Read Jon Liew

To understand football, or sport, and its relationship to life, read Jonathan Liew. If you can only read one sports writer, read Liew. When he is absent from these pages, even for the few days as it must be, there is a hole. No offense intended, but the gap with everyone else is galactic. And I love that it is by this particular Englishman. Turning to the article, I would bet, anything, that as the game ended and Harry Kane and Son Heung-min looked across at their bitter rivals, not-too-deep down inside they would want to play on this flowing, … Continue reading Read Jon Liew

A Football Manager’s Philosophy: Jürgen Klopp Channeling His Inner Arsenal

Arsène Wenger comes in for a lot of criticism about his stinginess. “It’s not even his money,” his critics say as they chastise him again and again for refusing to spend incredible sums of money for the next big thing, the next savior for the team. But it has always seemed apparent to me that this debate simply indicated a difference in managing philosophy, itself suggesting a profound difference in worldview. Put simply, for Wenger, it is not the result; it is the journey. It is not winning at all costs, but how you win. It is not about a … Continue reading A Football Manager’s Philosophy: Jürgen Klopp Channeling His Inner Arsenal

Sometimes People Have To Understand We Are Human Beings

Following football passionately as I have recently, it is somewhat unsettling to see the venomous, fickle criticism leveled at players by pundits and fans alike. People who are unlikely to have the heart, dedication and perseverance to walk in the shoes of their targets. It is so much easier to write, or talk, than to do. What is most remarkable is that the criticism, often hyperbolic, is quite unfair and mean-spirited, it’s central purpose to sell papers, or advertising, or a brand. It’s the time we live in. Yaya Touré really seemed to suffer an extraordinarily bad year last season … Continue reading Sometimes People Have To Understand We Are Human Beings

Player of the Season: Francis Coquelin

Arsenal would be a disaster without Alexis Sanchez. He runs and runs and runs, as if he has something to prove. If all the Arsenal players had the heart and work rate of Alexis, the team would be invincible. Özil, after a second major injury in as many years, decided that he had to grow up a bit and came back a completely different player. He’s put on heft, and sometimes you have to look closely to confirm that it’s him you see chasing down the ball. Özil realized that he had to play the game in a different, more … Continue reading Player of the Season: Francis Coquelin

Racing to the Apple Watch

In case you’ve been under a proverbial rock, the new Apple Ads are quite something. The images and ideas that they convey are captivating. A big part of their success is the theme song, certain to become iconic, I would bet. Find myself fighting the urge to pick up one of these watches. Okay, it’s not that hard to resist. Easily lost is Apple’s subtle signal to a multicultural society. If you actually see it, it’s bold: not just some ambiguous interracial hanging out, these are real couples, by all appearances appearing to engage on a serious level. In two … Continue reading Racing to the Apple Watch

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, I Smell the Stink of Some Football Men

Wish I can say something that’s not been said about the most recent turn of events at the organization everyone loves to hate. FIFA members were indicted last week by the U.S. Justice Department, of all places. Something more than the obvious. How could Sepp Blatter not resign out of simple shame? But we’ve seen that before, truth be told. How could the members not vote him out out of simple dignity? Seen that before too. It seems it must be a completely corrupt, morally bankrupt organization. But life suggests it might be more complicated than that. Something, maybe, to … Continue reading Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, I Smell the Stink of Some Football Men

Arsenal’s FA Cup Win: Hollow Celebrations

There’s little like it. Grown men in absolute joy after winning a title. Jumping up and down like ten year olds. It forces a smile; the happiness is contagious. But there is sadness in the Arsenal celebrations. Disproportionate, it borders on obscene. This is not the first time Arsenal have reacted to a victory as if they’ve been crowned kings of Europe. Or the Premier League. What is worrying is that they seem to mistake these victories as more sufficient than they are. Worse still, as if they indicate some achievement greater than they do. Some profound step on the … Continue reading Arsenal’s FA Cup Win: Hollow Celebrations

The Fantastic Michael B. Jordan

Been an MJ fan ever since haphazardly catching him in That Awkward Moment during a transatlantic flight. But like him even more after some rather simple, thoughtful comments in response to the vitriol he faces being cast as Johnny Storm . . . This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it. Sometimes you have to be the person who … Continue reading The Fantastic Michael B. Jordan

