Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word meaning, essentially, all things of comfort and happiness. Think of sipping spiked hot chocolate by the fire, sharing a batch of homemade kale chips fresh from the oven with your best friend, or seeing Regina Spektor live in concert. I bring it up as a suggestion – that everyone make it their holiday season resolution. There are two months left in the year to pack as much hygge into your life as possible. How else can we thrive?
BLING: My soul cries out for good news, and a sports snippet back in August was that the Cubs organization gave Steve Bartman his very own 2016 World Series ring. Bartman is the fan who interfered with a catch by reaching for a fly ball during a playoff game back in 2003. A lot of people blamed him for the Cubs not winning the Championship that year. He made it home alive (covered in beer and spit), thanks to a police escort. But the poor guy never again attended a game at Wrigley Field, ‘cause people can be asshats who do and say stupid stuff, like threaten violence.
Now Bartman owns that World Series ring with all 108 diamonds, representing the Cubs’ 108-year championship drought, and says it’s symbolic of both a historic sports achievement, as well as “an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society."
How the Military Invaded Sports (and Politics Invaded My Blog): Amid the debate about former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protesting social injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem (in a gesture of respect, as opposed to sitting, on the advice of Nate Boyer, former NFL player and Green Beret), is another intriguing set of information.
Holy crap that was a run-on. (Did you keep up?)
By now you may have heard that before 2009, NFL players were not specifically required to stand on the field during the national anthem. And between 2012 and 2015, the Department of Defense distributed $10.4 million among several NFL teams in exchange for other staged, on-field ceremonies designed to boost military recruitment.
Turns out another $6.8 million in taxpayer funds was used for VIP perks such as suites and game tickets, autographed items, and cheerleader visits not just for potential recruits, but often DOD and National Guard personnel. Game-time displays of patriotism were contracted and funded for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, and the Alamo City Comic Con.
Man, that first sentence above was another pretty long one. (What the hell is going on with me?)
According to a joint oversight report by John McCain and Jeff Flake:
Unsuspecting audience members became the subjects of paid-marketing campaigns rather than simply bearing witness to teams’ authentic, voluntary shows of support for the brave men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.
In 2014, while the National Guard was spending millions on professional sports advertising, it was simultaneously requesting additional funds from Congress to cover a more than $100 million shortfall to pay its troops and conduct critical training.
Rather than spit, I’ll share a Kaepernick belief, paraphrased by his friend and American Cultural Studies lecturer Christopher Petrella, to, “Believe in the capacity of ordinary people to grow into leaders, to self-advocate and to lift as we climb.”
As for Kaepernick, no team has signed him since he become a free agent after last season. In October, he filed a grievance accusing NFL owners of collusion, then accepted a $1 million book deal. I’m betting the book will be an intriguing read.
POETRY IN MOTION: The 2018 route for the Tour de France has been announced. To pass the time until then, I challenge you to find a better example than this prose, by Master of cycling poetry, Bob Roll:
When you look at bike racers, they look incredibly narrow and skinny and frail, but they’re some of the toughest athletes on the planet, to crash like that, basically in your underwear with a styrofoam cup on your head, and then to bounce up and still have to race.
He was referring to Irish cyclist Dan Martin, hit by the airborne body of Richie Porte in a 45mph crash during the 2017 Tour de France.
Host cities and locations for the 2018 Tour of California have been released as well, and include Long Beach, Santa Barbara county (mountains), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Salinas), San Jose (time trial), and South Lake Tahoe. The race concludes in Sactown.
That reminds me, ToC fan favorite Peter Sagan and his wife just had a baby boy. Here’s how that announcement looks in Slovak, Sagan’s native language:
Naša rodina sa dnes rozrástla! S Katkou sme ve?mi š?astní, že vám môžeme oznámi? narodenie Marlona. Náš syn aj Katka sú v poriadku.
LIFEHACK: The 2017 Tour de France illustrated an item of ingenuity with Team Sunweb’s success in loading nine bikes on the roof of a Mini Cooper. I can’t seem to fit one child-sized mountain bike in the trunk (or “boot,” as it’s called) of my Mini.
I also found these cool hacks of pro cycling. Remember the photo of a bearded Geoffrey Soupe in June’s blog? A clean, close shave isn’t the hack you might assume it to be:
Speaking of aerodynamics: When I saw Geoffrey Soupe, left, I wondered if his beard possibly made him slower. Turns out a clean-shaven face will save less than 1 second over 40 kilometers….
SEARCHING WORLDS: I’ve spent far too much time googling Worlds and World Championships to figure out what the heck they encompass. Turns out it’s seriously complicated, leaving me no choice but to not care. You shouldn’t, either. (Just kidding. You should totally care. They can be awesome, like World Cup soccer and skiing. They just don’t seem to be under anything resembling a common umbrella.)
What is worth caring about is NBC’s newish Olympic Channel, which I originally had written off assuming it would only cover qualifying events for gymnastics and figure skating. In fact, it also broadcasted enough men’s and women’s UCI Road, Mountain Bike, and Cyclo-cross World Championships to make me squeal in delight – again and again. Let’s just say you could put a glass of red wine and a bowl of Himalayan popcorn in my lap, turn on the women’s mountain bike World competition, and I’d ooze hygge.
That’s all for now. Off to see Battle of the Sexes. (Oh – it turns out my run-on sentence issue was just a politically-inspired tic.)