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‘Friday Night Tykes’: Shocking youth sports docu-series exposes gladiator-style kiddie football
08:46 am


Friday Night Tykes

As passionate fans of the Friday Night Lights TV series will tell you, you don’t need to care that much about football itself to care deeply about the carefully drawn characters of that much-loved small town drama. Something similar can almost be said of the Esquire Network’s returning youth sports docu-series Friday Night Tykes, but there’s a frankly shocking level of car crash brutality—that’s all being egged on by the “adults” in charge—that completely subverts what you think this show is going to be all about.

Friday Night Tykes focuses on the teams of the Texas Youth Football Association, the most popular, competitive and well-supported league of its kind in the United States. TYFA also has a reputation for controversy, and for the violent intensity of its pre-teen players, some who are as young as eight or nine. There is no size limit for these kids, either. The bigger the better. And did I mention the crazy parents? TYFA’s got its share of lunatics in the bleachers.

As season two starts, we get a recap of some of the most eyebrow-raising moments from last year. Answering the big question in many viewers’ minds (“WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING?!?!?!”) some of the coaches from the first series are gone, one for flagrantly encouraging viciously unsportsmanlike behavior (all of which this psycho was, for some reason, completely unashamed to allow the Esquire Network’s cameras to capture). There is a “welcome to the Terrordome” element to the TYFA—these little kids are encouraged to act like MMA gladiators. Tackle ‘em sure, but make sure to hurt ‘em real bad when ya do it. In TYFA, the all-American sport is sport is often enacted with the sort of violence associated with backyard wrestling. They just need to outfit their eight-year-old fullbacks with 2x4s and nunchucks and stop beating around the bush.

To be honest, I was left mouth-agape by this show within the opening moments. The thing that will probably occur to you as you watch it, as it did to me, is that these people are willing to subject their own children to something that is not really a great distance from cagefighting, but cagefighting done with little kids who are crying and puking! It’s so twisted! Some of the parents are so harsh, aggressive and downright nasty towards their children in public that you don’t have to use your imagination much to wonder how they might behave in the privacy of their own homes.

A narrator asks “But how hard is too hard? [Pediatricians warn against any sort of full body tackle until a child is at least 14 years of age] How far is too far? [Just wait!] Is youth sports truly about the kids, or is it truly about the parents?”

That last question is left shrewdly unanswered by the filmmakers.

Watch the entire first episode of the Esquire Network’s second season of Friday Night Tykes here.

Below, the trailer:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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10 minutes with Tony Hawk
09:37 am


Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk is synonymous with skateboarding, a living, breathing human trademark for his sport. An icon, he’s also a brand, running a business empire with tentacles in video games, amusement park rides, action sports exhibitions and his new YouTube channel, RIDE, which features Hawk himself in “Tony’s Strange Life.” He’s also known for his philanthropic activities, helping to build skateparks in low-income areas with his Tony Hawk Foundation, which has given away more than $3.4 million to help construct over 400 parks around the US.

We sat with Tony Hawk and asked a few questions about where he’s been and where he’s going next.

I’ve read that you were a really hyperactive child and that discovering skating helped you burn off that excessive energy. Is this why it’s so important for your charity to build skateparks in needy communities? So that other kids might find that same kind of focus you found through skating?

Tony Hawk: Yes, but it’s also important to me because I grew up near one of the last remaining skatepark of the ‘80s and I only realized later how lucky I was. It was a huge part of my life and gave me the opportunity to practice my passion, while spending time and sharing ideas with other skaters. I want to help provide the same type of opportunities and facilities for youth in difficult areas.

How do you tame that same hyperactivity today as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in sports? What keeps you centered and on target at this stage of your life?

My kids. Keeping up with them while trying to manage a career in skateboarding is a constant challenge. But I enjoy the challenges that being an “elder” skater and entrepreneur provide. It’s a whole new era of skateboarding and I am living the dream.

Sponsorships are obviously a large part of the business of Tony Hawk and you’ve always had A-list companies behind you. Tell me about some of those relationships. For example, you’ve worked with Nixon for a long time. How did that come about?

