Summary of “How We Watch Soccer Now”

When I’m feeling curious or apprehensive about the future of the game, and about the sheer range of soccer I might one day feel obliged to obsess over, I’ll read up on Major League Soccer or the Chinese Super League-generally agreed to be rising forces, though still currently a place for second-rank talent and the occasional fading, pampered megastar.
A recent Gallup poll found that soccer was the favorite sport to watch for seven per cent of Americans-higher than hockey, and only slightly lower than baseball.
Attempts to introduce the game at Cambridge University during the eighteen-forties foundered, because, as one student wrote, “Every man played the rules he had been accustomed to at his public school. I remember how the Eton men howled at the Rugby men for handling the ball.” A compromise, the Cambridge Rules, was drawn up and a campaign for universal standards spread. In 1863, representatives from eleven clubs formed the Football Association-the term “Soccer” is a contraction of “Association football”-and set about devising the Laws of the Game, which included the maximum length of the pitch and a prohibition on throwing the ball.
Foreigners’ soccer was viewed with haughty indifference by the English soccer establishment.
In the next decade and a half, England had its first soccer tragedy, the Munich air disaster, in which eight Manchester United players died; its first soccer superstar, George Best, the so-called fifth Beatle; its first and only World Cup victory; its first knighthoods for a soccer player and a manager.
In his chirpy “History of British Football”, the musicologist Percy M. Young identified the arrival of a recognizable new type-the soccer connoisseur, who would watch only “Attractive football.” But even among connoisseurs tribalism often won out; the point of soccer was still to chant and cheer, not analyze and admire.
Like most families, we didn’t have Murdoch’s satellite package, but we still caught highlights of Premiership games on the BBC’s weekly roundup “Match of the Day,” and, for the first time, it was easy to watch soccer being played outside the British Isles.
More recently, Karl Ove Knausgaard wrote that Zidane’s “Every move” at the 2006 World Cup was “a joy to behold”-even the head-butt was “Entirely rational”-and Tom McCarthy mused that Zinedine Zidane’s head was ineluctably drawn to the double “Z” in his antagonist’s surname, calling the head-butt “Perhaps the most decisive rite typography has been accorded in our era.” Such poetic flights, for all their idiosyncrasy, constitute a more or less natural response to the way we watch soccer today.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Legend of Nintendo”

Few people who play Nintendo games are likely to notice their fingerprints, though there are pious aficionados who vigilantly assess their work, bridling at signs of impurity like Tolstoy devotees picking over a new translation of War and Peace.
The only place to play Nintendo games was on Nintendo devices.
“If we think 20 years down the line, we may look back at the decision not to supply Nintendo games to smartphones and think that is the reason why the company is still here,” Satoru Iwata, then the company’s president, told the Wall Street Journal in 2013.
The following year, Niantic released Pokémon Go, a mobile game that thrust Nintendo back into the news.
More symptoms emerged in November, when the company released the NES Classic Edition, a miniaturized, rebooted version of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the console that had made the company a household name in Europe and America in the ’80s. The updated version was carefully calibrated to rekindle the latent passion of lapsed fans, with 30 of the most popular NES games built in.
At $59.99 per unit with no additional games, NES Classics were a low-margin item; much more important for the company was to whet the world’s appetite for Nintendo games in preparation for the Switch.
Nintendo has a few plans in motion: a partnership with Cygames Inc., a Japanese developer specializing in mobile games, and the launch in September of an online subscription service for the Switch, which will allow gamers to compete against one another and play a slate of retro titles.
In early June, Nintendo released a free online demo of the upcoming Mario Tennis Aces-a tournament game expected to be one of the first major attractions for its network service.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Zach Lowe on The Basketball Tournament and NBA crunch time”

The organizers of The Basketball Tournament, the $2 million winner-take-all pickup-style challenge entering its fifth iteration, did not know quite what to expect last year when they experimented with a radical change to crunch time: shutting off the game clock and playing until one team reaches a target score.
The Elam Ending is the brainchild of Nick Elam, a former middle school principal who got sick of NBA games ending in an endless torrent of intentional fouls.
Under Elam’s rules, trailing teams would use regular basketball – not hacking – to rally.
He settled on adding seven points at various trigger times – under 3:00 in his NBA proposal, and under 4:00 for TBT, which uses nine-minute quarters and a 30-second shot clock – because it represented a close points-per-minute match to what teams produce in typical game play.
They have had internal spitballing sessions about what the NBA game would look like without an all-powerful clock – if teams took quarter breaks whenever one reached a certain threshold of points, sources said.
How would manufacturing a dead ball look in a close, intense game? As Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers crescendoed over a furious stretch of uninterrupted play, would anyone have wanted either team stopping the action on purpose?
Of course, some NBA teams intentionally foul when they are ahead by three late in games.
The approximately four-minute Elam Ending lasted an average of almost 10 minutes in real time and featured six free throws – close to the NBA’s averages over the same length of game time, Wasch said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Understanding the’Beautiful Game'”

