Rob Minto

Sport, data, ideas

Month: November 2015

Sport Geek #24: the undefeated, remembering Lomu, and NK weightlifters

A later edition this week, but some cracking stories. With no further ado: Continue reading

Sport Geek #23: spoilsports, terror, and economy mode

England used to fight wars with France. Now we look on aghast at the events in Paris.

Poignantly, the football match between England and France goes ahead tonight, and rightly so. Part of the point of sport is to channel our competitive instincts and our desire to fight. Yet being a civilised society, we can step back and support our sporting enemy, and in so doing a match that would resonate as a friendly proxy for war becomes a show of solidarity.

That’s the beauty of sport. It can change and reflect whatever as a society we want to see in it. You can’t do that with guns and bombs. The best response to terror is not to hide, but to show a better way. Football might not matter in the grand scheme of things, but as a stage for showing how the people of two rival countries can be friends, it’s never been more important.

And so to the stories of the week… Continue reading

Sport Geek # 22: drugs, sexism, and bad teeth

Why aren’t there more female jockeys? Or F1 drivers? When it comes to sport and women, there is plenty of discussion of the merits of (say) women’s football or tennis versus the men’s game. But when it comes to sports where women can actually compete alongside men, have we given up?

Four years on from the Sky Sports sexism row, which started over a female linesman in a man’s world, we seem no further down the road in terms of accepting or promoting women in roles that could be filled by either sex. Three recent stories bring this home (see below for details). From Michelle Payne to Susie Wolff, the theme is the same: institutional prejudice and resistance to women competing alongside men.

The push for women’s sport to gain greater acceptance is, largely, a struggle for attention, both of the audience and the media. In the meantime, we are forgetting the struggle for opportunity. That means we cut off a huge talent pool and a diversity of personalities that would make sport far more interesting.

Anyway, to the stories of the week. No prizes for guessing what comes first… Continue reading

Sport Geek #21: the caddie strikes back

Often we are told that the margin between winning and losing in sport is incredibly thin.

Which makes the All Blacks’ World Cup victory all the more impressive. Four years ago they should have lost the final, but for some dubious refereeing decisions (see previous Sport Geek round ups). But this time around, the gap to the rest was vast. For other teams, the margins were narrow indeeed – had England kicked for goal against Wales, had Scotland not been robbed at the last moment, things would have been very different. But for New Zealand, it just never seemed in doubt.

So, to the week’s round up. Continue reading

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