S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Hi, I’m Josh Levine, Slate’s national editor and the author of The Queen. This is Hang Up and Listen for the week of May 26, 2020. On this week’s show, we’re going to talk about the latest plans to bring back pro and college sports. Who is driving these proposals and what we should hope to see in the coming months? We’ll also interview ultra runner Zac Bitar, who just set a world record by running 100 miles on a treadmill in just over 12 hours. Finally, we’ll talk to Simon Anthony. You can and should watch.
S3: Solving a Sudoku puzzle and a 25 minute video that makes for an excellent substitute for live sports coming to you today from Washington, D.C., home of famed sports talker, a batter and Sudoku appreciator. Stefan Fatsis, author of the book Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic. Hello, Stefan. Hey, Josh with us from Palo Alto, California. Slate staff writer, host of Slow Burn Season three and appreciator of the Web series Real Reality Gossip. Joel Anderson is reading your tweets, Joe.
S4: Yeah, support black media for reality gossip. If you want to get the real scoop on Michael Jordan and how he in his first marriage, you need to go there.
S3: Just I’ll leave it to the listeners to discover real reality gossip for themselves. We won’t it. I will. I will admit to all that. I watched the video after after hit to today.
S4: I think the Gothika, they finally followed me on social media today. I think we might be getting a little partnership going. So we’ll see. So we’re now heading into our third month of a sports blackout other than a smattering of events, a NASCAR race at Darlington, a few UFC fight cards in Jacksonville, a WWE live show in April, the games and large sporting events in America have largely come to a halt amid this global pandemic. But if the headlines from the past week are any indication, the games must go on whether we’re ready for them or not. Each of the major American sports leagues, and probably even more the minor ones are currently having conversations about when and where to restart their leagues. On Monday, the NHL signed a memo to its players and media with a plan to start voluntary workouts as early as June. MLB owners and its players unions are working on a deal to start training in a couple of weeks, and the NBA is talking about getting things started in late July. Inside of a Walt Disney complex in Orlando, it’s much less clear how the NFL and college football would come back. But, for example, s.E.C. Teams will be permitted to hold voluntary workouts starting June if Josh. Obviously, a lot has changed since Rudie go bears positive test in March prompted the NBA to immediately suspend its season. But what do you think of this? Come full court press to reopen American sports.
S3: Thank you for that job. I think it’s right to frame this as a contrast to go bears positive test because I thought Ben Cohen and Louise Radnofsky did a good job of framing this and the Wall Street Journal and what they argue, and I think this is right, is the difference here is that we’re now at a phase. Rightly or wrongly, where a single positive test would not actually stop these leagues from proceeding. And whether that’s the NBA, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League. I don’t think you can ramp up in the way these leagues are talking about ramping up. If you are then willing to stop, if there’s a positive test. So I think whether that’s based on a shift in our view of what the right approach is, public health wise, whether it’s a shift in our, you know, view of what the right thing is societally or just what we’re able to or willing to accept, I think that’s the reality here. And Stefan, I think one thing we need to acknowledges that a lot of the conversation here is about like the owners and the leagues versus everyone else, and they really want to get started because they need the revenue. But like the NBA, everything we’ve heard, including from the head of the players association, Michele Roberts, the players want to start. We’ve heard from the governors of New York, California and Texas that they’re happy to have leagues come back.
S5: So there’s actually, I think, a lot more alignment here from all different parties than we might have thought or acknowledged in the past.
S6: Yeah, there’s definitely some as as Ben and Louise write in the journal, some moving of goalposts here in terms of safety and what priorities need to be taken. And part of that, I think, is obviously the evolution of the ability to test for cosied. Now, there are more tests available and certainly these billion dollar league’s multi-billion dollar leagues are gonna have access to thousands and. Tests in order to keep their players and staff and others routinely and constantly monitored. But the consensus to me comes from not just the fear of losing revenue permanently, but from this impatience that people want to play. The athletes want to play. The owners obviously have motivations that are largely financial. But they would probably also argue somehow altruistic or societal, that we need sports to return. And they are also being helped by the attitude of not just those state governments, but the federal government. The White House, the administration have taken this position of flexibility when it comes to sports. There’s this acknowledgement now that Koven is here. It’s going to be part of whatever we do going forward. And it’s treatable and we have to deal with that. I mean, one of the basic underlying tenets of the NBA and MLB and other leagues plans is that we’ve gone from not wanting to have any cases to accepting that there will be cases no matter what we do.
S4: I think that acceptance is going to look a lot different if we have a key game. Like let’s just say that the NBA gets started. We have the Western Conference finals and Kawhi Leonard has to sit out because he tested positive. And as a result, Montrezl Harrell and as a result, Lou Williams has to sit out because they’re all you know, they’ve all been infected. And we have a key game. And then we’re going to see how much our tolerance for, you know, a few positive tests really matters. Right. And so we’ll have Kawhi. I think it’s a big game, like.
S7: Yeah. I get up and say, not Montreaux Harrell, though very much yourself.
S4: A nice little for, you know. Yeah. Right. I mean, that’s they’re losing their seventh man. Then you don’t you can’t discount that. But yeah. I mean, I just think that like we think we’re willing to accept right now is going to look a lot different than once we actually get it. I think I’d like much like horse and much like to excel. So I think trying to stage games under these circumstances seems like a good idea. And then we’re going to see it and then we’re going to be like, oh, why are we doing that? Why are we pressing so hard to get to something that’s not even normalcy? We just want something that sports like in its substance, but not necessarily sports. And I just don’t know that people are going to really be satisfied when they get a chance to see it.
S3: Well, the other thing that I think is inevitable, and we’ve already seen it with the relaunch of soccer in Germany, is that they’re going to be injuries. And then, you know, will the injuries have been caused by inadequate training period, or is it because that injury is just sometimes, you know, happened? But like LeBron Terrace’s, the hits yell something like, we might look a bit, look at this and think of this differently, too. And, you know, I started and you started all by talking about how things have changed since the really go bare moment and how that really shifted everything. Like, things have changed. But what the lesson of that moment is that one individual acts, one person. One thing can really shift our perceptions in enormous ways. So whether it’s an injury, whether it’s a positive test for a key player, whether it’s a coach, an older coach, getting Corvet and becoming really sick, we’re just getting off a weekend where Patrick Ewing was in the hospital, a 57 year old man who is in the hospital for Kovik. So, yeah, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. Something will inevitably happen. There’s enough sports going on here and enough different leagues and enough different protocols that something will inevitably shift our perception here. And the interesting thing, Stefan, as you know, there are all these, like conference calls with the president or whatever. But, you know, all of these leagues have totally different approaches.
S5: Like there doesn’t seem to be any sort of unified sense of best practices around how to restart where, when and or anything.
S7: I mean, if I think if you look at the protocols, there’s a general coalescence of the idea of how to do this. It’s no longer put a bubble over Arizona and play baseball. It’s the sort of slightly more modified plan. Everyone seems to like the idea of, you know, playing in one place. I mean, that goes for like the National Women’s Soccer League to the NBA to to some of the proposals for the NHL playing in a limited number of places, not sort of stopping everyone from coming and going, but testing constantly when a player or coach personnel go in or out of the complex. So I think there is a general consensus here. But all the leagues are hiring different medical experts. They’re all convening different sorts of panels. They’re taking different approaches to how they resolve all of this with the players. So you’re ultimately going to get two different conclusions. And that’s not even to mention that the. These leagues are all sort of slightly different stages of their seasons with different imperatives on when they need to finish by and how they want to conclude all of these things. And, you know, I think going back to what you said, Joel, maybe a lot of this is to sort of fanciful thinking on the part of the leagues. And once, you know, the players gather in Orlando, the approach becomes less sort of confident. I mean, everything looks good on paper, right? Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. So we really know this all sounds good. It sounds better and better with each passing day, but the execution is still going to be very, very complicated.
