Category Archives: Disgruntled Fan Feature

Slightly-erratically scheduled, full-length commentaries on major issues in sports.

Flying At Your Own Level

Last weekend I was able to watch the Academy Award winning documentary Icarus. Bryan Fogel’s filmic journey into the world of international athletic doping, from experimenting amateur cyclist all the way through to playing midwife to the exposé that led to Russian athletes being (conditionally) banned from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, is either shocking or business as usual, depending upon your level of sports cynicism going into the viewing.

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Jasmin Bambur of United States during the Alpine Skiing – Men’s Super-G, Sitting at PyeongChang: an antidote to Icarus?

It so happened that, after finishing the movie and turning back over from Netflix to regular broadcast programming, I stumbled upon NBCSN’s coverage of the Winter Paralympics, also coming to you from PyeongChang, South Korea. I caught a showing of the men’s Super-G competitions, both standing and seated, and if it wasn’t quite as spectacular a show as the regular Olympics alpine events, it was at least athletes in competition and striving towards being the best.

The juxtaposition of those two programs I watched, the scandals of Icarus and the Paralympic competition, coming one right after the other, suggested a bigger picture, and perhaps the possibility that the one event provided the correct answer to the other.

Continue reading Flying At Your Own Level


The NHL In The Penalty Box

This is a feature that I’ve been meaning to write for weeks…but haven’t been able to do so.

No, the post-Super Bowl hangover did not help. Seeing the team of my youth finally win the big one pushed a lot of other considerations aside, for sure–but that didn’t really last this long.

Nor was I taking my own advice, from a couple of years ago, and indulging in a well-timed sports sabbatical during the deadest period of the calendar–though that idea remains wise.

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The USA women’s Olympic team: the best thing in hockey this season. The NHL–not so much.

No, I haven’t been able to write this hockey-centric feature post for almost a month now because, frankly, I haven’t been able to make the necessary confession–not even to myself. But I guess the time has now come:

Hello, my name is Stephen, and I am no longer a hockey-holic.

Continue reading The NHL In The Penalty Box


There is a Hopi term, Koyaanisqatsi, that has had some cultural currency for a while now, thanks to a unique film with that name made a few decades ago. The term translates to “unbalanced life,” or, as the film’s tagline had it, “life out of balance.”

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Myles Jack and Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars: definitely NOT playing for New Mexico State

I mention this because one of our favorite sports, football, has kindly given us in recent weeks a sterling example of the difference between balance and lack thereof, in terms of the game’s competitiveness.

For one side of that coin, the NFL, its purposeful cultivation of competitive balance may turn out to be the league’s saving grace; on the other hand, college football’s decided lack of balance, while it may not spell the game’s doom, is certainly a part of what holds the whole enterprise back.

Continue reading Footballisqatsi

Groundpuck Day

Today is January 1st, New Year’s Day, and for puckheads, that can only mean one thing:

The Flyers are still in last place.

Well, ahem, yes, that’s technically true, but for the majority of hockey fans out there, the first day of the year has come to mean another installment of the NHL’s best–and, weirdly, worst–idea in a long time: the Winter Classic.

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The 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field: I feel like I’ve been here before…

The outdoor game has been a big hit for the league, but there have always been minor issues with the presentation of the game–and, apparently, folks are beginning to notice that fact. A recent video made the rounds on the web suggesting that maybe, just maybe, there might be better places to play the Winter Classic than in football and baseball stadiums that are in no way designed to host hockey games.

Gee, if only someone had had that idea sooner. Oh, wait… Continue reading Groundpuck Day

The Mystery Of NBA’s Arc

Why are there two three-point lines on an NBA half-court?

We tend to think of the three point arc on an NBA basketball court as one continuous line, but in fact that’s not true. There actually are three separate but joined lines that define three-point distance in an NBA game: there’s the actual arc that curves 23 feet and 9 inches away from the center of the basket, and then there’s the straight 22-foot lines that parallel the sidelines on each side of the width of the court. All those lines join at a couple of soft corners to form one continuous stripe that defines three-point range.

OK, that’s all easy to understand; it’s even easier to visualize when looking at the court versus describing it. (You can see all of this laid out in the diagram available at this site.)

What’s not easy to understand, if you pause to think about it, is why that’s supposed to make sense.

Continue reading The Mystery Of NBA’s Arc