The 2022/2023 SSWOS season
Some highlights from this year and some predictions for next.
Welcome to the latest edition of SSWOS, the Sick, Sad World of Sports, where sports is the mechanism by which we learn about the depths of shithousery and assholery and dipshittery of the human soul.
I hope you find it fun or informative but not both. If you want more of this particular species of brain worms, follow @scksadwos.
I also write exclusively about rugby league on pythagonrl.com and @pythagonrl.
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Here’s some fun stuff from 2022 that’s not necessarily in order and has a heavy dose of recency bias but as a now-avid watcher of highlights because I don’t have time to watch every sporting habit I’ve picked up over the last few years in full, these are some things that lodged in my brain this year.
Back in January, Novak Djokovic was deported for not being vaccinated and lying about it. Remember covid, guys, and how shit it was?
Mixed relay short track final:
(here’s five minutes of Mondo Duplantis owning the concept of pole vault)
The Grey Wiggle broke Peru:
Filipo Ganna went sub-4 minutes and broke the individual pursuit world record:
Ross Chastain used the wall to steer his car into a playoff spot:
Matthew Richardson won the men’s sprint division of the UCI Track Champion’s League (which, admittedly, is not as big an achievement as Jai Hindley winning the Giro, but he beat Harrie Lavreysen to do it and that is going to be a tantalising rivalry for the next couple of years into Paris 2024):
The Grey Cup is decided by two blocked field goals:
People will probably expect me to mention a 3-3 World Cup finalbut I actually enjoyed everyone dealing with a good dose of cognitive dissonance as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, built with the blood of slaves by an oil-rich homophobic, misogynistic and racist theocracy, delivered some pretty bloody entertaining outcomes on the pitch, including plucky underdogs-slash-representatives of the villanously murderous regime of Saudi Arabia upsetting the eventual champions in the opening round. People wanted to say they liked it but not in a way that required thousands of migrant worker deaths.
At the real World Cup, Greece, Jamaica and Brazil all scored their first WC tries. Samoan flags were everywhere for a week and there’s this entire thread. Literally no one cares that Australia won both titles again.
During week 15 of the NFL, in the space of about 30 hours, you could’ve chosen from:
The Bucs coughing up a 17 point lead against the Bengals and losing by 11.
The Patriots losing to the Raiders on an OT pick 6 that was actually a lateral.
The Colts coughing up a 33 point lead against the Vikings and losing by 3.
(I think if I had a larger following, I would’ve canvassed submissions from the readership to get a more comprehensive selection but retweeting my own tweet in a vain attempt to get a reply was a bit too much emotional labour at this point in the year. Maybe keep an eye out for an email next year)
The grace, the beauty of sports
Twitter and Youtube embeds took up all the space, sorry.
Here’s the most clicked on thing I wrote this year
Here’s the least clicked on thing I wrote this year
Some predictions for 2023:
Cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse slowly disappear from the sports world as we chalk up the 2018-2022 web3 mania to industrialised heavy metal poisoning, except for the latecomer clubs who signed a contract two years ago that is just being delivered now for some reason.
With Liverpool, Man U and the Commanders all potentially up for sale, Jeff Bezos buys all three, Red Bull and another half dozen franchises and turns their athletes to the new sport of Jeffball.
There will plenty of opportunities to use sporting events to make fascist gestures and display fascist iconography. There will be less irony about it than ever. The organisations that run sport will be completely unable to deal with it.
F1 expands to 15 teams, each with three drivers, so the calendar can grow to 30 events. By limiting grids to just 20 drivers on a rotational draw, this allows F1 to introduce a playoff series at the end of the season to crown the champion.
More sporting events will suffer from disruptions and risks to athletes as the climate crisis continues to get worse and while many in power have admitted there is a problem, we are still a long way from meaningfully addressing it.
Modern pentathlon adds a sixth discipline, hoping to engage the kids or anyone really.
After the success of Qatar 2022 and a decade ahead of major sporting events being hosted by less controversial countries, the IOC will award the 2036 Summer Games to Saudi Arabia and the 2038 Winter Games will return to Russia.
We must be due a decision on whether the new modern pentathlon with obstacle in lieu of horsies is in or out for LA 2028 sometime soon.
As you may be aware, I’m taking a break from pythagonrl dot com due to the imminent arrival of my second born. I’m also pretty bearish on the future of twitter dot com. That puts this newsletter in an interesting position. It might end up being the platform I use to disseminate takes (when I have the time to compile them) but I’m also not exactly sure what this project is, even now 18 months in, and what it will be moving forward.
I guess I plan to wait and see how badly my life gets turned upside down in 2023. I’ll probably publish some stuff here, which usually takes a lot less effort and time than the standard set at pythagonrl, and I’ll aim to make the newsletters a little shorter, so they’re a little easier to turn around, but let’s not set expectations all that high. Getting back to this being a weekly thing - let alone twice this week! - seems unlikely at this stage.
Thank you for reading and happy new year.
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Old enough to remember when 4 minutes was considered unbreakable for a team pursuit.
Three of the six goals were penalties. Please.
And getting a day off for their trouble.
Presented by Amazon Prime. It’ll be Bezostastic.
Hmm, there’s probably a better joke about a sport that some Tolkien species would play but I’m not reading the Silmarilion.
A smaller prize, a petit prix if you will, will be given to the best sprint driver.
Unfortunately, economic problems in Russia will force the 2038 Games to relocate to Saudi Arabia.