S4: Right. I mean, I guess a question I’ll have if we just started talking about this is what assurances do we have that anybody knows what they’re doing, like in terms of proper protocol, keeping people safe? We don’t even have a federal response, like people that are in charge of our national response don’t seem to have a clue or some sort of organization around what we should all be collectively doing. There’s none of that that exist. So we’re basically trusting people with, you know, very perverse incentives to get things started without necessarily being concerned about the health or the safety of people around them, people that don’t even necessarily have any expertise in those fields. And we’re saying, hey, they’re going to start it up. I’m sure they’ll figure it out. You know, we just we don’t know. And I guess the thing that I’m just concerned about is that we don’t we don’t know anything about anything right now. And we’re really leaning on Tilman, Fertitta and, you know, whoever else, you know, to come up with the standards to keep all of these people safe from the people around him, because it’s not even just the players, it’s the staff that has to take care of them. It’s hotel staff, people that set up arenas, things like, you know, training staff, all this other stuff. We’re putting these people’s lives in their hands. And if we’ve seen one thing is that the human death toll is not enough to stop us from wanting to see things happen.
S6: I’m a little bit less cynical about that because I do feel like the leagues are hiring former surgeons general and the heads of major hospitals in their cities to advise them whether they follow that advice. Yeah, we’re not going to be certain. But I think if they didn’t take sort of make serious protocols and take serious steps, there would be articulated concern from health authorities.
S8: Well, but, Stefan, like, the thing that this is reminiscent of is, you know, the criminal justice system does not work in this country in all different kinds of scenarios and in all different sorts of ways. And we’ve seen that around me to stuff, for instance, that when we can’t adjudicate these claims and courts of law adequately, then it falls on journalism to deal with it. And journalists, you know, you know, try to try their best and are able to do really good investigations. But it’s not any substitute for having a functional government and a system that actually has the power and the authority to do certain things that, you know, a reporter can’t. And so the reason this reminds me of what’s going on here is that in the absence of a functional national response, as Joel said, then it trickles down where the national response, I think, is coming from sports leagues like they are sending the signals and the messages to all of us about what we should be doing, what stage we’re at. And that’s not the role they should be playing. It’s not the role that they are trained. Maybe they’ll. I think they will probably do the best job that they can, but they have a financial incentive here. That’s not that we can’t separate from any kind of altruistic reasons they’re doing. And that’s what, you know, a functional, adequate government.
S3: We would not question why things are happening. We would say they’re doing this because they want to keep us safe and because this is what the best advisers say. And you know what? You know, Adam Silver, I don’t think he wants to, like, get us killed or get any players killed. But also, it’s not his job. And he has other jobs that are kind of in conflict with the main job here, which is health and safety.
S7: I will say that the sports league does seem to have better health expert teams than the federal government does right now, which is a little scary.
S4: Right? You know, even beyond that, like so the pro sports leagues have this right. You know, billion dollar enterprises have the means to put in place safety measures that will protect people that have collectively bargained this situation away. Right. Well, more worrisome to me is the groundswell to bring back college sports, because, I mean, as I mentioned in the intro, the FCC is talking about having voluntary workouts. You’ve got a lot of high profile coaches, Dabo Swinney amongst them, that, as you know, said and shown that he is ready to get things started in the fall. These kids don’t. Have you know any sort of organization looking out for them? There’s like a general sense, like Michigan’s president said, if students are back on campus, we won’t have football. But that’s just one guy. That’s one voice that we’ve heard so far. And, you know, it’s fine for the NBA and the NFL and MLB if this if this is what they want to do, if they want to play games in the middle of a pandemic far. But college sports athletes, they’re the ones that are really vulnerable in hell even. I’m from Texas and I read sports. You know, the sports pages down there. And even there’s some high school coaches talking about getting a workout started again. And I’m just like, whoa. Like what? You don’t have any resources. How do we know that you’re quite competent, qualified to handle that sort of threat to the kids and the people all the way around them?
S9: I think one thing that we’re going to see, Joel, is that some teams are going to play and some aren’t in college sports. That’s going to be weird.
S8: And I hope I got accused of hypocrisy here. Maybe hypocrisy is not the right word, but I think we need to if we can stipulate that there’s a lot of concerns here and a lot of questions to be raised. It’s also going to be really weird and interesting to see what happens, because all these formats are just so bizarre. And, you know, with a what the NBA is suggesting basically makes it sound like it’s going to be an a you tournament with games all day long with Disney World. I really want to watch that. I think I would be fine and I feel bad for saying it. But like, the NHL is going to do like a 2014 playoff format. It’s gonna be really like it’s it’s kind of interesting to see all of the the like rules about what we know and expect and how these leaks are going to operate. Just kind of get tossed out and they’re just like coming up with random stuff.
S4: Don’t make me I don’t want to seem like too much of a scold because I’ll absolutely watch all this shit like that. You know, I’m not above I’m not above watching it, OK?
S7: But if I was these leaks, I would make it as wacky as possible. I mean, look, this season is going to count if these seasons are played, but then there will be an asterisk. They’re going to be known as the next season. So why not with the whole thing? Playoffs. Tournament brackets, whatever. You know, just come up. Be creative, but be creative in a way that you can create something that might be usable to improve your league going forward. I mean, there are certainly ways for creative schedulers and planners to come up with tweaks that could be implemented when normal leagues resume. Play 18 game season for baseball. That is. That’s your tweet. That’s your tweet.
S10: That’s my tweet. Maybe only. Let’s let’s start. Let’s start somewhere.
S9: But, yeah, with the basketball stuff, you know, play in tournament for the playoffs, you know, rather than having all these regular season games. That seems like exactly in the sweet spot, Stefan. What you’re talking about. Yeah.
S11: Bag EastWest and just reseed for playoffs. I mean, that sort of stuff.
S4: Yeah, I saw that. That looked a lot of fun just looking at it on screen. Oh, okay. I’m into that. Maybe I should do that all the time.
S10: Damn sports leagues with your fun ideas, encouraging us to be excited about coming back.
S4: I think the pandemic I’m throwing caution to the wind just so we can watch, you know, LeBron go for his fourth ring.
S10: On Saturday, May 16th, Zach Bitar went for a run when it was over twelve hours, nine minutes and fifteen seconds later, he had the world record for the fastest hundred miles ever on a treadmill. That is a pace of seven, 18 per mile. This isn’t bidder’s. First hundred mile world record. He’s got the record on a track to eleven hours, 19 minutes and 13 seconds. But this one somehow seems way more excruciating, depending on your perspective. This is either an inspiring example of what all we can accomplish during a quarantine or an apt metaphor for these bizarre times, given that we’ve all spent the last several months essentially running in place. Joining us now is your new treadmill, world record holder sitting next to the record treadmill in the room where it happened. Zach Bitar, thanks for being here, Zach. Hey, guys. Yeah, thanks for having me on. My first question, Zach, is, was this your idea or did it come from a sponsor in a bid to get media attention if it did totally work?
