Wednesday, January 04, 2006

SportBlog Roundup #5

Happy New Year everyone! As Stephen Pollard so helpfully pointed out amid his usual miserable pratter, the Christmas period is normally a festival of sport - and long may it remain so. The Premiership footballers may moan about playing four matches in eight days, but Christmas is the time of year when fans want to watch. And lest the players forget, they depend on a large interest in the game for their rather hefty pay packets. It's the market wot does it.

Anyway, welcome to the fifth incarnation of the SportBlog roundup - all the best bits I've found from across the world.

We start off this week with a series of posts about cricket. Boxing Day is famous in South Africa and Australia for being the first day of Test matches, traditionally held at Durban and Melbourne respectively (this year being an exception, as SA are playing Australia in Melbourne). The best posts this week, however, are of a more reflective nature...

First up, Amit Varma at Metroblogging Mumbai postulates his theories on the decline in Mumbai cricket, and tries to link it with the general decline of the city. Then Krishna Kumar, blogging at Different Strokes, postulates his theories on the subcontinental phenomenon of tape-ball cricket, and its effect on the cricketers of India and Pakistan. Finally, Chris Fogarty writes about the Ashes series - The Greatest Series Ever. Which has left him feeling more than a little flat.

Chicagoist talks about the role that sports play in local politics. Mayor Daley is trying to drum up support for a Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics, which would involve building a new stadium. Chicagoist is unconvinced. The comments are very interesting for looking at the sporting psychology of a town, too.

It's the college football Bowl season in America at the minute, with USC and Texas battling for the national championship tomorrow evening. Last night was the Orange Bowl that pitted Penn State against Florida State; Mike at Release shows how much fans care about their teams. Not even going easy on abuse in a maternity ward! More on the Orange Bowl courtesy of Every Day Should Be Saturday. And George Contanza gives one of the more in-depth looks at the Rose Bowl (the championship game) that I've found.

Jack Archey, meanwhile, has an irreverent and highly amusing take on the attitude of Notre Dame fans. Bad reading if you're a Jacksonville fan... or maybe not.

The Sports Junkies are fed up with the quality of sportswriting, and in particular the need for writers to hyperbolize everything. I have to say I'm with him on this one. Sure, the draft makes an easy and self-contained story for media outlets. But let's wait until the players get on the pitch in the pros before we start putting them in Canton. On a similar theme, Mark Cuban, who owns the NBA Dallas Mavericks franchise, bemoans the wasting of newsprint on non-stories. (His point may well be emphasised by the fact that although I have found Shackleford was a former NBA player, I still have no idea of his significance).

Eric McErlain senses despair for the US ice hockey team at the forthcoming Winter Olympics.

With the news that Portsmouth are to be half-owned by a Russian billionaire's son, here is a quick run-down of Pompey's history. How will it look in five years time? In other Premiership coverage, Ben (who runs one of the best one-team fan sites I've seen) moans about Newcastle's loss to Tottenham and hopes 2006 is better than last year.

Balls, Sticks and Stuff gives his reflections on the best and worst sporting moments of 2005 - the worst being somewhat tempered by his partisan affiliations, I would wager. And this post at Deadspin is worth it just for the final line.

Joe Hyam has an amusing tale of Australian intransigence towards authority.

To close, Peak Performance talks about his own DIY Winter Olympics in the local park. That's why we're all sports fans, isn't it - our inner seven-year-olds?

That's all for this fortnight, folks - be back again on the regular time of Tuesday in two weeks time. It gets better the more people who help me, so please keep those submissions coming to sportblog at googlemail dot com