated rugby and the week's best sportswriting

Sit back and enjoy some of the week’s best sportswriting.

John Scott (left) was the subject of one of the week's best pieces of sportswriting.
John Scott (left) was the subject of one of the week's best pieces of sportswriting.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

IT’S SUNDAY NIGHT, why not dampen the fear of going back to work tomorrow by putting your feet up, sitting back and enjoying some of the finest sports journalism committed to the web over the past seven days?

1. “An embarrassing joke All-Star vote campaign had become a feel-good story for a hard-working, good guy and his family. Everybody wins.

“That makes what happened on Friday so tragic.

“Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who immediately stashed him in the AHL and said they weren’t going to call him back up. He’s ineligible for the All-Star Game now. And everything about it was so transparent.”

Pat Iversen‘s piece for SB Nation struck such a chord that the NHL relented and allowed John Scott play in their All-Star game and captain one of the teams.

2. ”A tough subject this one but here is a biggish question: what kind of sport does rugby union aspire to be? In 20 years time, when little Jonny and Jenny graduate from mini-rugby, what type of game will they want to play as young adults?

“What sort of product do coaches, parents and schoolteachers want to support and promote? Are the laws, as they stand, suitable for both professionals and amateurs alike, or as forward-thinking as they might be?”

The Guardian’s Robert Kitson asks if rugby has become a game too constipated by its own rules.

3. “I have my supplies ready. Two apples (one before each half), a bottle of water, about 4 biros (just in case), my wee notebook and several sheets of printouts all are stashed in a lovely jacket a rugby club I coached at once gave me. Triple lined and plenty of pockets. Lovely.

“The announcer calls out the teams, I make the necessary adjustments in both programmes and stand for a minute’s silence and what I assume is a gramophone recording of the national anthem. A bit of pushing and shoving at midfield, the ball is in and the game is on.”

Chris Traynor talks about happiness on a cold Sunday in January.

4. “And then I got one that had this subject heading: “Olympic medalist and muscular dystrophy patient with the same mutation.” Now that caught my attention. I wondered if it might point me to some article or paper in a genetics journal about an elite athlete I’d somehow missed.

“Instead, it was a personal note from a 39-year-old Iowa mother named Jill Viles. She was the muscular dystrophy patient, and she had an elaborate theory linking the gene mutation that made her muscles wither to an Olympic sprinter named Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. She offered to send me more info if I was interested. Sure, I told her, send more.”

David Epstein of ProPublica writes about the DIY scientist, the Olympian, and the mutated gene.

5. “If ever there was a footballer who causes cognitive dissonance, it is Long (no it isn’t), since anyone who has watched him for a significant amount of time becomes totally, disturbingly convinced that he is both a marvellous footballer and not a footballer at all.

“It used to be said, and still is by some, that Theo Walcott is just a sprinter in boots. Long may be a hurler in boots, hurling being the Irish sport at which he excelled until switching to full-time football in his mid-teens. His perpetual running, his strength, courage, mighty leap and timing, and the frequency with which he fires the ball over the bar: all of these are traits of an excellent hurler, one reared, like Long, in Tipperary, part of the heartland of hurling.”

In The Guardian, Paul Doyle makes a compelling case for why Liverpool should consider shining Shane Long.

6. “Conor McGregor’s comments aimed at Floyd Mayweather see him wading into racial politics in the U.S. and Ireland without a second thought. He does so as if racism does not exist. Why he decided to address Mayweather’s general observations about racism and double standards in combat sports as a direct insult is curious.

“In his interview with Ben Thompson, Mayweather mentioned over twenty five different black boxers who he felt are overlooked by the media. His comments about McGregor were an afterthought at the end of a long discussion. Mayweather admitted that his knowledge of the MMA star is limited. He has apparently never seen Conor fight nor heard him speak.”

Historian Liam Hogan discusses Conor McGregor, selective history and Atlantic amnesia.

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Danny Garcia wins WBC welterweight title – now is a rematch against Amir Khan next?

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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