S12: Yeah, no, it’s kind of funny how it all started. I, I was actually preparing for a one hundred miler on the track in London. So like a 400 meter, just like All-Purpose track, essentially. And, you know, in March I thing I experienced what all endurance athletes kind of did, which is the cascading of events just getting canceled basically through at least the first half of the year. And I was far enough into my training plan for the race. So the end of April that I wasn’t so sure. I just wanted to kind of just scale back as much as I wanted to kind of put the finishing touches on that training program. So my thought was, you know, 400 meter track is pretty monotonous, pretty like monotone in the sense that your mechanics can be pretty similar step up step. And, you know, I was aware of treadmill records. I did know a couple older guys who had the world records. Dave Proctor read One Hundred Mile Twelve Hour before I did it. And then Jacob, you had the 50 mile. So I’ve always kind of thought this might be some fun to go after some day. But just in the context of normal races being on the calendar, it just didn’t seem to have the priority. They maybe fit in my schedule. But then when there was nothing around and a lot of us were kind of trapped indoors doing exercise stuff, I thought, let’s make maybe this is something I should focus my energy on if I want to want to do something other than just kind of train. So my first thought was, well, I’ll just record it. So it’s documented and maybe stream it to YouTube. And so the idea I guess, was mine. But then once I started letting my sponsors know that what I was going to do, you know, they started having some great ideas, including bringing in guest speakers every 30 minutes, guest host and stuff like that to make it a little more entertaining. Then I guess what you consider the running equivalent of watching paint dry, which would have been just me by myself on the treadmill of offers.
S7: I think the question we all have, Zach, is that running on a treadmill is about the most fucking boring thing that most of us do in our lives. I can last about an hour a mile on. It’s like I can’t do this. This is awful. How do you deal psychologically? And before we get to the sort of the physical differences in terms of running, but the psychological one seems to me to be the huge hurdle here.
S12: Yeah. I mean, I think the psychological thing is the big one. I think physically, you know, you can adjust. You just gotta kinda get the mechanics similar to what you’re going to be doing on race day. Like, that’s my general strategy. Whenever I’m preparing for an ultra marathon is kind, of course, specificity or environment specificity. So you just get your body used to being at the intensity and the place where you’re gonna be trying to perform. Yeah, the psychological thing stood out and I kind of assumed it. Would you one of our guest speakers, Dr. Jeff Burns, actually talked to him for over an hour, about a week before, just to kind of go through that stuff, because he kind of had some insight into it. And he was saying that, like what he thinks is going on, a lot of times treadmill stuff is you kind of even though you kind of set the pace and then forget it and just let the treadmill kind of like, you know, calculate the stuff for you at first. That maybe seems like an advantage in the sense that you don’t have to be thinking about staying on pace all day. It just does it for you. But with that comes this kind of loss of control where you feel more like you’re being told what to do as opposed to kind of dictating what’s being done. And that kind of loss of control, I think really eats at you psychologically where you just get the points. You just want to jump off the treadmill and be like, OK, I need to regain some sense of control here. And I had some experiences like that on on race day. But it was it was a learning experience. I had ran more than 30 miles on a treadmill before that. So I had, I guess, 70 miles of unknown in terms of how that was going to kind of play out. But, yeah, that was kind of the big one, though. I think just it more so even than just like kind of what you’d expect to be the relative boredom of being in the same place. I think just being not having those tiny little nuances, pace shifting that you’re going to kind of just do intuitively if you’re out there like freerunning, I guess, you know, versus just responding to the belt on the treadmill for people that didn’t get a chance to see you actually do this.
S4: What does the scene for this look like? What’s the setup? Because, for instance, when I’m. A treadmill, I have to throw a towel over the clock and, you know, over the clocks, I don’t focus on it because otherwise it’ll be too monotonous and whatever else. So I did it look like for you.
S12: Yes. So we had two treadmill setup that I was kind of going back and forth on. So that kind of gave me a little bit of flexibility in terms of just being able to kind of change things up a little bit or also like, you know, bypass treadmills usually typically shut down after three hours if you keep on running. You know, I didn’t block the screen at any time. I, like, chose to not look at it from time to time. But one one strategy I was also kind of using that’s maybe a little different than what I would do in a normal ultramarathon, is in order to try to regain some of that lost control is just adjusting paces on a fairly regular schedule. So rather than saying, like, OK, I want to run eight and a half miles per hour, I’m missing such a half mile of miles per hour and sit in there as long as I can. I would kind of work around that. So I might be at like eight miles per hour for a little while and then at nine and then at like eight point two and then like eight point eight just kind of move around that. So like every once in a while when I would get it kind of border or kind of like bogged down with the fact that I’m just kind of responding, I would change something that kind of I think triggered in my mind like that. There is like little steps along the way versus, okay, I’m going to be on here for over 12 hours today. And that’s my reality is kind of funny, because early on when you’re just kind of still a little more mentally fresh, you know, I would do specific paces for like over a mile or two miles sometimes and then change it. Whereas by the end I was switching multiple times within a single mile. So I started doing kind of a ladder, a ladder approach near the end where when I get to the top of a mile or the start of a mile, I would start at like eight eight point oh miles per hour. And then after, like a quarter mile, move it up to eight point two and then after another tenth of a mile, move up to like eight point or. And then just kind of keep laddering up. And then once I get to the end of that mile, start back over again and kind of keep doing that. And that kind of helps me, I think, focus on just being in the moment versus thinking about, you know, finishing when I’m 70 miles in or trying to get kind of bogged down by that. The other kind of funny thing I realized since I had two treadmill setup, we have it’s a pretty small room. So one of them was basically facing a white wall. The other was facing the entry way to it. So by the end, probably the last like two the last third or so of the day, I spent almost all my time on that one.
S4: Facing the door is like at least look out and see my wife, a dog walking around the room outside.
S10: I’ve noticed that you use the term race day. How do you think about the fact and I can relate to this because, you know, when I go to work now, I’m in my house, you know, you can trick yourself into thinking you’re going to work because I’m going to put on pants because that’s what I do when I go to work. I’m going to take a shower. That’s how I relate to you, Zach. That’s a shame, because I put on pants now. But like in the place where, like, you watch Netflix, presumably where you’re like Wife and Doug are. So how do you convince yourself that this is a big race day? I’m going to a race. I’m competing today.
S13: And you’re in your damn house.
S12: Yeah. You know, I thought about that a few times during the event and a lot afterwards was like just being curious and wondering if I would have been able to do this if I had just like, you know, set the treadmill at myself and just set out to do it. Because I think one of the things that kept me kind of driven and going was the fact that we set up such a big event around it since we were alive, streaming it out. And we had it almost 30 people coming in throughout the day. And I got to like seven hours. I remember thinking, like like I really would like to be done now. But, you know, we’ve got about half of the people who took time out of their Saturday to come on and kind of share their stories and their expertise. Some things, you know, waiting to come on the livestream and do that. And I was like, if I stop now just because I can’t handle the treadmill, I’d be letting a lot more people down than just myself. So I think that really actually helped. I mean, there were certainly some like I guess a little more unnerving, I think having an event set up around it like that to where, you know, you’re you’re trying to do something in front of a larger group of people. And a lot of people are relying on you. A lot of your sponsors are invested in this at money time, trying to plan it, everything like that, too. But I think ultimately you can kind of skew that towards a positive if you use it to kind of keep you keep you focused on staying in there and finishing the day versus, you know, ending early, which could have easily happened had I done this on home.
S11: So basically, you felt guilty about not running one hundred miles.
S12: Exactly. Yeah. Dilton myself into finishing.
S7: Is there something special about the hundred mile number, Zach? I mean, it’s out there. There are records on tracks. The marathon obviously lines up nicely with two hours. And we saw the sub two hour marathon last year. Do you have a particular number in mind for one hundred miles? Is it a sort of similar construct? There.
S12: Yeah. To a degree, I think. When I first did a flat fast hundred miler, it was in 2013. And on that particular day, I broke the American record for a hundred miles in the world record for 12 hours and did one hundred and eleven forty seven. So my next kind of goal was let me see if I can get down near the world record, which at the time was 11 hours and 28 minutes. So then last August, when I ran 11, 19, I kind of jumped past that. And I mean, I’m I’m very convinced that, like, there’s guys in this sport who can go on or eleven hours, I think I might be able to as well. So I think, like in terms of the hundred miles trajectory on flat Runnable course, as I think some 11 hours is kind of this will become a goal for people who kind of go after that with a world record or a huge performance in mind.