Laurent Dubois devotes around 10 pages of The Language of the Game to describing how soccer’s offside rule has changed over the decades.
“Negotiating the offside rule is one of the most complex and absorbing features of the game both for strikers and defenders, an intricate dance that involves positioning and timing of the most nuanced kind,” he writes.
The offside rule is the very heart and soul of what we aficionados, in exalted moods, call “The beautiful game.” Please bear with me as I explain this.
It might be easy to conclude that soccer is the sort of game that you either get or don’t get, yet Laurent Dubois takes up the noble and difficult task of trying to make soccer comprehensible and interesting to people who are used to games that follow a different logic.
One consequence of that model of organization is that The Language of the Game doesn’t work well as a reference guide, but rather as a narrative.
If you want to understand what this most popular of the world’s sports is all about, or if you already understand it and want your friends and family to share your interest, The Language of the Game is an excellent place to start.
Like an ant colony or a slime mold, the game of soccer exhibits emergent complexity: A mere handful of rules generates an astonishingly wide range of action.
That is why Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest of soccer players and thinkers, the closest thing the game had to a philosopher-king, so often spoke in paradoxes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Draymond Green sacrificed to build Golden State Warriors’ dynasty”

In the closing seconds of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, a giddy Draymond Green and Kevin Durant stood near the Golden State Warriors’ bench, high-fiving each other uncontrollably.
Golden State had just won its first title in 40 years, and Green’s prolific career was starting to take off.
Green insisted, and Armstrong, who could not be reached for comment on this story, notified the Warriors of the agreement.
Green and Durant also maintain that there was no courting until after the 2015-16 season – when Green told Durant the Warriors needed him after they lost an excruciating NBA Finals in 2016.
During the Warriors’ second-round series against New Orleans, a livid Green sent a long text at 4 a.m. to Durant after a loss, challenging him to bring more the next game.
After a late Game 1 scuffle in which Thompson shoved the ball in Green’s face, the league interviewed Green about the incident the next day.
No one anticipated Green being in such a lucrative position coming out of Michigan State.
If he achieves one of those incentives, will the Warriors be willing to pay a 30-year-old Green that much? Or would Lacob let him walk or try to trade him if Bell shows he’s capable of filling Green’s role?

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Fortnite is transforming the gaming industry”

Epic Games’ Fortnite and its presence here at the gaming industry’s largest annual convention can be felt everywhere, from the big keynote addresses of the world’s largest game publishers to the pervasive e-sports theme underscoring much of the live entertainment here in Los Angeles.
Fortnite is the free-to-play battle royale game that pushed the genre from its explosively popular beginnings on the PC with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to a worldwide phenomenon on nearly every platform.
Fortnite’s influence on the industry is readily apparent at E3, both from an economic point of view and from a game design one.
The game is forcing game studios and publishers to rethink how their products are developed, monetized, and updated over time.
At the PC Gaming Show on Monday, the developer of a new game called Mavericks: Proving Grounds announced an upcoming beta featuring 400-person and even 1,000-person battle royale modes – all in a bid to out-innovate Epic to ever-larger and more chaotic variants on the genre.
Symbols of the game company and franchise logos with battle royale Photoshopped beneath them have become an easy-to-crack a joke about the state of the game industry in 2018.
Pro gaming team Fnactic is holding Fortnite try-outs for its e-sports squad. Top Twitch streamer Ninja is also a featured special guest on the official YouTube Live E3 presentation alongside awards show host and TV presenter Geoff Keighley.
At the E3 Coliseum, where Keighley is helping produce a series of talks and interviews with game developers and celebrities, Epic Games’ Donald Mustard, its worldwide creative director, and Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo plan to discuss world-building in media and the landmark crossover Fortnite Thanos event back in May. This week in LA, Epic is even flying a 40 x 30-foot inflatable version of the Battle Bus – the aircraft that players parachute out of in the beginning of a Fortnite match – to promote the game and Epic’s celebrity and streamer tournament.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Makes a Team Great?”

