Following the recent success of the NHL’s experiment with outdoor hockey—this year featured two outdoor "classics"—Tom Flynn reminisces about a simpler attraction to the game, one that probably every professional hockey player experienced: that of pond hockey. Although "pond hockey" usually conjures up a fast and loose (read: no defense) iteration of the game, the term is usually used derisively in pro-hockey speak, there’s an irresistable allure to being on crisp natural ice in the great outdoors.
In case you missed the Little Caeser’s Pizza Bowl, fear not! Tom Flynn brings tidings for another three of the 35 bowl games going on this week. Flynn breaks it down for people like me who don’t really follow this sort of thing, revealing intriguing storylines behind the obscurity behind the lesser known, less-well funded, and medium-power houses of college football. Art by the inimitable Danny Jock.
Tom Flynn remembers a simpler time when all he had to do to get his Thanksgiving thanks and grub on was get himself through a soggy football game in the miserable cold of early winter. If one played sports in the 80s and 90s, it’s easy to recall with wincing redolence the solid "foam" core of helmets, the bulky pads, and of course, the cheap no-name cleats that hardened with weather and time to resemble craggy griffin-like claws, their faded black exteriors stale and cracked, and souls just as black and evil in color and comfort. Flynn also recalls relaxing post-game with the Detroit Lions game perenially played on Thanksgiving. Having no personal affiliation toward the Lions then and now, he contrasts the stark fortunes of Detroit (both the town and the team) with the excesses of the other game-of-the-day, that of the Dallas Cowboys, and finds something to which Detroit can represent on this day of thanks.
It’s playoffs time again, and frustrated with the way the season ended for two mid-atlantic teams – The Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles (both wound up dead last in their divisions), Tom Flynn looks back to the days when the mid-atlantic region boasted postseason domination, with the Negro League Elite Giants and DC’s Homestead Grays.
America, unlike a lot of small countries, expects its fair share of Olympic medals each time the torch lands somewhere around the globe. For smaller countries, those three disks of metal – gold, silver and bronze are a lot more elusive, especially that most esteemed medal, the gold. So hopes are often pinned on a sport or two, maybe one athelete even, while a bronze is nothing to be scoffed at, but lauded. Tom Flynn remembers the success of one Norwegian runner, who could stand as a lighthouse for other underdog countries as the Olympics begin in Beijing this week.
Wimbledon 2008 is in the books, and a couple of weeks prior, Tom Flynn had predicted another classic Nadal/Federer rematch, wondering if Nadal’s "big hit" forearm would overcome the Swiss on grass, or if the clay king would need a little more of that old Tracy Austin finesse – and less of the Peter Fleming kill shots – Flynn recalled from the tennis heros of his youth… (Well after 5 long sets and a little rain, the Spaniard used a little bit of everything to end Federer’s reign at Wimbledom, stopping him shy of 6 titles in a row). Art by Danny Jock.