S4: I read somewhere that you don’t eat carbs for something like this because, you know, like I, I make it through a day without two bowls, oatmeal. I don’t understand how you do it and why you’re not eating oatmeal. And were you eating instead tofu yourself for the sort of, you know, endurance test.
S12: Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t I don’t cut out carbs entire early. I definitely would fall in the category of high fat, low carb where fat and protein make up the primary macro nutrients and my nutrition and the carbs make up kind of the minority and but that’s still kind of ranges quite a bit. So the way I like to describe it, and I think this is what sometimes confuses people, though I Neutra is you just look at my training course of the year or you could pick out a week where at 50 miles you could pick out a week. I don’t run at all if it’s like after a race. So on those times a year where I’m not having I’m not in structure training, I’m in recovery, or I’m doing kind of like a D load, we rescate that sort of stuff. I’ll bring my carbs down really low, like less than 50 grams a day or more in line. What do you look at as like a classic ketogenic diet? But then when I kind of ramp things up and structure my training, I’ll bring my carbs up a little bit. It’s pretty rare that I go much above 20 percent of my intake carbohydrate. So when you look at most endurance training protocols that are probably targeting at least moderate, if not high carbohydrate and likely and kind of the 60 to 70 percent range during peak training, it kind of stands out a little bit, I guess. You know, there I think there’s a lot of nuance in what I do versus some of your more typical endurance training stuff, because for a hundred mile race, you know, even an 11 hour 100 miler, I’m going to be very aerobics during that. And it’s going to be like, you know, my cheek intensity is probably pushing up to my Robak threshold. So relative to like a five K, which you’re going to raise like close to your CO2 max or a half marathon, or even with some of these, like really elite marathoners doing full marathons and certainly half marathons at their lactic threshold and may have Berk’s bursts of higher intensity. And they’re you know, they’re just hitting a different system on race day than I am. So I think specificity is a little different. And when you have these skew things towards these really long, relatively low intensity events like ultramarathon, there’s just so many other variables that come into play, one of them being digestion. So, like, for me personally, like if I can setup my nutrition plan so that I don’t have to rely on eating quite as much during the event itself, that helps me avoid having like stoppages in the latter half of the race due to stomach distress or bathroom breaks and things like that. So that’s just kind of a strict strategy I would like to implement, and it’s worked really well for me. There’s other folks in the alternate. Can that kind of use it, use it as well. But it’s definitely stands out as being different in the endurance nutrition world for sure.
S4: What did you eat on the day of the race?
S12: Yes, I usually do with these like kind of more controlled environment races where I basically have access to whatever I want. Whenever I want it, I’ll usually do mostly liquid calories. So I did I think over the course of the race, the event, 12 packets of this product by fuels called race plus. So I did about 12 of those those packets, I think about one hundred and ten calories a piece with about 16 grams of carbs. And then the only solid food, a eight mile eighty seven, I had like a sandwich bag of potato chips. And then I think I had eight ounces of soda near the end there. And that was basically it. So it’s mostly liquid calories, little bit of potato chips. And that kind of kept me, kept me going.
S10: So according to Runner’s World, you also add two pounds of ground beef topped with melted cheese and sea salt and a bag of pork rinds after the race. You since you out of the bathroom, I don’t feel bad asking about it. Like, how many miles away would would we have wanted to be from your bathroom after the race?
S12: It wasn’t too bad. I mean, I’ve had much more efficient races where I’ve stopped as few as two times for a total maybe 60 to 90 seconds. And in August at the Pettit Center, when I wrote the Outright World Records, I stopped three times, I think for a total maybe four minute.
S14: So don’t crack one of my bedroom really quickly like that. Is that like a thing that you calibrate?
S12: Yeah. You know, what I usually do is when I’ve been planning a race like this, I try to kind of tease that into my pacing strategy. So I know if I have if I have a good day from a digestive standpoint, a feelings standpoint, I’m probably going to need about four minutes, five minutes at most for bathroom breaks. So usually when I’m trying to decide what kind of time to target, I build that in. So that, say, mile thirty five. I stopped to use the bathroom. I don’t feel like I have to play catch up. I have to say, OK, I just used up 90 seconds of my bank’s time and then if I stop again at mile sixty five, kind of the same thing and I don’t still worry about playing catch up until I start kind of going out beyond what I would consider a really solid nutritional. They just kind of a strategy, you know, at this particular on the treadmill. My biggest mistake wasn’t necessarily nutrition, it was more fluid. I really underestimated how much fluid I was going to need, partly because I tried to create an environment that was similar to my race in August, which was at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And that’s an Olympic training facility where they have speed skating rink hockey rinks in there. So they keep it pretty cool at around 60 degrees. So I thought I could try to get the temperature down that far in the house, but we weren’t able to. And then I probably underestimated, like, the amount of heat I was going to generate that I was essentially just more or less wallowing in since I’m not moving. And then the heat coming off the treadmill, it kind of creates almost this little microclimate around you versus the rest of the house. So I ended up getting behind on fluids early and that was like making my stomach kind of tighten up a little bit. Luckily, I recognized it early enough where it was still early in the day where I could kind of play catch up a bit, which is kind of hard to do sometimes if that happens kind of in the latter part of the race, because you just you’re already kind of depleted enough. It’s just you can’t make up enough to to account for your mistake. But Fortunate happened early. And for me, I had a couple hours where I was able to get in like 60 ounces of fluid and a few electrolyte caps and just kind of get back on track with that. But there’s all these little variables, I think, with ultramarathon, when you’re doing something for all day long that just aren’t necessarily issues and other endurance events that make it kind of an interesting problem solving endeavor.
S13: So where’s your wife during all of this? Is she, like, holding up signs, encouraging you to go and plotting for you as you hit mile thirty seven, or is she ferrying fluid here or she like I got to go to the grocery store. I’m out of here.
S12: Yeah. No it’s fun because it’s like well not playing for her probably but it’s, it’s more stressful for her than is for me because I’m on that treadmill or on a on a track or wherever it is. I’m doing this and I know how I feel and I kind of have an idea of what I have to do to stay consistent, whereas she’s sitting there watching this whole thing just like not knowing how I feel and wondering about it and probably stressing out about it. So she’s kind of like, you know, she’s helping out whenever I ask for anything and trying to make sure she’s reminding me to do things that I’m starting to like, forget to fuel and forget to hydrate and things like that. So it ends up being kind of a busy day for her. And, you know, she’s an ultra marathoner as well and done quite well at some pretty big Ramala races. So I return the favor as much as possible. But when I crew for her, as you usually really like some of these more remote mountain horses. So I’ll see or maybe like five or six times until I maybe Pasir at the end. So it’s like I get these like bursts of stress when she comes to an aid station that I can kind of like, relax a bit dicier again, where she’s kind of just like seeing this whole thing unfold in front of her the entire day. So, yeah, I mean, she had she had a full day helping me out, giving me water, giving me fuel and all that stuff. And then she actually hosted our final two hour block as well with some other women in ultramarathons for to kind of help us real entertainment, too. So she was relieved when that clock struck twelve 09 and I was stepping off the treadmill. I just as much as I was.
S5: Zack Better has the record for fastest 100 miles on a treadmill and fastest hundred miles not on a treadmill.
S8: And Zach, I bet it’s super annoying when you set a record like this for people to ask what’s next? So I’m just gonna say you don’t need to do anything else that’s good enough. Just like if you didn’t do any any set any other records, I’d still be impressed. So congratulations.
