What happened to the sports-rumor industrial complex?

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Introductory phrases which should be withdrawn with immediate effect: This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but here I have to make a special plea for my own tribulations because no one else will do it for me.

For many years this was a zone of spontaneous regeneration, a perpetual motion machine that could have slowed worryingly every once in a while, but always restarted on its own and happily zoomed forward.

For this reason, I would have expected it to happen through a nuclear holocaust, let alone the small matter of a global epidemic of disease. The resilience of unlikely stories and random athlete speculation that I instinctively ranked among the few likely survivors after a Deep Impact-style asteroid collision, but it seems the fragility of the Strange Threads ecosystem has gone proved to be much more sensitive than initially thought.

Unfortunately, a general improvement in moral standards does not appear to be the driving cause of this disappearance. A stroll through the city streets shows the real cause: The fact that offices are closed, shops closed and pubs padlocked reveals that what was once the breeding ground for questionable stories is silent, sterile and still.

These are some of the best sources for sports rumors and we’re often linked: The sensational piece of gossip gleaned from the Sunday night pub could resurface when the wearer – patient zero, to use the lingo of our time – got his way. morning coffee on Monday morning before being shared with co-workers about an hour later.

Obviously, if you only go to your own kitchen for a cup of Maxwell House before wearily logging into Zoom for work, then the rumor mill is having a hard time getting started.

Over the past week or so, your columnist has been doing his best, approaching groups of people blowing steam from their take-out mugs into coffee trucks, trying to get a sporting discussion going. Have they heard of this boy? What about this boy?

The only significant finding was my surprise at how resistant people are to complete strangers who approach them to ask them questions.

The best I could find was listening to a couple who worked in the newspapers outside Mardyke Arena last Tuesday; As I sipped my latte in silence, I strained my ears to understand what they were saying about a Serbian tennis player and his plans for Australia.

The obvious problem with this kind of directly overheard discussion is that the substance of the discussion is not filtered through the consciousness of others – some of them tend to exaggerate, others to underestimate, and a good one. many are inclined to completely misunderstand the story and substitute random names into the story. Is it really even a rumor if someone doesn’t materialize the story while sharing it with a third party?

I hasten to add that this is part of my general contribution to the great human comedy, and not a plea for the matter.

Any honest reporter will tell you they’re publishing facts, not rumors, but any scrupulously honest reporter will go further and list stories that shake the foundation of the state… and simple.

For that reason alone, the sooner this pandemic ends, the better. Otherwise, how to revive one of the great domestic industries of the time?

Novak: The gift that keeps on giving

In all fairness, Novak Djokovic is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

The back and forth about him trying to get into Australia is almost the least interesting aspect of Djokovic’s story.

For example, Serbian’s Weird Beliefs provide endless entertainment – take these quotes from June 2020: “This is something that is not related to any form of official way of presenting nutrition and how you should eat and drink.

“I know people who through energetic transformation, through the power of prayer, through the power of gratitude, have succeeded in turning the most toxic food, or perhaps the most polluted water, into l most curative water.

“Scientists have proven in (one) experiment that molecules in water react to our emotions to what has been said.”

My favorite piece of the above is ‘scientists have proven’, although even that nonsense pales next to the revelation that he cried for three days after having elbow surgery in 2018 – not because of the pain. , but he felt that he had “failed himself” because he had not healed his injury himself.

“I was trying to avoid getting on this table because I’m not a fan of surgeries or drugs,” Djokovic said.

“I just try to be as natural as possible, and I believe our bodies are self-healing mechanisms.

“I never want to find myself in a situation where I have to have another surgery again. “

I’m not reproducing Djokovic’s snot to make fun of him – well not really – but to show that the best way to illustrate the sheer silliness of these guys is to allow them to provide the examples themselves.

You could call it the evidence-based approach, for lack of a better term.

“The Athletic” against the newspapers

The Athletic must be bought by the New York Times, I see.

Rumors have been circulating about this for some time, but they have been confirmed in practice, and a hefty price tag of $ 500 million (around € 657 million).

How it works in real life we ​​haven’t learned yet, but if you’re not familiar with how The Athletic works, it offers coverage by sport and also by city – if you live in Miami then there is has dedicated coverage of this city’s sports teams.

To show that the irony is still alive, however, in recent days a few people have referred to a comment from one of The Athletic’s founders, Alex Mather, when the website launched in 2017.

“We will wait for all the local papers and let them bleed continuously until we are the last ones standing,” Mather said.

In an interview with a newspaper.

The New York Times, in this case.

Climb all the mountains. And write about it

There are top quality climbing books, from Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer to – a particular favorite – Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis.

Good company for Time on Rock: A Climber’s Route into the Mountains by Anna Fleming. His account of his development as a mountaineer is encouragement and confirmation, besides explaining exactly what the appeal of rock climbing is to the non-climbers among us.

Contact: michael.moynihan@examiner.ie

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