I have always admired Nixon‘s products and marketing, even before I was sponsored by them. I might be the only skater that begged my way onto the team, and I am proud to fly the Nixon flag in all my endeavors; they truly understand our culture. 

What’s the project that’s currently got you the most excited?

My next video game, coming out in late 2015 for newer consoles. It’s already looking on point.

Sponsored by Nixon

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They have Nick Cave skateboards now? I want one

I was not cut out for skating. I tried, but no dice. In the mid ‘80s I had a G&S Neil Blender deck, the graphic on which I still think was freakin’ awesome, a friend of mine had a half-pipe in his back yard, and I had a ton of friends to go street skating with (this in the era during which, contra the assertion on the bumper sticker, skateboarding often WAS a crime, at least in Ohio), but I never got terribly good at it, and when I watched a good pal take a spill and saw his badly broken ulna sticking out of his bleeding arm I was pretty much done. Ten years ago, that friend and I attempted a misguided relive-our-youth tour of skate parks in Oregon which, though it was a great time, resulted in an ankle injury I still haven’t recovered from. Yeah, I was not cut out for skating.

But if I wasn’t cut out for that scene—which, in my experience, was mostly just a way for dudebros in the hardcore scene to flex their jock impulses without crossing tribes into school-sanctioned team sports (another reason I was a bad fit)—where could Nick Cave have fit in? The music of a tall, lanky, heroin/goth figure like him was anathema to the adrenaline anthems skaters tended to favor (still another reason I was a bad fit). But though Cave was never even remotely associated with the skate scene I knew, that hasn’t stopped Australian company Fast Times from making a really gorgeous Nick Cave deck.

True legend of Australian music, Good friend and Customer Nick Cave has teamed up with us to produce an exciting and rad collection! After discussing lyrics and a theme, It was agreed Nature Boy best suited the Melbourne Skate Scene and vibe of Fast Times. The Lyrics are taken from ‘Nature Boy’ A track from’s Nick’s Abattoir Blues album which also features on the accompanying Fast Times Skate clip.

Once the mood was set Artist Chuck Sperry hailing from San Francisco worked with us to come up with a design, One of Chuck’s dames is seen tangled in her long golden locks wrapped in a psychedelic bed of flowers. The Boards feature a full wrap metallic graphic which feels and looks like an amazing piece of art.



More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Making Waves with Rob Machado
06:52 am


Rob Machado

Rob Machado is best known for his casual, Zen-like flow and abilities on a surfboard. He has been entrenched in the business for the better part of his life, giving him not only strong perspective on how it’s evolved, but also on the ripple effects of the sport and the different things it impacts. We sat down with Machado to hear more about his life at present, and to reflect a bit on all he’s learned over the course of his career.

We asked him to tell us about how he has been able to accomplish many of his milestones and goals, in and out of the water. What makes these things possible? How has he been able to reach his goals? He noted that one skill he has really mastered is that of acquiring sponsors, which has helped fund and bring notability to a lot of what he’s done. How does he evaluate which companies and corporations he’s willing to work with?

“Over the years I’ve learned how to identify the goals of a company, which is a huge part of the evaluation process.  I definitely have to work alongside brands that share my passions towards environmentally friendly practices.  It’s not always easy: take surfboards for example.  The main tool for what I do is probably one of the worst out there [environmentally], but it’s all about balance. Most of my sponsors I have had for the majority of my surfing career; by this point we’re in sync and work on some cool initiatives together. “

“Working with Nixon [Rob’s longtime watch sponsor] has been amazing. I’ve watched the brand grow from a garage in an alley to what it is now and it’s been fun to be a part of the ride.  They pay a lot of attention to detail and treat their athletes better than anyone I know. And at the end of the day, we have fun.”

His focus on the environment and on working with like-minded companies and individuals eventually impacted Machado’s desire to found and run a charitable organization focused on water availability, environmental impact, and caring for those in need. When he started his charitable foundation a decade ago, he was right in the thick of his busy professional career. Did the North County, San Diego local ever imagine then that he’d be spending so much of his time today being the leader of a clean beaches/fresh water advocacy organization?

