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Author Archive for Aaron Timms

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‘I wake up and I’m a baby’: an NFL star’s journey into ayahuasca

The former Jets and Cardinals player says a series of hallucinogenic trips he took as part of a documentary helped him understand himself more deeplyIt was a few hours into his first ayahuasca treatment that Kerry Rhodes vomited a foetus into a bucket …

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How did the Golden State Warriors become the team no one likes?

The Warriors still want to be the newcomers, the radicals shaking up the sport. But they’re the establishment nowAfter Detroit’s Chauncey Billups-inspired demolition of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 finals, perhaps the NBA’s greatest post-season u…

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Drake’s Toronto superfandom: annoying, ludicrous and completely understandable

The rapper has spent the last six weeks making the Raptors’ playoff run about him rather than the team, but celebrity fans are part of the NBA’s heritageTo get the most obvious controversy out of the way first, the debate over whether Drake – Toronto’s…

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LeBron James arrives in LA with his greatness confirmed. What does he do now?

The spectacle of his late career will be as much about watching the emergence of LeBron the cultural figure as the twilight of LeBron the playerAt the end of each preview for The Shop, LeBron James’s new discussion show on HBO, appears the tagline, “I …

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LeBron James arrives in LA with his greatness confirmed. What does he do now?

The spectacle of his late career will be as much about watching the emergence of LeBron the cultural figure as the twilight of LeBron the playerAt the end of each preview for The Shop, LeBron James’s new discussion show on HBO, appears the tagline, “I …

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Are super-nerds really ruining US sports?

Jayson Werth is the latest athlete to complain that data and analytics are taking the joy out of sports. Can numbers live alongside individual brilliance?Are nerds ruining American sport? Recently retired baseball player Jayson Werth certainly think so…

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Are super-nerds really ruining US sports?

Jayson Werth is the latest athlete to complain that data and analytics are taking the joy out of sports. Can numbers live alongside individual brilliance?Are nerds ruining American sport? Recently retired baseball player Jayson Werth certainly think so…

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How football coaches became the vanguard of American conservatism

Coaches have long sacralized the gridiron as the fundament of America, extolling it alongside faith, family and the military as a setting stone of the social order. It’s down to nostalgia – and fearIn a summer of reachy takes in football, University of…

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The Stone-Lalas dumbumvirate sums up Fox’s botched World Cup coverage

The broadcaster’s efforts at Russia 2018 were the TV equivalent of Marouane Fellaini, a player who tries to do everything and succeeds at almost nothingRatings in the US for this year’s World Cup are down significantly on 2014 and if reports are correc…

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Mexico’s mistake at the World Cup was to peak at the first obstacle

El Tri were breathtaking in their opening match against Germany but they stumbled badly after failing to adapt to SwedenMexico chewed through 11 coaches in the nine years that followed their second-round exit at the 2006 World Cup. The result: successi…

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Fox replaces ESPN’s cult of British accents with maximum volume at World Cup

US viewers have a new broadcaster in charge for Russia 2018, and it looks like Fox is not afraid of a gimmick or eightNo one likes to be condescended to – unless you’re talking about the American soccer public. That, it appears, is the core of the stra…

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In most beautiful NBA finals defeat, LeBron James was never better

In carrying the Cavaliers with a broken hand, King James ensured his possible Cleveland swansong will be long rememberedIn the end, he didn’t have enough. Not enough time, as the clock ran down on the third quarter and the Warriors, within reach at hal…

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Antipathy towards the Patriots’ Super Bowl juggernaut is a form of self-hate

New England’s wild run of success under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is so frustrating to their opponents because it appears simple to replicateThe American people are uniquely triggered by traits of physiognomy, so let’s start with that dimple. In the…

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Did Donald Trump actually win his war on the NFL anthem protesters?

Ticket sales and TV ratings are down after the president attacked player protests. But he also exposed plenty of ugly truths about America

Throughout these last two weeks of the NFL anthem wars, Donald Trump’s gift for telling people who do not answer to him what to do has been on majestic display. Players who kneel during the anthem? Fire or suspend! Football fans? Should boycott games! NFL administrators? Need to tell players to stand! Must change policy! It’s all proof, once again, that there’s no problem this man cannot fix, so long as he has no responsibility for its resolution.

