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The Best Sports Videos, Vol. 1
Each edition of this Retro series features five events in the world of sport the likes of which you haven’t seen before, curated by a journalist who’s reported on college and pro sports for decades.
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(For a discussion of my past work as a sports journalist—which began when I was just seventeen, if you can believe it!—check out the Introduction to the Retro report here.)
This particular Retro series is an outgrowth of the “The Best Videos on the Internet” series from the Digital Culture section of this publication (see entries #1, #2, and #3). I found, in pursuing that ongoing series, that a large number of the most engaging viral videos out there have to do with sports—likely because it’s easy enough to determine when an event in a given sport isn’t recorded as having ever occurred before. Since my goal in curating online videos is to share with readers of Retro only things the likes of which no one has never seen before, a sport-themed series on this topic seems perfect.
As ever, I encourage readers to submit videos that would fit the theme of the series in the comments below. I’m always happy to include on Retro user-proposed content that meets the website’s standards and those of the series it is being recommended for.
(1) The Square Wheel
It’s been a foundational presumption since—well, since the invention of the wheel!—that wheels are round. Not so fast, says the inventor whose work is documented below.
(2) Winning a Professional Bike Race Without a Bike Chain
I don’t know much about professional mountain biking, but I’ve biked enough in my life to know that the ability to brake is essential—and especially essential, I would have thought, in professional racing. Apparently it isn’t, but we can at least say that the fact that it isn’t is as surprising to professional mountain-biking color commentators as it is to me and (I suspect) all of you. This is a pretty sensational “no-brake run” to watch, in no small part because of how excited the commentators get (and how clear they are on having never seen something quite like this before; while they have seen someone finish a race without pedaling due to the loss of a chain, they’ve never seen a pro biker win such a race).
(3) A Weird and Violent Sport You’ve Likely Never Heard Of
There are many obscure sports, of course—heck, there’s even a professional Quidditch league, though it recently renamed itself Quadball in protest of J.K. Rowling’s views on trans people—but few are as strange, and perhaps none as violent, as Bo Taoshi. You have to watch the video below, and check out the headgear players of this sport have to wear, to fully understand how off-the-grid (at least by Western standards) this athletic competition is.
(4) The Best Prediction Ever Made in Professional Sports
The video below is real. I emphasize this because what you see in it shouldn’t be even remotely possible. It’s not just that the player in question had never hit an MLB home run, it’s the level of specificity to the prediction—including inning, pitch count, and hit location. I’ve never seen anything like this, and we may never seen anything like it again. The only analogy I can think of is Babe Ruth’s partly apocryphal “called shot.”
(5) The Strangest Baseball Slide You’ve Ever Seen
In the most recent edition of “The Best Videos on the Internet,” I included a section on first-ever, one-of-a-kind baseball moments—and the video below certainly would have been included had I known about it at the time. While sliding may not be the most exhilarating component of a baseball game, it goes without saying that it is one of the most important; a great slide can win a ballgame and a bad slide can lose it. But I don’t think anyone has ever used the sliding technique top Chicago Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong uses in the video below, as it involves deliberately sliding poorly to trick a defender. I don’t know if this maneuver can ever be successfully replicated, and I say that as someone who wasn’t even close to the best multi-year Little League all-star in my hometown let alone my state, but who did steal a lot of bases in his day.
Crow-Armstrong should be playing at Wrigley Field by 2024 at the latest, so we’ll see if he tries this again!
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