“No—to be honest I didn’t really set out to be a leader,” he says. “I set out to make a change I was passionate about like lessening single bottle plastic use. I knew I eventually wanted to put my time and energy into the foundation because I had goals and projects that I wanted to see through. I knew I wanted to grow and accomplish more each year, but honestly it’s been a blessing to have completed this much with the foundation and of course the people who want to help and be a part of it as well.”

The Rob Machado Foundation distributes reusable water bottles to kids and installs refill stations at San Diego public schools and beaches.

“My brother, sister-in-law and Mom have all worked within the local school system so I always seem to be at one of the schools for one reason or another,” Machado explains. “I couldn’t believe that the drinking fountains were the same as when I went to high school and that’s when I thought, why don’t we install new drinking foundations that the kids would want to use. We approached my sponsor Hurley’s H2O program and created Hydration Nation and the reusable water bottles were created to help eliminate the need for plastic. The whole goal is to eliminate plastic bottles from the schools; because fewer plastic bottles means more clean water for those in need. Hydration Nation works to install the water filling stations at schools, and then encourage the use of reusable water bottles. 

The foundation’s local initiatives in San Diego also work in conjunction with others to bring fresh, clean water to places that don’t have it.

“Sale profits and donations is what allows RMF along with Hurley H2O to deliver water filters to places with little to no clean water.  We work with my friend Jon Rose and Waves 4 Water and we’ve done some amazing trips. Every time I’ve gone on a trip to help deliver and set up filters I want to do another immediately after. To see people without one of the most basic necessities, water will inspire you for sure” he says.

Which brings up the question, what’s more important, local or global activism? Machado’s seen both.

“I’m not sure if one is more important than the other,” he pondered. “On one hand you have the importance of global activism which raises collective awareness which is massively important and helps build a large team of like minded doers.  Eventually it can lead to better resources and funding if needed. 

But to me, local activism is where it all starts.  Small groups and communities taking a stance in what they believe needs to be changed or bettered.

Really though it all starts with the individual.  It’s important to me to look after my home community, my own back yard. The foundation is a lot of both actually.  We do so much work locally with schools and beaches in the area, but then we have some global outreach through the Hydration Nation program.” 

Machado has taken his passion and transformed it into something larger, finding an ability to directly make a difference in people’s lives via his foundation. Even so, he knows his roots and has stayed true to the lifestyle and values that shaped him.

Sponsored by Nixon

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Watch professional skier Ian McIntosh jump right off a mountain
06:54 am


Ian McIntosh

Big mountain skier Ian McIntosh is known for his rugged style of skiing, straight-lining down near-vertical faces with sheer brute strength and preternatural grace. The 6’2”, 185lb Canadian has been on the powder since he was just 22 months old, no sooner walking before his family was taking him skiing. He’s been perfecting his speed and technique ever since.

Because of his size, McIntosh—who is bigger than most professional skiers—can really pound it hard and is known for being a demon on the slopes. When McIntosh skis, he takes the entire mountain. The guy’s a beast: 

“I like the lines and the turns. To me, that’s what skiing is. You take a face and you ski it, top to bottom. You don’t stop, and whatever you can catch air on in between, take it.”

But what does an intense guy like Ian McIntosh do to unwind? Glad you asked: He likes to BASE jump off mountains in a flying suit, of course!

In the clip below McIntosh takes a leap straight off the Stawamus Chief Mountain in British Columbia. The 2,297 ft. peak is claimed to be the “second largest granite monolith in the world” and he just jumps right off it with a flying suit, parachute and a helmetcam. It’s breathtaking stuff and absolutely not for those afraid of heights.

Via Vice Sports

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Death defying downhiller nearly skates himself into a bus
08:07 am



I grew up on a skateboard and have intimate, first-hand knowledge about what it feels like to literally slide on my face across unforgiving concrete after taking a hill way too fast. I probably don’t need to tell you that it hurts badly and scares the living shit out of you.

That’s why every time I see footage of longboarders bombing the hell out of insanely long declines spanning miles through no-room-for-error terrain, I watch with a combination of admiration, fascination and straight-up cringe inducing terror. 

The video below takes the cake, though. Really. The guy almost gets hit by a bus. 