The bad news: it might be working. Look at the data and there’s reason to think the Great Extra-Jurisdictional Delegator’s message is getting through, at least indirectly. Far fewer players kneeled during the national anthem last weekend than was the case the week before – a fact Donald Trump Jr was quick to puff about on Sunday night. Gesturally, among the players themselves, there’s also been a splintering away from Colin Kaepernick’s motion of a dropped knee with head bowed. Protest gestures are now more hedged, more inscrutable. Last weekend we saw players kneeling with hand on heart, kneeling with no hand on heart, kneeling while raising a fist, standing while raising a fist, kneeling before the anthem but standing during it. The simple power of Kaepernick’s original protest is becoming diluted.

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Contenders again: how London debacle shaped Australia’s Olympic revival | Aaron Timms

After a ruthless, high-profile overhaul and the emergence of a new generation of Olympic stars, Australia is well set to vault back up the medal tally in Rio

The toilets don’t work, the pipes leak, the stairwells have no lights, there’s dirt all over the floors: thanks to chef de mission Kitty Chiller, the list of things the Australian team finds wrong with Rio’s Olympic village is well known. But given the recent history of this country at the Olympics, the bigger and more important question might be: will Australia’s athletes have access to a chill-out room?

In early 2013, following a showing at the 2012 Olympics near-universally derided as a “disaster”, and with the hyperbole now obligatory in a country with far too much going for it, the Bluestone Review – a thorough investigation into the multiple failures of the Australian swimming team in London – was published. This was the document that famously detailed the worst abuses of the team’s “toxic culture,” which included, according to the report, instances of athletes “getting drunk, misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit, and bullying”. In the years since, the Bluestone Review has assumed such a mythological importance in the narrative of Australia’s post-London rejuvenation that elite swimmers refer to it as simply “the inquiry”.

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Why Fox Sports, not ESPN, is winning America’s summer of soccer

ESPN’s Euro 2016 coverage has been mixed, while Fox has been sharper, funnier, and truer to an authentically American culture of the sport

Who has won America’s summer of soccer – ESPN or Fox Sports? To frame the question in this binary is to ignore, of course, the claim of another channel perhaps more familiar to the occasional American football fan. For long stretches of the winter, while MLS is in hibernation, the summer international tournaments are either long forgotten or far in the future, and the people of this country turn their attention to the double thrill of dressing in weather-flexible layers and making jokes about coffee flavored with pumpkin spice, football’s cultural airtime is occupied almost entirely by NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League.

Related: Chile beat Colombia after long weather delay to set up final with Argentina

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USA were dazzled by Argentina – even if they were dazzled by the best

Jürgen Klinsmann deserves credit for inspiring enthusiasm among his players at this month’s Copa América but willpower only takes a team so far

It was definitely no disgrace. In the minutes after the US went down 4-0 to Argentina on Tuesday night, everyone – Jürgen Klinsmann, Geoff Cameron, Kyle Beckerman – was keen to make the same point: there was no shame in the loss. After all, this was Lionel Messi! And Argentina! And besides, the US had come so far! It’s true, of course: to lose in the Copa América semi-finals to Lionel Messi’s Argentina, a team that plays on atomic time when everyone else is left checking the stovetop clock, is no disgrace. But it depends on the manner of the loss – and this loss was, on anyone’s reading, a bum note on which to conclude an otherwise successful tournament for the US men’s national team.

