Summary of “World Cup Preview 2018: Messi vs. Ronaldo, Magic Cats, Iceland!!, and More”

In the summer of 2010, he successfully predicted the outcomes of all seven of Germany’s World Cup matches, unerringly choosing to eat first from the box marked by what would prove to be the winning nation’s flag.
Any run-of-the-mill billion-dollar sporting event can produce one magical animal; in less than a decade, the World Cup has generated an entire animal-oracle tradition.
It’s an open question whether winning the World Cup is a reasonable criterion for establishing an individual soccer player’s greatness.
That’s probably why soccer fans tend not to care too much about whether Messi or Ronaldo ever win the World C-ha! I’m kidding.
Eight years ago, the legendary Argentine star turned hapless Argentine manager Diego Maradona ran over a journalist on the way to his own World Cup squad announcement; I sometimes think that Messi has a better chance of being named the king of Faerie than of winning a World Cup with Argentina.
If you tune in only for the World Cup you’re more likely to remember him as the Uruguayan chaos agent who’s been ejected from the past two tournaments, first for a fateful handball against Ghana, in 2010, and then, in 2014, for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a match.
The tight-knit Icelandic squad followed its incredible run through Euro 2016-where it beat mighty, or, anyway, mighty-ish, England to reach the quarter-final-by qualifying for its first-ever World Cup.
France won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000, but has spent the past eighteen years Gallically declining to win anything.

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Summary of “Machine learning predicts World Cup winner”

The 2018 soccer World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday and is likely to be one of the most widely viewed sporting events in history, more popular even than the Olympics.
One way to gauge likely outcomes is to look at bookmakers’ odds.
These companies use professional statisticians to analyze extensive databases of results in a way that quantifies the probability of different outcomes of any possible match.
What do these new techniques predict as the likely outcome of the 2018 World Cup?
These guys use a combination of machine learning and conventional statistics, a method called a random-forest approach, to identify a different most likely winner.
So if a particular decision tree includes lots of parameters, it becomes easy to see which ones have the biggest impact on the outcome and which do not.
Groll and co use exactly this approach to model the 2018 World Cup.
“According to the most probable tournament course, instead of the Spanish the German team would win the World Cup,” they say.

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Summary of “Denis Shapovalov Is the Thrilling, Gutsy Teen of Tennis”

I am walking with Denis Shapovalov on the grounds of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden when a woman approaches him and, after apologizing for being a bother, wishes him luck.
Indian Wells has lots of open practice courts, allowing fans an opportunity to get quite close to their favorite players.
Just a quick glint in a player’s eye that sizes up the stranger-is it a fan? A sponsor? A tournament volunteer? But Shapovalov is, for now, unusually unguarded.
Throughout the tournament, Shapovalov had been staying at the family home of close friend and fellow Canadian tennis player Félix Auger-Aliassime.
Occasionally, you can get the sense that, when a lower-ranked player takes the court against an all-time great like Nadal or Federer, they do so with the modest hope of just not getting blown off the court.
“You can’t just put the ball in and hope Rafa misses. It’s not going to happen. He’ll just run you around the court and make the shots he needs to make. When I play the top guys, I make sure that if I have an opening, I go for it.”
“As a person,” he says, “I find myself to be shy and not that exciting, but on the court I feel like a different animal. We’re entertainers. That’s our job: to give the fans a good show. I grew up wanting to play on the big stages in front of all these fans, so when I finally get the chance to do it, I’m so happy that I let myself go. For me, I feel like the point is to go out there and express your emotions and your feelings for the game.”
“The obligations they must have? Players like Roger and Rafa can’t go anywhere unnoticed, within tennis and outside of tennis. They can’t go to malls. They can’t go to the movies and just relax. They always have to be cautious. And then they somehow balance everything and still play at the highest level. If I were in their position, I don’t know if I could do it for as long as Roger or Rafa. I’ll probably retire earlier than…well, definitely earlier than Roger!”.

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Summary of “From 3 miles away, Patrick Reed’s family wept as they watched him win”

Patrick Reed brushed them all aside to win his first major, at Augusta no less.
Kessler Karain just watched Patrick Reed win his first major.
Patrick won the Masters three miles from where his father, Bill, mother, Jeannette, and younger sister, Hannah, watched with family friends Sunday evening from their Augusta home.
It’s Patrick and his wife, Justine, and her family on one side, and Bill, Jeannette, Hannah and their family on the other.
Patrick Reed said this when asked Sunday if his family’s absence made the triumph bittersweet: “I’m just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments.”
“If you caught that moment in Patrick’s press conference when he was asked about Rory’s comment, you can see a little smirk on his face. If I was Rory, I wouldn’t have done that. Yeah, Patrick was going to be nervous, but the enormity of the moment is never too big for him.”
“It was a picture show in slow motion. Patrick running out of the back door where we lived in San Antonio, near the sixth green on the course. Hitting out of that bunker. Playing a loop of four or five holes we could walk when Patrick was a young kid. All the trips to the juniors and the amateur events.”
Patrick made his par to beat Fowler by one, and three miles away, his parents and sister grew more and more emotional as they absorbed the scene.