Football’s Lonely Position

This past weekend, Reading’s goalie, Adam Federici, by all accounts, kept his side in the semifinal FA Cup game against Arsenal with save after save. Goalies have a way of single-handily changing a game in this way. I did not like Reading, to be honest. Their approach to Arsenal was to bully and foul — what we have grown accustomed to as teams’ general tactic against Arsenal. But Federici’s display was unaffected by this borderline thuggery. He was stellar and outstanding. Except for that final moment. When he wasn’t. When a ball dribbled slowly off his body and slower still … Continue reading Football’s Lonely Position

Arsène Wenger: On Beauty, and Virtue, and the Journey

I spend so much time reading about Arsenal these days, it’s embarrassing. Of course it has a lot to do with their recent run of form. Actually, truth be told, the form is as miserably inconsistent as always; but they have been winning. And the chance of them ending up Second wakes me up at Four in the morning to watch the game. More truthfully, it is the glimpse of potential greatness that has me obsessed. I actually see the possibility of a title, with a few additions, and deletions. Gibbs and Ramsey and Wilshere, along with Mertesacker, Arteta are going … Continue reading Arsène Wenger: On Beauty, and Virtue, and the Journey

The Look of Friends

Ronaldo gets such a hard time for being Ronaldo, and the insufferable Football press and punditry similarly take apart Bale and play up the tension between the two. But the look on Ronaldo’s face when Bale became injured this past weekend dismantles all that — I think. It is a look of genuine concern that is quite moving. This is exactly how your friend would look standing over you.   Continue reading The Look of Friends

Jon Stewart: Why I Quit The Daily Show (the guardian)

Best article so far on JS moving on — the Brits always seem to do things better. What is interesting, though, is Stewart offers us some ideas on when we all may want to move on— It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’ Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. I was just … Continue reading Jon Stewart: Why I Quit The Daily Show (the guardian)

Women We Love: The Women of Borgen

There’s a show that you should have seen. Quite the hit abroad, and to a much more limited extent here a year or so back, Borgen deserves a review time does not now permit. But that should not stop me from at least sending a shout out. A show about super sharp, ambitious, powerful, complex women, it was the “West Wing” of Danish politics. Smart, moral, hyper-liberal — it is a show of how those sharing that left viewpoint see themselves. Prime Minister: Great work, but I want the speech to be more ambitious. Kasper Juul: Fine. What do you … Continue reading Women We Love: The Women of Borgen

Dive for Dreams or . . . Drown in Life

Maybe I should be ashamed to admit it. But I am a Zac Efron fan. I know nothing about his High School Musical days. For me, it began with Charlie St. Cloud. Say what you will about that movie — I thought much more of it than many — it brought the following into a lot of lives . . . dive for dreams or a slogan may topple you (trees are their roots and wind is wind) trust your heart if the seas catch fire (and live by love though the stars walk backward) e.e. cummings Continue reading Dive for Dreams or . . . Drown in Life

David Brooks: The Moral Bucket List

David Brooks hits a home run. Would he stick to essays about living better rather than treatises on politics . . . There is so much here that should be examined closely. The essentiality of humility and connection. We cannot walk alone, despite the cultural hype to the contrary. There is salvation in love outside ourselves . . . “should the stars walk backward” or otherwise.     David Brooks ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. … Continue reading David Brooks: The Moral Bucket List

Timmy . . . Go . . . Go

“Serious stuff. Howard did all he could to save his team in a 2-1 loss to Belgium, but he may ultimately have a much larger role: as a game-changer for soccer in the United States. “Why? The answer is simple. Timothy Matthew Howard, a 35-year-old keeper from central New Jersey and a son of a truck driver, elicited more cheers than perhaps any other player in this World Cup for single-handedly holding off Belgium for most of the game. At a basic level, he was out there on his own, sacrificing his body to protect his country’s team when the … Continue reading Timmy . . . Go . . . Go

