Category: Sports

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The Polgar Variant

Is genius hereditary? Or can every child be groomed to be a genius? One brilliant (and controversial) father believes environment and training fosters genius. He attempts to prove his theory by raising all three of his young daughters to be world champions of chess. The engrossing Israeli documentary The Polgar Variant, about a family of Hungarian Jews living...

The Struggles of Garry Kasparov

In 1986, when Jack Nicklaus won the Masters golf tournament at age 46, it was hard for us to understand what all the fuss was about. Sure, he made history, becoming the oldest player to win one of the four “majors.” But he was a lifelong athlete doing what he did best. Golf is a...

Poem: The Guy in the Seat Next to You [Dodger Stadium Suite]

The challenge for a poet at the ball game is a triplicate predicament. He must not swoon over the greenness of the grass. He must not view every little lovely detail as a metaphor waiting to be transcribed for posterity. He must not recite rambling stories with no discernible point except to subtly imply it...

NOlympics

The quadrennial Olympic Games are often visually spectacular, emotionally stirring and wonderfully sexy. A civic virtue they are not. In September, Los Angeles will be “awarded” the right to host the Games in either 2024 or 2028. Great, right? A wonderful boon for our city, right? Ask the people of Rio de Janiero what they...

SportLiterate

Call it the New Yorker for people who love sports. For more than 20 years, SportLiterate has published essays, poems and “think pieces” about our favorite games and the athletes that play them. Unlike, say, sports-radio and sports-television, the focus isn’t guaranteed contracts, top-5 lists, or personality conflicts ripped from soap opera story-lines. SL explores what sports mean:...

Chess24.com Commentators

Fanboy alert! We’re developing a platonic man-crush on the smart, eloquent, adorable commentators at the Chess24 site, where players from around the globe congregate for online matches, breaking chess news — yes, there is such a thing — and analysis of the day’s top games. The core stable of erudite talkers includes three Grandmasters (the...

The Anthem and American Patriotism

For proud Americans who might question this author’s patriotism, let us reassure you that this micro-essay is being written while standing. When it comes to our national anthem, we don’t fool around. Unlike certain professional athletes, we understand the powerful symbolism in standing for a song about a symbol (a flag, “The Star-Spangled Banner”), a...

At Dodger Stadium

You attend a baseball game once-a-year. You don’t follow the sport or the players. Long ago, when you were a boy, you were a true fan who knew all the statistics and the nicknames, the characters and the storylines. These days, you’re only vaguely aware of who’s starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and even...

The 2-Point Coach

During the recent end-of-the-year break, we were reminded frequently that what matters most in many of our lives, the thing that rouses our deepest emotions and hottest passion, is football. If you get heartburn talking about the Green Bay defense, consider Nick Saban an inspiring role model, or interrupt family gatherings to announce Draft King...

The Battered Bastards of Baseball

It seems impossible today. But from 1973-1977, before corporate control of America became nearly absolute, the Portland Mavericks, a Class A minor league baseball franchise, played independently, without any Major League Baseball affiliation. Competing against future Yankees and Dodgers (and the giant organizations that bankroll them), the Mavs improbably ruled the competitive Pacific League, fielding...