California Literary Review


Game of the Week: Stanford vs. Oregon — The View from England


November 18th, 2012

So that was a touch unexpected. The Ducks, used to clocking up around 55 points per game, managed 14 against a stalwart Cardinal which kept them to a round number of points in the first quarter. Round like the O in Oregon.

Game of the Week: Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame — The View from England


October 28th, 2012

But seeing the mascot of the “Fighting Irish” always makes me blench slightly, I think because it packages Irish identity as such a quaint, jabbering, leprechauny affair. When the commentators keep saying “the Irish are doing this…” and “the Irish feel that…” I rather want to put my hand up politely and suggest that what a bunch of sports fans in another country are doing has nothing to do with what the Irish are doing and feeling.

Game of the Week: Tennessee vs Alabama — The View from England


October 21st, 2012

His whole appearance is so overpoweringly wholesome and plucky, he so powerfully exudes the air of someone who carries their own soundtrack around with them, that one cannot see him onscreen without picturing him in a montage.

Game of the Week: Texas vs Oklahoma — The View from England


October 14th, 2012

I mean, they might blush a little when contemplating the way their run defense allowed Williams and Clay to wander around their territory as if preparing a geological survey map. But playing up to the whistle like that has got to garner some sort of admiration.

Game of the Week: Penn State vs Illinois — The View from England


September 30th, 2012

Sanctions are appropriate because there is a potential worry that the culture of Penn State football may be toxic in some sense. In other words, that the way the game is regarded, coached and played at a particular institution may have indirectly contributed to the years which elapsed before the abuse was stopped.

Game of the Week: Florida State vs Clemson — The View from England


September 23rd, 2012

The structure of the college game provides terrific narratives because it squashes the entire career of a virtuoso into a handful of years. They pass from their fresh unproven hopes, to their doughty veteran mid-career, to their sepia-tinted last-game late style, within a matter of seasons.

Game of the Week: UCF vs Ohio State — The View from England


September 9th, 2012

Paying or not paying student athletes is a labor issue, just as the term “student athlete” was invented in an early twentieth-century court case to prevent them from claiming certain employment benefits whilst participating in a lucrative and physically risky industry. PhD students who undertake teaching within their department, and part-time contingent lecturers, are becoming increasingly vocal after the way they underpin the entire higher education system, and I’d like to see more discussion across the sports-academics line about the common causes to be made.

Movie Review: Moneyball


September 24th, 2011

Jonah Hill shows that he can do more than broad comedy. Although awkward and nervous, Brand is severely dialed back from what we’ve seen Hill play before, and Moneyball utilizes his strengths without showing his weaknesses. The movie also wisely doesn’t make this math genius some sort of Beautiful Mind-esque, socially incompetent robot. He’s good at statistics, but he’s still a human who gets caught up in the excitement of the game.

Book Review: In the Blink of an Eye by Michael Waltrip


March 29th, 2011

On the last lap, Earnhardt crashed, dying shortly thereafter. The race winner, Michael Waltrip, was celebrating in Victory Lane when he found out that he had lost one of his best friends even as he achieved one of the biggest successes of his racing career. New York Times bestseller In the Blink of an Eye is the story of Waltrip’s journey of personal discovery as he dealt with this loss, as well as an account of how a guy from a small town in Kentucky ended up driving at the elite level in his chosen sport.

Movie Review: Secretariat


October 8th, 2010

It’s a cheery film, brought to life with pomp and circumstance by Randall Wallace in what is easily his best outing as a director. Everyone is good in it, and even the great John Malkovich turns in a fine “eccentric supporting character” performance without ever feeling like he’d rather be doing something more substantial. As family films go, Secretariat is one of the best bets of the year… but when viewed any other way it’s merely decent.

A Match Made in Heaven: Jeff Koons’ BMW Art Car


April 12th, 2010

Jeff Koons: design sketch for the 17th BMW Art Car 2010 © Jeff Koons, Image Source: Cartype On April 6th, international art star, Jeff Koons revealed his design for his BMW art car.  The company has been commisioning artists to adorn  vehicles since 1975.  The project started when Hervé Poulain, an auctioneer and race car driver asked his friend, Alexander Calder, to […]

Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series by Mark Frost


October 21st, 2009

Baseball’s World Series. 1975. The Cincinnati Reds, manager Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine, are up 3 games to 2 against Darrell Johnson’s scrappy Red Sox. After a three-day rain delay that has drowned any hope of an inning, the sun rises on the oldest Major League stadium still in use. It’s Tuesday, October 21, at Fenway Park.

Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham by Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising


April 28th, 2009

There’s a scene in Field of Dreams where the camera lingers on a baby-faced baseball player wearing a New York Giants uniform. He has just seen a girl fall from the bleachers and he comes running towards her, hesitating for a fraction of a second on the edge of the grass. Then he drops his glove, takes a step and metamorphoses into the incomparable Burt Lancaster in one of his last starring roles. In an instant, Moonlight Graham has become Doc Graham, and he can never go back to the game he loved.

David Harris on Bill Walsh, the Brilliant Coach of the San Francisco 49ers


September 29th, 2008

“Once, as an assistant coach at Cal, he knocked a guy out who flipped him the bird when out driving with his family. Bill got in his last known public fist fight at the age of 65. ‘Genius’ or not, he was not someone to be trifled with.”

Jennifer Sey on the Harsh World of Elite Gymnastics


June 2nd, 2008

From what I witnessed, and certainly in my experience, many of the high level coaches in the 80s deployed a particularly tough approach that would be considered by outsiders to the sport, emotional abuse. As a participant, the seemingly ‘aggressive’ tactics just seemed like the norm. And I just got used to it. It didn’t seem especially awful at the time as it is what most of my friends were also going through.

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