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Summary of “UConn coach Geno Auriemma is only pretending to be okay”

He’s mad at his team for lots of things, like not keeping their hands up on defense, which is really just a symptom of a larger disease.
He’s mad at himself for not making them play like some of his other great teams, who walked into opposing arenas like wolves.
While the team stretches, Auriemma talks to the television crew who’ll broadcast tonight’s game, complaining with his wry sense of humor about his team’s lack of basketball sense and fundamentals.
No team in the history of sports has faced the UConn Huskies’ ongoing problem.
Nine years ago, Auriemma took USA Basketball to play in Russia against teams with international stars.
“Everyone else thinks you have a flawless team,” he says, “And you’re the only one who’s miserable. Before you know it, the season is over and you didn’t have any fun. I have to keep reminding everybody, myself included, we have to celebrate every little thing we do.” He’s given the Huskies three specific goals for their final three regular season games against Tulane, SMU and South Florida.
Auriemma wears his emotions – particularly anger at his team’s mistakes – on his sleeve.
Yeah, he’s won 1,000 games … but part of him internalizes the common criticism that he’s not coaching D-1 men or in the NBA. It’s a criticism he levels at himself from time to time, as he fights the urge to diminish his own accomplishments.

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Summary of “Is Fandom Really Worth It?”

Following a loss, fans are more likely than usual to eat unhealthy food, be unproductive at work, and-in the case of the Super Bowl-die from heart disease.
What about fans of the winning team? Well, their testosterone levels tend to increase, which may account for why triumphant fans are more likely than other fans to suffer a postgame traffic fatality if the score was close.
Rival fans’ treatment of one another is hardly more reassuring.
A recent neuroimaging study found that fans experienced greater pleasure when watching a rival team fail, as opposed to non-rivals.
The same subjects were significantly more willing to heckle, threaten, or hit rival fans.
Fans in another study reported feeling schadenfreude when reading about the injury of a rival team’s player, and gluckschmerz when later reading about the player’s unexpectedly speedy recovery.
A landmark 1976 study described fans’ tendency to embrace a winning team as “Basking in reflected glory,” or birg.
Sports fans are inclined to respond to reminders of mortality with optimism, and to remember victories much more clearly than defeats.

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Summary of “The Winners and Losers of the 2018 Academy Awards”

Let’s take stock of the biggest winners and losers from Sunday night’s ceremony-from The Shape of Water to Jimmy Kimmel to hot dog cannons.
Winner: Jimmy Kimmel’s Monologue After overseeing the biggest debacle in Oscars history last year, Kimmel came to play in 2018.
Kimmel’s best contribution-slash innovation-came when he promised a Jet Ski to the Oscar winner with the night’s shortest acceptance speech.
Winner: Rita Moreno What would you call an 86-year-old EGOT winner wearing the same dress she wore when she accepted an Oscar in 1962, 56 years later? A flex to end all flexes.
Winner(s): Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish If these two aren’t the hosts of next year’s Oscars, we all lose.
Winner: Roger Deakins The 14th time is the charm! But seriously, this is such a cathartic win for Deakins, who’s been robbed at least a few times of a Best Cinematography Oscar.
Loser: Surprises One of the downsides of having so many awards shows that precede the Oscars is that certain categories feel like they’ve been decided months in advance.
Winner: The Shape of Water Yes, turns out a movie about fish sex can win Best Picture! The Shape of Water’s Oscars-leading 13 nominations were a pretty good indicator that Guillermo del Toro’s film would fare well on Sunday, and though it ended up nabbing only four of those awards, two of them ended up being in the biggest categories-Best Director for del Toro, and Best Picture.