“Baseball is a team game,” Pete Rose, the former player and manager, once said.
In its typical invocation, chemistry is a cop-out-an after-the-fact explanation of why a team won, especially against the odds.
Barry Zito, then a declining Giants pitcher who miraculously outdueled opposing pitcher and reigning American League MVP Justin Verlander in a game that had been billed as “One of the great mismatches of World Series history,” told me recently about the team’s postseason turning point, which he offered as proof of its chemistry.
Two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and one from Indiana University recently attempted to locate team chemistry by finding places where existing performance metrics fall short.
These players, the economists hypothesized, create chemistry-they have shown repeated ability to elevate their team above the sum of its parts.
A similar effort is under way in the major leagues, where Dacher Keltner and Hooria Jazaieri, psychologists at UC Berkeley, are conducting research with the goal of finding associations between the supposed subtle physical tells of chemistry and team success.
Russell Carleton, a writer for Baseball Prospectus, has found evidence that chemistry can be cultivated in the long term through careful organizational management-one analysis of his, for example, reveals that having less roster turnover from year to year helps a team slug more home runs.
Katerina Bezrukova, a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management, looked at the demographic breakdowns of all 30 MLB teams over five seasons, analyzing age, race, nationality, tenure, and salary, on the theory that while diversity was necessary for success, teams with players who were isolated-those without any or many demographic peers-would develop “Faultlines,” or breaks in chemistry that might be exposed and exacerbated when the team struggled.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Warriors Upped the Stakes This Offseason”

The Warriors won their third title in four seasons in a sweep, and LeBron James wasn’t even on the floor in the final four minutes of Game 4 because the Cavaliers were getting pummeled so badly.
Dynasties have defined the NBA every decade-Bill Russell’s Celtics to Magic Johnson’s Lakers to Michael Jordan’s Bulls-but it’s different with the Warriors: It’s felt like the road has been too easy, just like many fans and pundits feared it would be when Kevin Durant decided to join the Warriors on July 4, 2016.
Every team faces its own kind of adversity-David West even hinted after Game 4 that Golden State had behind-the-scenes issues that the public has “No clue” about-but it doesn’t change the fact that the Warriors still tip the scales on the court.
The Warriors are here to stay, as is the feeling from some fans that they’re ruining the NBA by turning every season into an inevitability.
The Warriors may be too good, but coaches, executives, and players around the league have an unsatisfied hunger to defeat them.
The offseason hot stove is already burning up just three days after the Warriors’ win.
Regardless of where he goes, his next team will need the talent and cerebral qualities necessary to defeat the Warriors.
No one expected the Warriors to turn into a force when Curry’s ankles couldn’t stay healthy and Draymond Green was just a second-round reserve.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Zach Lowe on Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors dynasty”

As Kevin Durant and his father, Wayne Pratt, parted Saturday morning in Cleveland after an all-night celebration, Durant drew Pratt close and cited a statistic he had seen pairing Durant and Michael Jordan as two of the only players with four scoring titles and two Finals MVP awards.
Zach talks to Warriors coach Steve Kerr about another championship, the struggles against the Rockets, re-connecting with Kevin Durant, the future of the team and much more.
Durant told Steve Nash, a Warriors consultant, as much when he called Nash from the Hamptons while still deciding whether to join Golden State in the summer of 2016.
Durant has done it before: the Slim Reaper MVP season of 2013-14, when Russell Westbrook missed 36 games and Durant tallied historic streaks of 30- and 25-point games while running a near-LeBronian volume of pick-and-rolls.
Ron Adams, a Warriors assistant who also coached Durant in Oklahoma City, thinks Durant could average at least eight assists per game if he wanted.
“He is probably the most talented player in the world,” says Bruce Fraser, a Golden State assistant and Durant confidante.
The Warriors tweaked their screening actions in Games 6 and 7, and settled during a timeout in the middle of Game 7 when it appeared they were coming apart – with Green shouting at Durant.
Of course, all those off-the-dribble skills would come in handy if Durant ever becomes the every-possession alpha dog some fans want to see – if he decides someday to make a team his own in a way Curry’s Warriors can never be.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Kevin Durant: The Dagger That Foreshadowed Warriors’ Broom”

Durant lived in the Oakland Hills last season, but he found the location desolate, so he moved to an apartment on the 54th floor of a high-rise in downtown San Francisco.
Barry Farms, the famed outdoor courts in Washington D.C., represent the hoops haven Durant is forever trying to re-create.
“He’s one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met,” says Warriors general manager Bob Myers, “Because if he’s having a hard time, he’ll tell you, ‘I’m having a hard time,’ and if he’s feeling great he’ll tell you, ‘I’m feeling great.’ You can connect with someone like that because he wears all of it. He wants so badly to be part of everything, and you have to tell him, ‘You are. You are.’ We lost when we didn’t have Kevin Durant. We won when we did.”
“The Rockets’ remade defense was longer, faster and more versatile than past incarnations. They crowded Curry and Durant 30 feet from the basket, funneling them toward the rim and inviting them to finish over 6’10” flyswatter Clint Capela.
“Remember why you’re here,” Green told Durant as the Finals opened.
“It’s for this.” After the Warriors took the title last June, Durant braced for a transformation, and it never came.
Durant picked him up at half-court, and Curry withstood incessant switches.
Durant will be watching like everyone else, swaddled in sweats at his home in the sky, 54 stories and two trophies above it all.

The orginal article.