Almanac Weekend Reading : 13-15 February

The anticipation builds for both the ICC World Cup and the approaching NAB Challenge.

With this weekend’s reads, we go into the world of NFL football, beer and coffee and soccer.

We also bring you an example of what investigators look for when there’s a sniff of match fixing a-foot and there’s a great profile of a sporting films pioneer who recently passed away and a great read for any aspiring writer or journalist. We hope you enjoy them.


From SB Nation’s OutSports

Michael Sam made headlines last year as the first openly gay man to be drafted to an NFL team. In less than 12 months, Sam has been cut from two NFL rosters (St Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys team lists) and is now rolling the dice on a last ditch effort to find a spot on an NFL list this off season. Statistically Sam should be a walk up start. So, asks Cyd Zeigler in this report from SB Nation’s Out Sports, why isn’t a team even prepared to have him on a practice squad?

“It’s not hard to understand why the collective rejection of Sam might raise some eyebrows. You can dissect his college and nascent professional career many ways – But no matter how you look at it, the NFL snub Sam has experienced over the last six months is literally, statistically, factually unheard of.”


From the Boston Globe.

Earlier this week, we launched The Foody Almanac and the response from readers has been great so far. Most people enjoy a beer. Most people like a good coffee. But both together? That might be a whole other thing. This report we found in the The Boston Globe details the exploits of some foodie aficionados determined to combine the two in a palatable format. Could this take off in Australia?

“In St. Louis, Schlafly Beer teamed with prominent roaster Kaldi’s Coffee for a brew that is available seasonally. Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, last year started brewing a coffee beer called James Bean with a local roaster. Narragansett Beer in Providence, last year released a coffee milk stout made with Autocrat Coffee, and it sold out in a week. This year, they’ve released it again in much larger quantities.”



Sports wagering is big business. That’s hardly news to people who watch sport. The competition for the punters hard-earned is fierce and bookies are spending record amounts of money convincing you to ‘invest’ with them. Sporting codes all over the world are investing unprecedented sums of money in integrity departments as well, as the temptation for easy money – and people ready to offer the opportunity to take it – increases. If you’ve ever wondered what kinds of things spark the attention of people charged with monitoring and administering integrity, and what bookies and punters look for to avoid getting stung themselves, the following article a great example. The Footy Almanac makes no allegation that Denys Molchanov is guilty of anything other than losing a Challenger Tour match, but we present this read to you as an example of the kinds of things that can trigger integrity investigations.

“Agustin Velotti went up a break in the second set and by this time, there was little doubt as to what was happening.  The prices in the market were no longer reflecting anything to do with what was happening in the match… One might suggest that someone already knew that the break would happen. In fact, one might suggest that someone knew precisely how the match would end.”


From Shoot Farken

It’s no secret we’re fans of Shoot Farken. This article is a great piece of work by Engl Schmidl. Much was made of the Iraqi and Iranian teams meeting in the Quarter Finals of the recent Asian Cup given their strife-torn histories. For most people, the Palestinian minnows were everyone’s favourite underdogs. But what about their neighbour, Israel? Although they’re a part of European football these days (for obvious reasons) the Asian Confederation brass has some questions that need to be answered about the legacy of Jewish football – or specifically the lack of its acknowledgement – in our region

“The Israeli team was a motley collection of local and foreign-born Jews: the team’s coach, Yosef Merimovich, was born in Cyprus; its young star Mordechai Spiegler was born in the Soviet Union; defender David Primo hailed from Bulgaria. It was a team that in many ways represented the hopes of a nation trying to find its place in its neighbourhood and in the world after the horrors of World War 2 and the Holocaust. Sixty-seven years after it declared itself a nation, Israel is still trying to find its place…”


From the Shirley Povich Centre

In the social media realms, the hashtag conversation #Adviceforyoungjournos was extremely popular. In light of that conversation and the ethos of The Footy Almanac, we present this longread from ESPN luminary Wright Thompson on the ins, outs, highs, lows and everything in between when it comes to being a journalist or writer. It’s essential reading if you or anyone you know, aspires to join the fourth estate.

“I was knocking on the door of a crack house one time. It was like a real crack house; the front door was on hinges. I had to go up to the second or third floor and knock on the door of the family of this basketball player. I think I was in a yellow Mustang rental car, which was very conspicuous. I called [my editor] and I was like, ‘This is a crack house, like a real crack house.” And he said, “I don’t care if you take two to the chest, you’re knocking on that door.” And then hung up. So it was very sort of high energy, high pressure… I write better than anyone who writes faster and faster than anyone who writes better.”


From Bleacher Report

Ed Sabol is hardly a household name in sports, but his influence is felt everytime you watch a live sports broadcast or sports documentary. As the creator of NFL Films, the Sabol’s (His son, Steve – the on-camera face of NFL Films passed away in 2012) were the trailblazers of presenting sport as entertainment. Dating back to the 1960s Ed and Steve presented sport in a way that had never been seen before. Always emulated, but rarely bettered, producers and directors of live sport from around the world still try to capture the aggression, the sounds and the emotion of sport that are the hallmarks of an NFL Films production. Bleacher Report pays tribute to a visionary and an artist. (contains links to examples of NFL Films productions if you’ve never seen any of their presentations before)

“Take five minutes to watch some clips from They Call it Pro Football. Don’t worry much about the football itself. Soak in the atmosphere: coaches in suits, fans in fedoras, cheerleaders with feathers in their hair, announcers with cigarettes in their hands. Listen to the lingo. Note the hairstyles and the cars outside the stadium. NFL Films documented American popular cultural history as much as it documented football history. The Sabols’ creative vision yielded something timeless and seamless. We witness our grandparents, wearing unfamiliar clothes from a forgotten past, participating in an event which we instantly recognize.”


Enjoy your weekend!



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