S12: Well, thank you so much. Yeah, it’s it’s kind of a weird time for, I think, anyone doing an event that gathers a large group of people because those have been put on the sideline for now. So it was fun to be able to still kind of express my running urges a bit. But yeah, I’ll I’ll take a little bit of time before I decide what to do next, I think. Zach, appreciate it. Thanks having me on, guys.
S14: All right. I wanted to let you know that in this week’s bonus segment, we’re going to be joined by our colleague Jim Newell for a conversation about Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, the split in Tom Brady’s pants. Tom Brady’s badness at golf slumped on that one chip shot and all the other talking points from Sunday’s charity Golf Spectacular. Stick around for it. You won’t be sorry. At least I hope you want.
S1: Argue all you want over whether crosswords, chess, Scrabble and other competitive games qualify as sport and then go watch. Simon Anthony solve the miracle Sudoku pact with tension and drama. The 25 minute video triggers all the emotions a fan might experience, watching their underdog side stage an improbable upset. The initial dread at the mission, the naive willingness to give it a shot. The sudden glimmer of confidence. The growing hope. And finally, the epiphanic realization that the impossible is really happening. Yes, all of that in a video of a guy filling in numbers in a nine by nine grid since it posted two weeks ago, the miracle Sudoku has amassed almost eight hundred thousand views and made Simon Anthony a pandemic lockdown’s star. He joins us now from the attic in Surrey outside of London, where he solved the miracle Sudoku and hosts with fellow puzzler. Mark, good life. The YouTube channel cracking the cryptic. Welcome to the show, Simon.
S15: Hi, Stefan. Thanks for asking me on.
S1: Oh, my pleasure. I’ve also asked for the lexicographer language writer, puzzler, friend of the podcast and friend of mine, Ben Zimmer, to join the conversation. He’s in Jersey City, New Jersey. Hey, Ben.
S16: Hey, Stefan. Thanks for having me on. Hey, Ben.
S1: This will be fun. Sudoku has roots in ancient no puzzles, but the familiar version wasn’t invented until the late 1970s. Nine regions of three squares by three. Each region has to include the numbers, one through nine just once. And the numbers can appear only once in each row or column across the grid. Normally, a Sudoku puzzle begins with 30 or so of the one squares filled in. This puzzle had just two, a one and a two in different regions. Simon, in the video, you first lay out some special restrictions on where numbers can be placed. And then comes the big reveal, the moment you first see the two completed squares in the digital grid on screen. Let’s listen.
S17: Rut’s. He’s got to be joking.
S15: There’s no way that this well, it might have a unique solution, but it’s not going to be findable by a human being. I suspect this is going to be a short video because he is trolling me some usual.
S13: I have a puzzle just two squares filled in at the start. Had you ever seen one before?
S15: I have seen them before, but not not with those sorts of restraints. So there’s normally something else going on in the grade. And there are lots of supplementary clues, like you can have clues actually outside the great altogether. But to just have a one and a two sitting there starkly staring at you. It just I mean, it looked like nonsense to me. I was pretty sure that I was being pranked.
S18: But then you quickly sort of rise to the challenge. You were willing to give it a crack.
S15: Yeah. Yes. I mean, I think I’m I’m actually extremely lucky sitting here now because I did nearly just turn off the video. But somehow I spotted I could quickly place a one in the central books. And that sort of got me interested enough that, oh, maybe at least I can put one digit in the grid. Therefore I shouldn’t turn the video straight off. And yeah, from there it sort of snowballed is completely the wrong word because there were a lot of pauses while I sort of racked my brains as to what to do. But eventually made through my my way through it.
S16: Yes. I mean, I think what’s most enjoyable about watching this is your sense of discovery as it unfolds in front of you and just your your various. Aha. Moments along the way. I mean, what did it feel like just to have that, you know, seem like you have this impossible task in front of you and it just seems unimaginable that you could actually solve this thing. And then little by little, the pieces fall into place.
S15: I get it quite often, actually, in our videos. And that’s that’s a testament to the senses, because they are they are so clever. You know, they construct these beautiful logic problems which have very narrow solution paths. And so there can be pauses while we try and find those solution. But when you do, it’s a genuine eureka moments. Every video and the very best puzzles might give you three, four, three or four Eureka moments. And obviously, Mitchell lay in that puzzle. I mean, there are so many I mean, when I found that the threes were solvable, I was lost for words. I mean, if you’ve seen the video, you’ll know it just it just looks like nonsense. That doesn’t look that that can possibly be a way of logically resolving what the puzzle is telling you. But but then it turns out that there is follow up on what Ben just said.
S7: I mean, it’s that you’re having this internal conversation is what’s so captivating. You’re thinking out loud. You’re fighting with yourself and you sort of vacillate between this is just not going to solve. And this just might be solvable. I mean, you’re lost in your own head and you’re trying to conjure a way out of this mess. We’re watching someone struggle in real time with this seemingly impossible challenge. But this determination to figure it out.
S15: Yes, I think that, you know, that’s that’s the nature of these videos. I I actually somehow am able to forget the. There are people watching, although people who are going to watch and it’s my sort of conversation with myself about what I’m thinking logically, and I do try and speak it out loud so that people can hear all of the false thought processes, all of the thought processes that don’t take me in the right direction as well as those that do. And there’s some reason people seem to find that interesting, which is which is great.
S16: Well, Simon, you said that you were recording it as if no one was watching it. When you get into the middle of something like this. Do you feel like you’re in the zone, as athletes say? Do you feel like you’re just on this path with no distractions? I mean, what does it feel like to be in that moment?
S15: Yes, I do feel like that. I can I suppose if you’ve ever been skiing, I’m not that good a skier. And when I ski, I have to focus entirely on the task in hand to avoid dying. And it’s it’s a bit like that when I get into solving a puzzle, you know, my whole attention is directed at it. And I think I think that’s why we’re getting a lot of e-mails and feedback at the moment suggesting that puzzles are good for people’s mental health because they are able to just step away from real life for a few minutes and lose themselves in these discrete problems. And you can lose yourself in them because, you know, there are a lot of fun to solve and that they are and they have a solution as well, unlike some real world problems. You know you know that the problem you’re faced with has a solution, although in the case of the miracle Sudoku, I was a bit hopeless.
S6: And I think that’s exactly right. I remember very early in my own Scrabble career, one of experts that I was hanging out with. We were playing some word puzzle over drinks and he said, that’s the beauty of this. It looks like a life problem, but you can solve it in five minutes. And I think the combination of that with also that you’re bringing this esoteric pursuit to life. You know, even if you don’t fill in Sudoku is or play Scrabble or do any of these other sort of puzzling mind game sorts of of of hobbies.
S18: You’ve made me care here. I want to play another clip from the moment you alluded to earlier. When you solve the threes because you wound up doing this Sudoku in order from one to nine, which is not always the way Sudoku is or solved. But this feels like the moment when it dawned on you that, oh, my God, I can do this.
S19: This is just staggering. This is absolutely staggering because now, look, we’ve got we’ve locked the three into column eight and column nine in two different books. So we now know that in column seven, the three must be in this domino here. And we know therefore, those are not. And now look. Wrote eight nine. We’ve got the threes locked into the same two rows in two different boxes. So this neither of those can be a three to three. We we’ve got a three and we can get another three and another and another. I don’t believe this.
S15: The threes are play sebel from that absolute gibberish we had in the grid. What this is this is magic. This we are watching magic unfold here.
S18: Was that the aha. Moment for you?
S15: Yes. I think that’s the moment where I suddenly think, good grief. This puzzle has a solution. I had a sense at that point that the grid was getting filled by the three. So the force hopefully wouldn’t be so bad there would be less space for them to fit into that. That the threes solved was. Well, as you heard, it was a completely like a profound moment. I couldn’t believe it. And I’ve done thousands and thousands of these puzzles over the years. And to actually have moments like that where you just you’re lost for words, really.