It starts with a warning to “NEVER fully trust walkie talkies.” In spans like the one you’re about to see, a person at the bottom of the hill has to communicate to the guy who’s about to take the plunge that the road is all clear of oncoming traffic. Obviously, all sorts of things can get in the way in the meantime.

The raw, not-for-the-faint-of-heart footage appeared recently on the PERROPRO YouTube channel out of Spain which houses a cool collection of videos devoted to the sport of longboarding that you can check out here if you have the inclination. The clip below would be hair raising enough even without its death defying ending (which happens around the 2:35 mark if you want to skip ahead). The pure sound of wind and rolling urethane adds to the tension in my opinion.

Via h/t Jeff Albers

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Muhammad Ali recites his poem on the Attica Prison riot: ‘Better to die fighting to be free’
01:28 pm


Muhammad Ali

In July 1972, Muhammad Ali traveled to his ancestral homeland of Ireland at the invitation of Michael “Butty” Sugrue, who had put up the purse for Ali to fight Detroit contender Alvin “Blue” Lewis at Croke Park, in front of 25,000 fans. Ali won the fight with an eleventh round knockout.

It was The Greatest’s first visit to his maternal great-grandfather Abe Grady’s birth country, and he made a special point of visiting the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister) Jack Lynch and the republican socialist politician Bernadette Devlin to discuss “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Ali also discussed the civil rights issues in the north of the country in a long TV interview with RTÉ’s Cathal O’Shannon. During this interview Ali also commented the brutal murderous events carried out by the authorities after the Attica prison riot.

On September 9th 1971, after hearing news of the execution of Black Panther George Jackson at San Quentin, around 1,000 Attica inmates rioted and seized control of the prison. The prisoners had taken hostage 42 guards and demanded political rights and better conditions. Negotiations progressed until September 13th, when at 09:46 hours tear gas was hurled into the siege area which was followed by two full minutes of non-stop shooting by members of the NYPD and troops from the National Guard. Forty-three were killed—33 inmates and ten staffers.

Having explained the events of the slaughter, Ali then recited his poem:

Better far from all I see
To die fighting to be free
What more fitting end could be?

Better surely than in some bed
Where in broken health I’m led
Lingering until I’m dead

Better than with prayers and pleas
Or in the clutch of some disease
Wasting slowly by degrees

Better than of heart attack
Or some dose of drug I lack
Let me die by being Black

Better far that I should go
Standing here against the foe
Is the sweeter death to know

Better than the bloody stain
On some highway where I’m lain
Torn by flying glass and pane

Better calling death to come
Than to die another dumb
Muted victim in the slum

Better than of this prison rot
If there’s any choice I’ve got
Kill me here on the spot

Better far my fight to wage
Now while my blood boils with rage
Lest it cool with ancient age

Better vowing for us to die
Than to Uncle Tom and try
Making peace just to live a lie

Better now that I say my sooth
I’m gonna die demanding truth
While I’m still akin to youth

Better now than later on
Now that fear of death is gone
Never mind another dawn.

Ali returned to Ireland in 2003, when he took part in the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics in Dublin, and again in 2009, when he was given Honorary Freeman of the town of Ennis, birthplace of his great-grandfather Abe Grady. A film When Ali Came to Ireland documented the boxer’s trip and the “huge impact [it had] on those Ali met and, some say, on the man himself.”

Via Open Culture.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Idiotic hipsters complain about the font of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ protest shirts

A new entry of the annals of monumentally missing the point…

“I Can’t Breathe” may be the sentence of 2014. They are, of course, the last words, uttered many times, of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old NYC Department of Parks horticulturist and occasional loose cigarette salesman whose inexplicable death by police chokehold in the Tompkinsville neighborhood (where I lived until quite recently) last July has led to a great deal of outcry.

The sentence has achieved the ultimate that can happen in our society—it has become a free-floating signifier in social media, just like Paula Deen’s supposedly homophobic fried chicken recipes or something. This past week several prominent athletes in the predominantly African-American NBA, including the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, the Cavaliers’ LeBron James, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, and the Nets’ Deron Williams, have warmed up wearing T-shirts heartbreakingly emblazoned with that simple message of solidarity with a blameless victim of police brutality: “I CAN’T BREATHE.”

