Why Do Men Play and Watch Sports?


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Have you ever wondered why do you like to watch men running after a football? Why do you find sports exciting? As always, the answer might lie with our evolution.

In sum, there are reasons to believe that in ancestral human societies, young men, who faced the problem of gaining reproductive access to the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex, could solve it in two main ways. One way was to form male coalitions in order to fight other men and monopolize access to women. This path required displaying their physical capacities in order to be avoided as enemies and to be preferred as allies. It required also to monitor other men’s performance of physical fitness in order to be able to distinguish those men who were physically fit and could be preferred as allies or be avoided as enemies. Another way to do so was to be selected by fathers as husbands for their daughters. This path required also to display physical fitness, as well as to monitor the fitness displays of other men in order to keep up with the competition.The evolutionary problem of gaining reproductive access to the opposite sex through these paths can be partially solved by the mind interpreting the engagement in athletic competitions with other.

The complete article

Menelaos Apostolou — The Evolution Institute

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Portrait of a serial winner


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Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz. A cheater, a biter, a diver, a genius, a team man. Depending upon which camp you are in, you will have one of these emotions. You will either hate him or love him. There is no middle ground. There has never been…..

I fall in the later camp. I fell in love with this footballer when I saw him stopping a goal with his hand in a world cup match against Ghana. Suarez got a red card. His team advanced to semi final. Not a bad deal, eh ?  His journey from streets of Montevideo to Catalan capital has been an inspirational one. I present to you, Dear Readers, this piece of article which tries to find out what lurks inside the surface of this man. Why he bites ? Why he dives ? Why he stops goals with his hand ? Why is Luis Suárez…..Luis Suárez ?

So although there is a case to be made that Suárez cannot be reduced to the bites and headbutts, there is an equally compelling case that those few seconds are the most authentic he’s ever been. Suárez wears many masks, each of them true in the moment he puts them on, but perhaps nothing reveals his truest self like the mask he wears when he’s threatened, for that is the one that shows all the hurt he wants to hide.

Everyone in Uruguay knows what Suárez fought against, and rose above. That’s how he exists in the national consciousness, as someone who fights to win, no matter what. A man doesn’t bite simply because he is crazy. He bites because he is clinging to a new life, terrified of being sucked back into the one he left behind.

The mask came from Central Africa, made by the Songye tribe, famous for its warriors and for what an art broker describes as the most belligerent masks on the continent. The mask is long and oval, streaked with lines representing the scars on the face of a soldier. Some experts believe warriors wore them to hide human weakness, to frighten their enemies. They allowed normal people to trick themselves into being superhuman on the field of battle. Its eyes are blank, dead, creepy to look at for too long. These blanks serve as symbolic pools, a way for the warrior to collect and channel the spirits of the ancestors. The whole metaphor seems a bit much, but Enriquez thought it fit Suárez perfectly

This one is old but I had to share it because it so good. Dear Readers, I hope you enjoy it.

Full Article Here

Image Source – ESPN

AN INSIDE LOOK AT WWE’S UNLIKELY BUSINESS EMPIRE


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We have all grown up with WWE. It has its own fan following. But, at the end of the day it is also a business listed on the stock market. This needull looks in depth WWE as an entertainment business.

WWE’s popularity—and pro wrestling’s appeal in general—is easily explained. There’s drama and storytelling, there’s risk of bodily harm, there’s the eternal battle between good and evil. “If we are doing our jobs right and we are telling a compelling story, you’ll be enthralled, you’ll be caught up in that story,” Stephanie McMahon told me at WrestleMania 32 in Texas last April. And she’s right. According to documents submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, WWE enthralled more than 2 million live-event spectators in 2015.

The complete article

Ian Frisch — VICE Sports

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What happens if the players on a major sports team die?


After the recent Chapecoense plane crash in Colombia, many of us have been thinking the same thing: What happens when a team is completely wiped out by a disaster? I am sure there have been similar instances before (I also remember a movie based on a real life incident which had the same premise). I also searched and found that American sports leagues are not naive to the possibility of such a tragedy and they’ve formed emergency plans, commonly called “disaster drafts“.

In today’s Needull, this article by The Economist talks about the same question we have always whispered in our head, yet common sense and decency has prevented it from becoming audibly loud. It also discusses if these ‘disaster drafts’ can sometimes offer a little too many sympathy points to the affected team. The recent denial by the Chapecoense team to an offer of exemption from relegation proves that there is a limit to the generosity showered after a tragedy.

For all that Chapecoense may have lost, its sense of honour remains.

The complete article

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An Escape from Eritrea


Wherever I go, I love talking to cab drivers. With unique yet strangely similar stories of struggle and mature perspectives that can only develop if you interact with hundreds of people a day, these cab drivers are like a crash course on history, culture and politics of a place. In most of my conversations with them, I prefer to remain quiet once I have broken the ice, as they voluntarily spill out their life and insights to me.

Today I rode with Joseph from Eritrea and he shared with me some interesting stories from his country, of brutality and of hope, that led me to google about this unknown country, which in turn led me to today’s Needull.

Today’s Needull, from the latest edition of The New Yorker, talks about the escape of a few Eritreans from the despotic regime of their country. With an alarmingly high defection rate, the basic storyline in itself is not new, as athletes and sportsmen from Eritrea have often tried and, on rare occasions, succeeded to defect to other African countries during international matches.

But what makes this article so interesting is how the writer takes you through this journey from the eyes of a small town footballer turned national soccer star.  Imagine taking up a sport and striving to make to the national team, just so that you can escape from the same nation that you’re going to represent.

As you’re reading this, I’m sure Hollywood producers out there are already in process of hiring scriptwriters to paint this ‘incredible true story’ on celluloid.

At last, though, he had managed to leave Eritrea. When I asked how it felt, he said, “We are one step ahead from where we were.”

Full Article Here

Alexis Okeowo – The New Yorker

Ice driving and horse-sled racing in remotest Mongolia


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In the spirit of the weekend, something for the adventurers.

Nobody dies. Nor do the Mongolian festival-goers let the weather cramp their style. We join them in their gers, partaking of their food and drink, feeling safely embedded in a culture where I have seen only four other foreigners in as many days. “Even a good racehorse is kept out in this weather,” says Dorjee, who chats in the blizzard with his friends like I might on a temperate summer day on an English high street. Children play in the storm like New York kids in a summer park. The sculptors are disappointed the weather has ruined their work, but otherwise, not a word of a whine. Not even from me when our flight back to UB is delayed. Instead I find myself wishing the airlines might be grounded for longer than a day.

The complete article

Sophy Roberts — FT

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My Life In The Locker Room


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Good articles rarely age and needull is all about finding these gems and sharing it with all. This needull is written by a female sportswriter about her initial experiences as a woman covering sports.

I have one of the few jobs where the first thing people ask about is penises. Well, Reggie Jackson was my first. And yes, I was scared. I was 22 years old and the first woman ever to cover sports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Up until then, my assignments had been small-time: high school games and features on father-daughter doubles teams and Hacky Sack demonstrations. But now it was late September, and my editor wanted me to interview Mr. October about what it was like not to make the playoffs.

The complete article

Jennifer Briggs

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