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Summary of “The Super Bowl 52 Super Bag”

The next year, I wrote Super Bag II: Half in the Bag in Indianapolis after nearly overdosing on bronchitis medication.
I can’t remember why Super Bag III didn’t happen in 2013, but the reason was probably, “I’m in New Orleans and there’s a casino two blocks from my hotel - Super Bag III can go to hell.” Super Bag III: Legacy Edition belatedly posted in 2014, followed by Super Bag IV: A Little Deflated in 2015.
Q: Just curious - how do you feel knowing that Giants fans will be rooting for the Pats in the Super Bowl?- Ned, Clark, N.J. BS: You mean, because you hate the Eagles so much? That’s the reason, right?
Go Pats!- Victor, Hoboken, N.J. BS: What the hell? Giants fans are ROOTING for the Patriots? I asked a few Giants fan friends and they confirmed that - thanks to Eli’s legacy, their last two Super Bowl wins, some residual affection for Belichick shutting down Montana’s Niners and Kelly’s Bills in back-to-back weeks in 1990, and, of course, their unabashed hatred for the Eagles - nearly all of them are rooting against Philly.
Why did the notoriously private Brady pick the two weeks before the Super Bowl to release his own infomercial/pseudo-reality show? Because he’s won five Super Bowls and thinks he’s invincible, that’s why.
Q: Time for your annual answer to the “What Super Bowl halftime show song will best represent how the game is going for the Patriots?” I know we peaked with “Beautiful Day” and “Free Fallin'”, but last year, Lady Gaga had an unbelievable entry with “A Million Reasons.” The Patriots were giving their fans a million reasons to “Quit the show,” to leave the game and give up on their team.
Q: Let’s pretend Foles wins the Super Bowl isn’t that a worst-case situation for Wentz? Has a backup QB ever won a Super Bowl after the starter was injured, then the starter maintained his status as a top-tier QB?- Charlie, Chicago.
Eagles over Patriots Of their 27 playoff victories during the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots got lucky five times: 2006 in San Diego, 2012 against Baltimore, Super Bowl 49 against Seattle, last year’s Super Bowl against Atlanta and two weeks ago against the Jaguars.

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Summary of “The Winners and Losers From the NFL’s Conference Championship Games”

Welcome to the conference-championships edition of Winners and Losers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game against the New England Patriots.
Another defensive stop, they win the game, and we get a team besides the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
We will lump it in with all the other incredible comeback wins in critical games the Patriots have played.
Winner: Patriots Conspiracy Theorists There are two types of NFL fans: ones who believe the NFL is rigged to prevent the New England Patriots from succeeding, because of stuff like this-note, all of these people are New England Patriots fans-and those who believe the NFL rigs things to ensure the success of the New England Patriots, because of stuff like this.
Winner: Flea-flickers Four teams played in Sunday’s conference championship games, and three successfully executed flea-flickers.
The laceration January 21, 2018 And after Tom Brady pulled off the win? TWELVE STITCHES. To add to the Tom Brady legacy: Four days before leading the Patriots to their eighth Super Bowl in 16 seasons, No. 12 got 12 stitches beneath his right thumb, per league sources.
Tom Brady won the AFC championship game at age 40 with 40 stitches keeping his thumb from falling off.

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Summary of “What bizarro timeline might have looked like”

A December loss to the Vikings opens up the race in the NFC North, but the Packers sweep the Lions in Week 17 to secure the 4-seed in the NFC. Josh Bellamy holds onto a Mike Glennon pass in the end zone in Week 1, giving the Bears an unexpected 24-23 victory over the Falcons.
Two weeks after their loss to the Bears, Atlanta’s season gets worse when Golden Tate’s catch is ruled a touchdown on the field and left unchanged on review, giving the Lions a 33-30 victory over the Falcons.
The Giants hold out Odell Beckham Jr. for the first two weeks of the season after he suffers a high ankle sprain during the preseason.
Sherman misses the first six weeks of the season, and the surging Rams take advantage of replacement Jeremy Lane in a Week 5 victory, but the future Hall of Famer comes back for the final three months and solidifies a defense missing Cliff Avril and with injury issues at linebacker.
Mannion does enough to pull out a narrow victory over the Titans, which sets up a winner-take-all game in Week 17 for the sixth seed in the NFC with …. The 49ers, who get a breakout season from Garoppolo.
Once Allen Robinson tears his left ACL in Week 1, the Jaguars are essentially dependent upon Leonard Fournette, and while they announce themselves as contenders by blowing out the Steelers, they fade as Fournette tires during the second half of the season.
A big win against the Titans in Week 4 buys Savage another week, but when he struggles in the first half against Kansas City, O’Brien makes the halftime change to Watson, who very nearly leads the Texans back to beat the undefeated Chiefs.
Koo proceeds to deliver a much-needed solid season for the Chargers at kicker, including a third game winner against the Raiders in Week 6.

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