All across America, a small minority of observers reacted in the expected way: they tut-tutted the shirts’ choice of font. The shirts, while admittedly embodying a courageous stand against the combined forces of intolerance, had committed the unpardonable sin of violating a bit of design etiquette.

Among people who take design very seriously, the Comic Sans typeface has been a bête noire for at least a decade, because it is often used by “design-blind” “normals” outside of its optimal range of uses, frequently lending an unserious air to messages of stern import. Designed by Vincent Connare, Comic Sans was released by Microsoft in 1994, which surely contributed to its popularity.

For instance, Tony Seddon named a book after it (Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans: 365 Graphic Design Sins and Virtues: A Designer’s Almanac of Dos and Don’ts) in which he calls it “arguably the most inappropriately used typeface in history” (although a page later he sort of takes it back).

Eventually, on the McSweeney’s website, Mike Lacher defended the honor of the typeface with “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole,” which contained the immortal line “I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.” The piece simultaneously seemed to agree with the design critics’ peeve while putting them in their place.

On the T-shirts, for instance, Caroline Fredericks, of “California/Alabama,” tweeted, “how many people will be able to look past the choice of comic sans?” Ryan Hubbard, of Kansas City, tweeted, “Who’s giving all of these NBA players “I can’t breathe” shirts set in Comic Sans? I love that they’re wearing them, but come on, man.”

The New York Times report on the shirts emphasizes the outsize efforts of Jay-Z and others to replicate the gesture made by Derrick Rose of the Bulls and makes no mention of Comic Sans or any other aspect of the shirts’ design, except to note that “Rameen Aminzadeh, a member of Justice League NYC, drafted a simple design for the text of the T-shirt, which other members of the group approved sometime after 1 a.m. [referring to late Sunday night/early Monday morning].”

Here are a few of the tweets—there’s plenty more where these came from.






via Vocativ

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Skateboarding in an abandoned psychiatric ward
03:55 pm



Photo credit: Sean Colello
Skaters Sean Collelo and Rob Miceli take you on a pretty wild ride through an abandoned psychiatric ward in New York state. As I was watching them walk through the underground tunnels all I could think of was too much asbestos. Those old pipes are just covered in it!

The footage wasn’t entirely shot in the psych ward, but some other abandoned buildings as well. They never reveal the exact locations, so it’s up to you to figure it out. But dammit, I’m a sucker for this type of stuff.

The campus is a pretty huge area made up of about 10 abandoned buildings and 4 buildings that are still functioning. Psych patients roam around the complex and so do cops. Most of the abandoned buildings are pretty boarded up so you can’t get in, but the thing that’s so sick is all the buildings are connected with underground tunnels, so if you can find a way into one, you can access them all. The nurses used these tunnels to deliver food and supplies to the patients all over the center. It’s surprisingly untouched. You will still find office supplies, files, photos, machinery, and other artifacts.

Once we found our way into the tunnels, we quickly learned it was a giant maze: Loads of dead ends, stairs going up and down, and puddles so big you have to use cinder blocks as stepping stones. The reason we called the project ‘The Search For BLDG.40′ is because the first room in the video that Rob skates was the hardest to get to.

What I dig most about this is that it’s where skate culture meets art. And it looks fun as hell too!

Via Gawker

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Awesome woman performs bike tricks 20 years before BMX flatland-style, 1965
10:34 am


Lilly Yokoi

Meet Japanese ballerina Lilly Yokoi. Here she is performing some amazing bike tricks on TV variety show The Hollywood Palace in 1965. The ABC program used a different host each week. Joan Crawford was the host on this show which aired on October 9, 1965.

Throughout the sixties and seventies Yokoi was considered the world’s greatest acrobat on a bicycle. She was known as “The Ballerina On The Golden Bicycle.”

I can’t find any information on Yokoi’s whereabouts today, but I believe she’s still alive. In any case, she’d give a lot of X Games competitors a run for their money. And mind you, she’s doing this in heels. Go Lilly!

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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