S6: What makes it so appealing also is that we know after having watched you that you’re at the top of your game. This doesn’t work if it’s an average person. You’re an expert puzzle solver. You were watching sort of greatness in real time, too, if I can overstate it a little bit.
S15: I don’t feel great a lot of the time when I when I watch these videos back. I am I’m constantly embarrassed, actually, because I, I spot things I should have seen more quickly. I had a I had a dreadful moment about a week ago. I solved it was a wonderful puzzle by a puzzle compiler called Cristoff Silica. And I got through it. It took me a long time. It was about a 50 minute video. And I wrote to Cristoff after the video had gone live on the channel and said, Wonderful puzzle. I hope you enjoy watching myself it. And he wrote back and said, yes, of course, you know, you’ll have spotted this this trick with. Nine’s early on and my heart literally sank. I was like, what’s he talking about? And I read relooked to the puzzle. I realized I’ve missed this most beautiful piece of logic that he’d included right at the start of the puzzle to solve it, to find and get traction on the on the grid. And I was horribly embarrassed, actually. I recorded an apology video. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an apology video. I’ve been told since that there is sort of saying sorry for missing this this piece of logic. Because I feel in that situation, I’ve ruined someone’s creation. You know, they they they’ve taken the time to create this masterpiece. And I I miss the point of it. And that’s awful. You know, it’s like you’ve taken something beautiful and crushed to in your hand. So, yeah, I suppose I am at the top of my game, as good as my game can be. But I wish I was a bit better, actually.
S16: Well, for people who might not be as absorbed in the world of Sudoku and all of its crazy variants, it you know, it certainly feels like we’re watching this bravura performance. You know, you’re you’re face to face with this seemingly impossible task. And then you find you find the reserves to master. What do you have in order to conquer it? And there’s something really satisfying. I mean, you talk about your own satisfaction and in how you know, how that feels when you get that eureka moment. But there’s something fascinating, too. I mean, the way that this resonates, where everybody loves this, you know, so many people have shared this video with me, asked if I’ve seen it, everyone is vicariously enjoying your experience. Why do you think that you know that this has struck a chord? Does it have something to do with the time that we’re in? Everyone is, you know, under lockdown, whether they’re in the U.K. or U.S. or other parts of the world. Does that have something to do with it? Why? You know, why at this moment do you think this video has become such a success?
S15: I’m sure you’re right. You know, we will turn on the news every day and confronted mostly with horrific news and, you know, best bad news. And I think that this is video just provides people with a little bit of relief when they see something, something good happening or at least, you know, something not bad happening. And, yeah, I’m sure that’s the reason. I mean, a lot of the comments online. I think they’re alluding to that. You know, it’s like in this moment, this gave me some joy and that felt great because there isn’t a lot of that around. So, yeah, I think from that perspective, it’s a fortunate timing in a sort of unfortunate way.
S6: Yeah. Ben, we were talking about you were sharing information to me about how this isn’t unusual, that puzzles during times of crisis become something that people turn to. I mean, tell me tell. Tell us a little bit about the history of puzzling in during times of crisis. The New York Times, you told me, started a crossword puzzle after World War two, right?
S16: Yes. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, The New York Times had sort of famously resisted running crossword puzzle, even though, you know, other major newspapers had been doing it for a couple of decades. So Margaret Farrar actually convinced The New York Times publisher Arthur Hayes Sulzberger that the Times should run a paper. And so she actually wrote to Sulzberger and said, I don’t think I have to sell you on the increased demand for this type of pastime in an increasingly worried world. You can’t think of your troubles while solving a crossword. And then, you know, Sulzberger agreed, Margaret, for our became the first New York Times puzzle editor and recently the Margaret Firs current counterpart, Will Shortz. The current editor has drawn this same historical parallel. You know, he he recently said crosswords and puzzles in general are good in times of stress. And, you know, he says people feel stressed. We all feel stressed. And puzzles are a great way to relieve that. They make you feel better. You feel in control of life when you’ve finished a good puzzle. And I think that’s what we’re seeing with Simon and that magic Sudoku. There’s something greatly satisfying about that, in fact. I think there’s been scientific research into this feeling of relief and satisfaction that puzzle solving provides, especially in times of crisis.
S15: Yeah, I mean, I think we’re getting, as I alluded to earlier, lots of feedback at the moment that suggests exactly that. People are finding watching people solve puzzles and having a go at the puzzles themselves as a as a way of reducing anxiety. And that does seem to be a lot of anxiety around at the moment. I guess that’s because of a lockdown. And. I’ve never, never envisaged when we started the channel that it would it would be something that could affect people’s mental health. But, you know, we had some profound emails from people saying, you know, you’ve stopped me, you know, killing myself and things like that because they have found a way of calming down by watching these videos. And, yeah, it’s it’s it’s humbling. I’m not entirely sure I understand it, but it does seem to be a real thing. So it’s like an ASML type quality to watching people. So puzzles.
S18: That’s remarkable. Simon.
S16: Simon, I think your presentation of it is particularly soothing. A lot of people have commented just your voice and hearing hearing you work through this and all of your expressions of wonderment along the way. And it’s quite genuine. I mean, it’s clear that you’re reacting to this in a completely genuine way. I think that that adds to the appeal and what people are really getting out of all of this.
S18: Yeah, that’s exactly right, Ben. And I think that it’s this sense of escapism that that you’re giving people. And it’s the reason that we watch sports and it’s the reason that we often play sports or do games or or accept these puzzle challenges. We want to get away for a few minutes and we want to be challenged intellectually and mentally. And it helps when we can watch someone who’s so good at it, do it in a way that sort of brings us to a sense to a place, some sort of peace. It’s kind of yoga for the brand.
S15: Yes, definitely true. The other thing that we’ve had is people claiming that we’ve helped them to to think better. So we had met a lovely email about a week ago from a guy who’s just got into one of the top medical schools in the States. And he he claims that this is because we we allowed him to discover new ways to learn. And by watching our videos, he understood why I started to think differently. He starts to approach problems in a in a more logical, structured way. Whereas before he you seem to find it difficult to study. And, you know, he said he even mentioned us in his interviews and ends. He genuinely thinks we helped him. And, you know, if we did that, it’s just amazing that a channel where people solve Sudoku could help people in their real lives like this. It’s bizarre.
S7: Well, thank you both for joining us. Ben Zimmer writes about language for The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic, and he’s a partner in a new online project done you mentioned earlier. More puzzling during the pandemic. You’re part of a new website called Beyond Wordplay. Quickly, tell us a little bit about that.
S16: Sure. Yeah. It’s something that we’re just starting up beyond wordplay, dot com. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook at Beyond Wordplay. Basically, we’re exploring serious wordplay and it’s intersections with pop culture and art and science. And so we’re rolling out some content this week. And I hope you’ll take a look and I’ll be talking about some of the things we just brought up about how people are turning to puzzling during the pandemic. I have a personal experience with that. I made my debut as a New York Times crossword constructor a few weeks ago with the Sunday puzzle. And so we’ll be sort of exploring how people are getting various series with wordplay during the pandemic.
S11: And Simon Anthony, go watch his video, The Miracle Sudoku on his YouTube channel, cracking the cryptic find. And it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for coming on the show.
S15: Thanks so much for having me.
S6: And now it is time for after balls. By now, you’ve probably seen the front page of Sunday’s New York Times. U.S. deaths near one hundred thousand. An Incalculable Loss is the banner headline in Bold Italic Capital Letters. But one column subhead reads, They were not simply names on a list. They were us. There’s a short introduction and then the list itself names, ages, homes and a bit of identifying detail. For 1000 of the coveted dead set and running type without paragraph breaks spread over six columns on page one and 10 more inside collected from scores of newspapers around the country, the all time front page is staggering and its weight and power. The one line obituaries are heartbreaking lives distilled to a few words, each distinct and important in their own way.