Jose Mourinho on Mesut Özil

Mesut Özil is a player who requires “trust and confidence” in order to reach his best form, according to Jose Mourinho. Özil, who is currently at the World Cup with Germany, experienced a difficult season first season in the Premier League after joining Arsenal from Real Madrid for a club-record £42.5 million fee. He scored six goals and managed 11 assists in 37 appearances for the Gunners last season, but his level of performance in games against their title rivals was fiercely scrutinised by fans. However, Mourinho insists it’s simply a case of providing the 25-year-old with the right man-management, … Continue reading Jose Mourinho on Mesut Özil

Some Freedom for Lupita

Whether Lupita Nyong’o has permanently, or like past cultural phenomena, merely briefly, expanded conceptions of beauty is still to be played out.  But her arrangement with Lancôme means that she will never have to accept Hollywood drivel as her next project, should that notorious industry do, again, what it has done in the past, with such outside the box wonders.   *                    *                    * It goes without saying that when you’re handed the part of a lifetime, you play it to the hilt. In the case of Lupita Nyong’o, the 31-year old Oscar winner — born in Mexico, raised in Kenya, … Continue reading Some Freedom for Lupita

Café Girl: The Quintessential

The café seemed to just part when she walked in.  In that way that happens when everyone seems to look up at once.  Or inhale at the same time.  I noticed from a balcony at the back of the place, in between glimpses at The Economist, and thoughts about American democracy.  She sat next to me and did not look up for the next two hours.  I did.  It was as if . . . she were posing.  Quintessential Café Girl:  Café Babe.   Continue reading Café Girl: The Quintessential

What Umpires Still Get Right When They Get It Wrong

We act as if we tell ourselves enough times that it doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t. That if we tell ourselves that something crazy and unfair didn’t happen for that reason but some other, then we are right and it’s all good. But the truth is, in infinite, infinite ways, there is a difference. There are tiny (and not so tiny) pinpricks. The race of the pitcher, we found, also mattered, but not as much as other factors. Umpires were 10 percent less likely to expand the strike zone for African-American pitchers than for Caucasian pitchers, but race did not … Continue reading What Umpires Still Get Right When They Get It Wrong

Marina Keegan: The Opposite of Loneliness

University | 3:10 am | May 27, 2012 | By Marina Keegan Marina Keegan ’12. Photo by Joy Shan.   The piece below was written by Marina Keegan ’12 for a special edition of the News distributed at the class of 2012′s commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22. We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up … Continue reading Marina Keegan: The Opposite of Loneliness

“I Love You, I Love You”

At one time, maybe still, you could have read everywhere about “The Secret” and “Law of Attraction,” and this ubiquity, and the mystical panacea they promised, resulted in an understandable, predictable backlash. But if you get beyond this, you will see that their essential principles merely recast basic tenets of various religions, philosophers and self-help books. Akhil Sharma himself recasts these tenets quite nicely in The Trick of Life in this week’s NYT Sunday Review.  Lost in depression, inertia and the fear driving them, Sharma found the way out simply to “be outside myself” because “[m]y mind had become uninhabitable.”  … Continue reading “I Love You, I Love You”

Heart and Spirit

In England, they call it spirit.  We call it heart.  You can have all the skill, all the intelligence in the world, but without it, you will crumble. Arsenal found some yesterday, tying Man City 1-1, both teams missing goal opportunities that could have won it. And yesterday, Chelsea, well, let’s let Mourinho tell it– We lost against a team who are difficult, but against a team who were better than us in terms of spirit and mentality. That’s the last thing my teams are usually guilty of: normally, they don’t lose because the opponents are stronger in terms of … Continue reading Heart and Spirit

Tiny Pinpricks that Disrupt, Distract and Debilitate

‘Enough is enough’: the fight against everyday sexism Laura Bates The Guardian, Saturday 29 March 2014 When Laura Bates set up her blog Everyday Sexism, she was told to relax: the battle for equality was pretty much won, wasn’t it? Here, she looks at the extraordinary pressures on girls today. ‘People didn’t want to acknowledge sexism, or talk about it. And it wasn’t just men who took this view; it was women, too.’ Photograph: Getty Images Everyone has a tipping point. The funny thing is that when mine came, in March 2012, it wasn’t something dramatic. It was just another week … Continue reading Tiny Pinpricks that Disrupt, Distract and Debilitate