Around 30% possession and zero shots on target (or off target, for that matter) told the story of a night on which the US players stumbled around the pitch with the open-mouthed adoration of fans waiting for an autograph. Sure, the US had lost three certain starters during the quarter-final triumph over Ecuador, but it was the team’s established – and emerging – stars who disappointed the most on Tuesday. Michael Bradley was as hard to press in defense as he was quick to give the ball away in attack; Clint Dempsey, starved of service and unable to free himself of the suffocating attentions of Javier Mascherano, saw the fresh reserves of energy he’d discovered in the last few matches desert him; and John Brooks endured his worst outing of the tournament. After a performance for the ages against Paraguay, Brooks seemed – like many of his team-mates – at once distracted, subdued, and utterly overawed by the company he had been asked to keep for 90 minutes; the young defender lost Ezequiel Lavezzi for Argentina’s first goal, and from that moment the US were never really in the contest. It was like watching a wedding band joined onstage by The Rolling Stones.

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USA’s Copa América has been revived by their glorious, bloody defense

If Jürgen Klinsmann’s world has gone from storm clouds to sunshine in the space of a week, it’s down in large part to the efforts of John Brooks and Brad Guzan

Jürgen Klinsmann has been here before. The titans of the German football establishment – Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Felix Magath – greeted Klinsmann’s appointment as manager of Die Mannschaft in 2004 with condescending bemusement. They did little to hide their disdain for the California resident in the years that followed, deriding his attachment to America – caffeinated, silly America – as an insult to German football’s stolid, collegiate traditionalism. By the time Germany’s home World Cup rolled around in 2006, that low hum of tutting disapproval had turned into a roar. Beckenbauer famously criticized Klinsmann in public for not turning up to a coaches’ workshop three months before the tournament, and there was much fretting over the team’s sluggish, stop-start progress on the field. But then the World Cup started, and Germany was transformed – from a team of directionless plodders to a tantalizingly mobile outfit committed to attack at all costs.

German football has not been the same since. Sure, a lot of the renaissance in Die Mannschaft’s fortunes over the last decade is down to Joachim Löw, not to mention the youth and development structures that allowed a new generation of talent to flourish – but it all began in 2006. It all began with Jürgen at the World Cup, arms pumping furiously on the sideline, eyes bulging, clapping like a lunatic. Klinsmann’s sheer exuberance provided German football’s resurgence with its originating jolt; Michael Ballack, the captain in 2006, later said he had never met someone “with such a gift for making people so enthusiastic about something”.

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Clint Dempsey’s wile for USA in Copa América show old dudes do it best

The forward was at the peak of his powers against Costa Rica and little of what made the US so impressive would have been possible without him

What a glorious thing pressure is. In the days following their limp opening day loss to Colombia, in which they saw a lot of the ball and did nothing with it, it might have been easy for the US’s players to succumb to the gloom engulfing all discussion of football in this country. Losing to Colombia caused all the frustrations associated with five years of halting progress under Jürgen Klinsmann to come suppurating out: the big off-field promises, the meager on-field outcomes, the enervating Jürgenness – all hand-waving and hoping for the best – of the coach’s management of a playing group of inconsistent quality. The football-supporting public was at breaking point.

But succumb the team did not. Just the opposite, in fact: with their tournament on the line, their coach in danger of losing his job, their very identity as a team in question, the embarrassment of exiting a tournament on home soil in the first round looming, their veteran stars’ futures in the balance, anxiety over the quality of the next generation of playing talent at a pitch, the public angry and impatient at the enduring stasis of the national team, and the future of the sport in America, seemingly, in the balance, the US men’s national team thrived. They delivered the kind of quick-witted, counter-punching performance that has been often pledged, and seldom delivered, during Klinsmann’s reign. If this is what this team can do with their backs to the wall, it may be wise to keep the wall within reach.

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What options does Jürgen Klinsmann have? The brutal truth: not many

Klinsmann’s post-match comments suggests he’ll stick with the same XI for Costa Rica on Tuesday, but he might as well gamble with Nagbe and Pulisic

Jürgen Klinsmann bore the look of a man who’d given up, staring blankly into the middle distance for most of Friday night’s game and reacting to each of Colombia’s two goals with little more than a rueful shake of the head. But by the time he walked into the press room to face the media, the dejected body language on display during his charges’ willing, but ultimately limp, loss to Colombia had evaporated; Jurgen the Disconsolate gave way to Jurgen the Defiant.

Related: USA beaten in Copa América opener as classy Colombia show them the way

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