S11: I started reading Patricia Dowd, 57, in San Jose, California. Auditor in Silicon Valley. Marion Kruger, 85. Kirkland, Washington. Great grandmother with an easy laugh. And by the time I hit the middle of the first column, I realized that sports were gonna be a theme because, of course, they were. When I came across someone for whom sports mattered enough to be part of their farewell, I wrote it down. My list came to 75 names and all won every 13 Larry Wrath Gabb 90 West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan engineer behind the first 200 mile per hour stock car. Arnold OBIS, 73. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Educator and marathoner Dave Edwards 48 eight. New York City college basketball assist wizard Lineker Barksdale, 47.
S5: Detroit ballroom dancing star Kenneth are going eighty seven. Grafton, Wisconsin. Green Bay Packers season ticket holder for fifty years who get Dorsey ninety four. Somerville, New Jersey coached several championship winning junior high girls basketball teams.
S4: Harvey by Art Eighty eight New York grew up directly across the street from the old Yankee Stadium. Robert Rust. 88. Greensburg, Indiana. Competitive athlete up until his last year. Mary Rowman. Eighty four. Norwalk, Connecticut. Shotput champion and fixture and local politics.
S6: John Knocka with Tozzi. Sixty two. Lincoln Wood, Illinois coach and Scout leader Robert Lee Amos. Sixty six. Columbus, Ind.. Expert marksman and firearms instructor Don Juan. Sixty seven. Indiana sports fan who loved Purdue University.
S9: Helen Molina. Eighty five Washington all around. Supporter of the Washington Huskies John A. Bellairs Yen. Seventy two. Dennis Port, Massachusetts. True Outdoorsman. Bobby Lee Barbour, 84. Buckley Washington Seahawks season ticket holder.
S4: Jim J. Wolfe Senior Seventy. South Holland, Illinois. Known as Big Wolf. To the basketball players he coached James David Goldsman. Seventy two New City, New York spent some of his happiest hours hiking in the Adirondacks. Torin Jamal Howard. Twenty six. Waterbury, Connecticut. Gentle, giant athlete, a musician.
S11: Sean Christian Cavel. Forty seven. New Providence, New Jersey. Enjoyed talking sports with family. Marty Dehra. Fifty six New Jersey. Love to referee basketball games. Clarke Ozo Nicky. Fifty six. Stillwater, Minnesota. Well, well-known in the world of agility dog training.
S5: Paul work eighty six. Vineland, New Jersey widely surmised he could have played Major League Baseball. Richard Alexander Ross Junior sixty six. Boynton Beach, Florida. Lifelong karate instructor Rosemary Friends E.C Seventy in Nevada, former hairstylist, an avid New York Yankees fan.
S4: Phil Lingley eighty three. Frankfort, Illinois. Member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. John Shoe Store forty one. Terre Haute, Indiana. Volunteer Youth Football coach Larry Jones. Sixty one Chicago longtime high school referee Richard Kittel.
S11: Seventy six. Beverly, Massachusetts. Boxing Efficient Nado Harold Dickson. Sixty Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Coached Youth Baseball. Marcus Peno Senior forty two. Alamo Chapter New Mexico.
S9: He deserved the title coach when Moreland Parks eighty Milford, Delaware represented Delaware in senior bowling tournaments. Paul Jay Foley Junior seventy seven Chicago family man risk taker teaser and sports lover. Larry Sylvester Hutchinson Junior. Twenty seven Terre Haute, Indiana. Played football for the terahertz south.
S4: William Jackman. Eighty five. Reston, Virginia. Voice of the Naval Academy Football Stadium for three decades. Barry G. Fisher, 69.
S20: Old Brookville, New York. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup. Paul Martinez, 70. West Covina, California. Los Angeles sports fan.
S11: Scott Douglas Woodward, 67. Oakland, California. Attended every weekend. A’s game almost without exception. Steve Dalkowski 80. New Britain, Connecticut. Gifted pitcher who never made the big leagues. Roxanna Griswold Forman, 85. Richmond, Virginia, loved playing tennis.
S9: Willard John Hoyt, 87. Skoda Act, New York. Active member of the Taconic Hiking Club. Barrow, Lalage, 68, Indianapolis. Notorious for receiving the most holding calls. Caetano Lombardo, 70. Rockland County, New York. Exceptional billiard player Malcolm C..
S4: Shaw Junior, 77. Bartlesville, Oklahoma spent countless hours coaching baseball in Bartlesville. Richard J. Conway the third. Sixty four. Amsden, Connecticut.
S20: Avid fly fisherman. Francisco Mendez, 61. Jersey City, New Jersey.
S11: Boxing gym owner and beloved trainer Peter P. Deli’s, 63. New Jersey talented athlete who played football, baseball and basketball. Edds marker 88. Pennsylvania, a five year minor league baseball career. Carol, a castle 80. Weymouth, Massachusetts enjoyed the Churches Women’s Bowling League.
S5: Ronald Clark, 70, Ballston Lake, New York. Longtime soccer referee Rona Iris Gert’s 74 New Jersey involved in the early days of aerobic exercise. Peter J. Brent Cosio, 81, Manhasset, New York. Scientists to explain the physics of sports.
S4: Even Charlotte Joel was 91. Woonsocket, Rhode Island. She swam over one mile each week. Tony Maldonado, 66, Waxahachie, Texas, loved old Western movies, Elvis’s music and the Dallas Cowboys. Charles Djan against 61. Hartford, Connecticut, celebrated Hartford Public High School basketball player Terence Burke, 54.
S13: Maryland inspirational basketball coach Miguel Marty, 30. New Jersey former A’s minor leaguer Earl avers 92. Oregon. Ohio. Enjoyed golfing.
S9: Paul Francis Siefert Senior. 77. Colerain Township, Ohio. Have it. Lifelong trap shooter. Emmanuel Dimitri, 61. Gloucester, Massachusetts. One of the first in Massachusetts to compete in the Special Olympics. Corinne Redds. Ninety three, Oxford, Pennsylvania bowled for over 50 years in various leagues.
S4: Calvin E. Messner, 77, Wooster, Ohio. Huge fan of Wayne Dale High School Sports. Edgar Orlando. Della Roca, 46, Peabody, Massachusetts. Passionate Boston Sports fan Raymond Grassie. Ninety one Highland Park, Illinois.
S11: Former mayor sportscaster Robert William Dietz, 86, Michigan. Quick with his fists in the ring. Muriel E. Lundgren, 91, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Talented tennis player. Dean K. Felter, 82. Connecticut. Played for the New York Giants as a halfback.
S9: Donald Martin Peiffer. Eighty four. Foxborough, Mass. Avid skier Gomer Richards Jr., 84. West Hurley. New York. all-American athlete James Ronald Connelly, 68. Battle Creek, Michigan. Local grocery store manager and sports team booster Thomas Kevin Miloje Junior.
S4: Forty three. Westchester County, New York. Avid reader, an accomplished chess player and an exceptional marksman. Jimmy Glen. Eighty nine. Manhattan, New York. Former boxing trainer who owned a well-known Time Square bar.
S11: Mary A. Cole Ninety. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Enjoyed golf and watching the Hawkeyes.
S8: Michael J. McHugh, 88. Philadelphia. Lifelong Phillies and Eagles fan.
S4: Danny Ray Biermann, 61. Muscatine, Iowa. Avid St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings fan Joyce Roberts, 96.
S11: Portland, Maine had a passion for golf and bridge.
