Tag: Sports

Dispatch from the Yukon Quest Trail

I’m on the road this week, doing some writing and social media work for the Yukon Quest.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Quest is a 1,000-mile sled dog race that runs from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon (my hometown). I’m following along, and on the trail with me is a traveling crowd of volunteers, veterinarians, race officials, “handlers” (assistants to the mushers), and friends and family. We drive from checkpoint to checkpoint, meeting up with the dog teams whenever they intersect with the sparse road system. I’m writing this from Central Corner, an outpost on the Steese Highway just south of the one-time Gold Rush town of Circle City.

Never seen a long-distance dog sled race? Here’s a video that gives you a real sense of the scene at the start line back in Fairbanks:

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Buzkashi, Revisited

The Lunatic Express author and World Hum contributor Carl Hoffman looks at how buzkashi, Afghanistan’s goat-based national sport, has changed since 9/11.

What was originally a pickup game played at weddings and festivals has become a game of one-upmanship between rich big men getting richer and bigger every day. Who has the most horses? The most expensive horses, which can cost $50,000 in a country where the average annual wage is $370? The best stable of chapandazan? Players have always been sponsored—given good horses to ride for the glory of the horse’s owner and small profit for the rider—but now a few have made themselves the world’s first professional, full-time buzkashi players.

We published David Raterman’s story about buzkashi, aka buskaschee, in 2002. He recently drew from the story for a scene in his novel, The River Panj.

Travel Morality Tales

Travel Morality Tales Screen shot from commercial for DIRECTV

Parsing the hidden travel advice in two DirecTV commercials

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Hanging Ten with the Havana Surf Club

Hanging Ten with the Havana Surf Club Reuters

In an excerpt from his new book, "Sweetness and Blood," Michael Scott Moore tracks down the origins of surfing in Cuba

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Interview with Michael Scott Moore: ‘Sweetness and Blood’

Jim Benning talks with the author of a new travel book about the spread of surfing around the globe

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Catalonia Votes to Ban Bullfights

Or as the Spanish newspaper El País proclaimed in its headline, Cataluña prohíbe los toros.

The historic vote marks the first time a Spanish region has moved to ban the pastime. Reports the New York Times:

In many ways, however, the ban reflected less on the animal rights than on a political debate over Catalan identity and a push by local parties for greater independence from the rest of Spain.

That hasn’t stopped animal rights groups from claiming a victory.

Bullfighting, Hemingway and the ‘Seduction of Death’

Merida, Colombia (Photo: blmurch via Flickr, Creative Commons)

Is bullfighting an important tradition that should be preserved? Is it so cruel it should be boycotted and banned? And why was Hemingway so taken with it?

In a fine TNR review of Bullfighting: A Troubled History, Ben Wallace-Wells offers a brief history of the sport and summarizes the perspective of author Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier.

She falls squarely in the reformist camp, and her history argues that the sport seduced artists, who glamorized and abstracted a cruel and ugly pursuit into something that bore little resemblance to bullfighting itself. On the matter of Hemingway she is not subtle. “Hemingway is an emblematic representative of the aficionados who were in love with death,” she writes.

As I’ve noted before, I’ve had my own brushes with death in the bullring. (Via AL Daily)

World Cup of Travel: Spain vs. The Netherlands

The FIFA World Cup will be settled Sunday. We'll settle which country in the final is the best travel destination right now. Let's go to Robert Reid's chart.

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Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl REUTERS/Christine Grunnet

Abbie Kozolchyk finds herself on an unlikely quest to buy soccer jerseys from Bolivia to Bhutan

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The Evocative Game

The Evocative Game Adnan Abidi/Reuters

On a traveler's divided loyalties during the World Cup

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World Cup Reads: Soccer in Africa and Beyond

The start of the World Cup has many of us thinking about great books on soccer. For that reason, we’ve dug up a feature we did a few years ago, Soccer: Three Great Books, which highlights a few of our favorites.

Beyond that, Flavorwire offers up a globally minded soccer reading list.

And on his site, World Hum contributor Frank Bures also shares his two-part list; the first covers soccer in England, Italy, Atlanta and beyond, while the second focuses on soccer in Africa.

(Flavorwire list via The Book Bench)

Interview With Steve Bloomfield: World Cup 2010 and ‘Africa United’

Interview With Steve Bloomfield: World Cup 2010 and ‘Africa United’ Sarah Elliott

Frank Bures speaks to the author of a new book about the World Cup and Africa

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Video You Must See: Underwater Free Fall in the Bahamas

Video You Must See: Underwater Free Fall in the Bahamas Photo by tata_aka_T via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Base jumping meets free diving in Dean's Blue Hole

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World Travel Watch: Havoc in Central America, Volcano Fears in Iceland and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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What Kiss Cams Say About Cities

I love this idea from a sportswriter I usually can’t stand: The Kiss Cam as a two-minute glimpse into a city’s soul. In this case, Bill Plaschke’s talking about the Kiss Cam at Staples Center in Los Angeles during Lakers’ games.

Nowhere, it seems, are the couples as animated, or the crowd as involved, or the message about the heart of Los Angeles any more clear. In a night filled with supermen, it is a brief, heartwarming reminder that the Lakers have been built upon the hopes and ideals of those who are real.

In a town where everything is supposedly disposable, no Kiss Cam moment is cheered louder than a smooch between an elderly couple. In a town that supposedly doesn’t trumpet family values, the second-loudest cheers occur for the forehead pecks of a parent on a child.

The third-most popular Kiss Cam moment? Hugh Hefner sitting in a luxury suite kissing three or four bunnies. C’mon, this is still Hollywood.

Photo You Must See: Old and New Transport in Giza

Photo You Must See: Old and New Transport in Giza REUTERS/Ho New

A freestyle motocross rider jumps during a sunset training session near the Pyramids of Giza. The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour competition took place there this weekend.

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Diamonds Are Forever

baseball stadium Chris Epting

Chris Epting takes a baseball-inspired road trip, celebrating America's national pastime

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Tijuana Embraces its Touristy ‘Zonkeys’

Tijuana Embraces its Touristy ‘Zonkeys’ Photo: Roebot via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo: Roebot via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Behold the zonkey. This poor donkey and others like it, painted with stripes to resemble zebras, have been a kitschy mainstay on Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución for years. Before drug-related crime frightened most tourists away—visits from the U.S. have dropped off 80 percent since 2001—many would pay a few bucks to don sombreros and pose for photos with the animals. It’s a ridiculous tradition that somehow endures.

And now, a new Tijuana basketball team playing in a regional Mexican league has embraced the painted zebras, calling themselves the Tijuana Zonkeys. They have striped jerseys and, yes, even cheering “Zonkeys girls.”

The team’s president told the San Diego Union-Tribune: “It’s a crazy, cartoonish figure, and in a way, that’s what the city’s all about. It’s a crazy, cartoonish city where everything is possible.”

He’s right about that.

Go Zonkeys.

Surfing the ‘Ultimate Wave Tahiti’: IMAX 3D

I love the occasional IMAX film for vicarious big-screen travel thrills, and I can’t wait to see this new one about surfing Tahiti’s famed Teahupoo. Here’s a taste:

The Accidental Tsunami Rider

The Accidental Tsunami Rider iStockPhoto

After Chile's earthquake, Jill K. Robinson paddled her kayak into California's Half Moon Bay and felt the energy from a hemisphere away

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