Images of Who We Are: Mother And Daughter, 37-Years Apart

by Ugne Henriko People often comment on the similarities between 25-year-old Lithuanian photographer Ugne Henriko and her mother Laimute Vasyliene, but it was completing the Mother And Daughter series that really brought it home. “My mother cried when she saw the pictures,” Henriko says. “She laughed and cried at the same time – she couldn’t believe it.” To explore the relationship between them, Henriko recreated images taken 37 years earlier, when her mother was an 18-year-old photography student in the Soviet Union. She not only wanted to explore the idea of being a “copy” of someone else, but also to … Continue reading Images of Who We Are: Mother And Daughter, 37-Years Apart

Defining Cool: Patrick O’Neale, football coach, 45 (London)

I like to wear one thing that stands out – today it’s the boots, by Oliver Sweeney – and the rest I’m not worried about. I’m in trainers or football boots all week, so I like to have on a nice pair of shoes the rest of the time. Today’s a Jimi Hendrix day – that’s what I’m listening to right now. I love the man, I love the guitar. When I’m cruising around, I like to plug myself in and get myself going. I’m very much a family person. I live with my wife and two beautiful children. My nine-year-old son kiteboards, … Continue reading Defining Cool: Patrick O’Neale, football coach, 45 (London)

Good People Fail

Been regretting my recent conclusion that Arsène Wenger should step aside because, frankly, he comes across as a good guy. A nice man. I don’t know him, of course, but there has been nothing about the way he has conducted himself that suggests anything but a quality individual. He is thoughtful and reflective, balanced and nuanced. He suggests honesty, and the most important quality of all, integrity. You can have a coffee with him, or a pint, and likely find much to talk about. He strikes me as that professor we use to like talking to. His pregame responses this … Continue reading Good People Fail

Arsenal: Fourth at Best

Last week I fretted that Arsenal’s squeaker victory over struggling Tottenham was a sign of being on borrowed time. And this weekend, the club celebrated its one thousandth game under Arsène Wenger with a shellacking–its own–from what they had declared, from coach to player, the most important game of the season. It was over in five minutes, with Chelsea’s second goal, and certainly within fifteen, when a red card for a penalty-area handball reduced the side to ten and the consequent penalty increased the lead to three. But to be frank, even the first goal seemed to give Chelsea an insurmountable … Continue reading Arsenal: Fourth at Best

Fighting the Good Fight: Bethann Hardison

But for individuals like Bethann Hardison, we would be a lot worse off. While the intractable persistence of racism engenders cancerous cynicism and bitterness, pathological individualism and debilitating insularity, and, yes, self-hate in many, there are those who persist in little, seemingly insignificant steps that do matter, that are impactful, that are largely self-less, and that are just about doing the right thing. There intense and noble actions seem ill-equipped to win the broader struggle, or even prevail permanently, lasting as long as the hyper-passionate, hyper-articulate individual — how we often we have read of some pioneer, some prior movement … Continue reading Fighting the Good Fight: Bethann Hardison

Men’s Men: George Clooney

George Clooney is the quintessential man’s man, don’t let anyone try to tell you different.  And they’re all really, really happy to see that he might have finally gotten over whatever has been going on to roll with a woman they quite expect him to . . . Amal Alamuddin is an English barrister who has handled cases before various International Courts, been an adviser to Kofi Annan, and represented Julian Assange. Bonafide Babe. Bonafide Brains. Continue reading Men’s Men: George Clooney

Women We Love (Now): Professor Hill

She was a Yale Grad.  Professor of Law.  Worked in two positions for the government that involved caring about others. And she was treated very, very badly. Vilified does not quite convey it. If you think about it, she really had no incentive at all to lie. Nada. Zilch. She didn’t even want to testify. Her accused, however, did have this incentive. And he testified with righteous indignation, passion, and the complete absence of shame. In retrospect, there can be no reasonable doubt left. You just don’t come up with that stuff out of whole cloth. Silent, seething, petty and minor, … Continue reading Women We Love (Now): Professor Hill