S2: That is our show for today. Our producer is Melissa Tamplin. Listen to Pashas and subscribe or just reach out, go to Slate dot com slash, hang up. You can e-mail us at Hang-Up Essley dot com. If you’re still here guessing, you might want even more. Hang up in our bonus segment. This week, our colleague Jim Newell joined us to talk about the golf match between Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
S21: You know, they’d make up the players, but then the compares would just keep talking over them the whole time, which sort of defeated the whole point of doing that. There seem to be a concerted effort in this one to actually let the miked up players talk. I mean, they were just sort of a fun change of pace, too, to see all time greats from football actually try to play golf. And for the most part, struggled with it.
S2: For Joel Anderson and Stefan Fatsis. I’m Josh Levine. Remember everyone whose name we just read, Anzelmo Baity. And thanks for listening.
S5: Now it is time for our bonus segment for Slate plus members. Joining us is the guy. He’ll talk golf whenever and wherever we want him to.
S14: Generally, Slate’s celebrity matchplay correspondent, Jim Newell. Hey, Jim. Hi, Josh. So Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Apaid Manning and Tiger Woods raised twenty million dollars for charity and their match in Florida on Sunday. That figure is upsetting to me that it was that it was that high, even though I know it’s we want money to be raised for charity. That just seems like.
S21: Were you rooting against money for charity, Josh?
S14: No, I’m not I’m not articulating this this well, but just given how dumb this event was, it just makes me feel it feels weird that it generated that much for charity. Was this it was this event dumb? Did it bring joy to your life?
S21: I would say it was dumb, but it was probably the least dumb of these matches they’ve been doing. I mean, first, the Tiger versus Phil won a couple of years ago. That was on paper view.
S14: And then the one last one, though, that didn’t upset me that Phil won nine million dollars. See, that that seemed like money. Money. Well.
S21: Was happy. He deserved it. He put in the work and he won nine million dollars. And then there is one last week, too, with Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolf. The problem with I found the problem the first two, I mean, aside from there being no real stakes for average people to really care about, it was, you know, they would make up the players, but then the compares would just keep talking over them the whole time, which sort of defeated the whole point of doing that. And there seem to be a concerted effort in this one to actually let the miked up players talk so that one was a little bit better. And I mean, it was just sort of a fun change of pace to to see all time greats from football actually try to play golf. And for the most part, struggle with it.
S7: Yeah. Isn’t that the main question? And coming out of the weekend, Jim, is just how bad a golfer is Tom Brady really?
S21: Yeah, that’s the thing. He says he’s an eight handicap. He’s not a handicap. He’s like, I guess he’s a 12 to 15 handicap. He’s terrible.
S14: Do you feel like his handicap is a little inflated or maybe deflated?
S21: I think, you know, maybe he has two guys handicap and a nice private Boston course where, you know, they’re Marshall’s in the trees kicking out his his ball whenever he hits it out of bounds or something like that, you know? And this was a totally different situation.
S4: I mean, he is buddies with Trump. I mean, and we know that Trump is well known for his integrity in golf.
S21: Yeah. Yeah. Trump’s probably taught him everything he knows about, you know, cheating around around the course.
S7: I’m reading from The New York Times coverage of this big event. Brady played so horrendously in one 30 minute stretch, he put consecutive tee shots in the woods upon and on a cart path next to the out of bounds that he was mocked by Charles Barkley, of all people, who was one of the guest analysts.
S21: Yeah, it was really ugly. I think he was. I mean, I think he was pretty nervous. And that’s what some of the correspondents there were saying. And when you’re nervous, you have a tendency to hold onto the club and you just don’t release it. And then you have this big slice. Right. But, yeah, he was pretty rough on that front nine. I mean, Peyton Manning, he was a better player. He had this nice draw that was working pretty well for him and he could eat. He had a couple of really good iron shots, too. But, yeah, Tom Brady couldn’t really do anything except for the one where he hold it from. One hundred fifty yards to number nine.
S4: Wait a minute. Tom Brady, who they’re about to do a nine piece documentary on every Super Bowl he played in, was nervous playing golf on TV with you. Thank you, Joel. Yeah, apparently. Apparently he was.
S22: It doesn’t surprise me that you would be nervous doing something that you’re not generally comfortable doing in front of lots of people, knowing that you’re going to get mocked for it.
S14: Tom Brady is a human, just like all of us, and we should have great sympathy for him and explain for Tom Brady that shot that he had an extra is on the seventh pole. Jim, I just like to rub it on you. This might be the first call that you’ve gotten ever. I think you’re just a little off your game since this wasn’t a major.
S21: Yeah. And maybe you were in pain. But I also would be on the podcast in a while. I’m a little nervous myself here.
S14: Right. Was that the shot that he made? Could you tell, based on your expert opinion, was it just total dumb luck that he hold that or was it actually, you know, maybe he relaxed and this was just a sign of his true ability. And when he was shanking the shots everywhere, that that was the more abnormal thing.
S21: I mean, he was certainly a better hit than what he had done up to that point. You had a lot of spin on it, though, and it like raced back into the hall. So probably would have gone off the green if he hadn’t actually hit the flag stick. I mean, that’s I was funny, too, just because when he hit it, you know, won his mike, fell off in two. I think his pants ripped because he had to change pants on the next hole. So it’s impressive that he was able to haul it out. You know, while breaking his wardrobe and his technical equipment, one of the.
S6: The great things about watching great athletes do their greatness thing is that hearing them talk about it and I was reading about how Mickelson lecturing Tom Brady about a pot on one of the grains was on on the one hand, you know, in softball and interminable and it’s detail, but also fascinating because you realize, like, just how brilliant these people are at deconstructing what they do. And it’s one of my favorite things in sports. And it sounds like we got to watch some of that in this match.
S21: I think it’s also a big difference between Tiger and Phil, because Phil, you know, if they ask him, what are you trying to do on this shot, Phil? We’ll Phil really likes to hear himself talk. So he was like, well, let’s go over every piece of grass between where I’m standing and where the hole is and how I’m going to interact with that. And I think they asked Tiger said something afterwards, like, yeah, I think all those things, too. I just don’t need to tell the whole world about them every time. So, I mean, it’s sort of I think Phil who’s, you know, sort of losing his game but has as morphed into this middle aged sort of show. I think it was sort of a prime setting for him.
S5: The banter here was probably the best part. And we’ve seen that in, you know, when broadcast in Korean baseball, interviewing players during the games. This seems like something that various leagues are going to continue doing even when not under bizzaro quarantine conditions. Do you like hearing the players talking during the round? Do you think that it’s realistic to expect that, you know, next year we’ll hear just during a regular tournament the kind of banter and openness around it that we heard during this exhibition?
S21: Yeah, I mean, I like hearing it sometimes, though. They you know, especially with these charity matches, they build up all the hype for the banter. And so then when they actually have the banter, it seems kind of forced. But I think it is starting to become a discussion in golf about whether they want to start making up players just during regular tournaments. Just so you can get, you know, more the interaction between player and caddie or player and player. I have a hard time seeing the players actually agreeing to do that because they may not want, you know, everyone to hear every little comment they make when they’re all trying to protect their public images. So much tough shit players. I know. Tough shit players, but the players hold all the cards. You know, I mean, they you know, the tour is a group of themselves and they would be the ones who would decide on whether that happens or not. I mean, I, I do think you’ve seen in some settings, like when Fox does the U.S. Open, they put a mike inside the hole so you can catch a lot of the players like cursing and everything when they miss a three foot three foot pipe. So, I mean, I hope they’re able to do more of that. But, yeah, golf is pretty much, you know, if other sports have done something now like golf. Well, maybe consider doing it in 10 to 15 years. It’s just pretty slow in that regard.
S10: Well well, they did this and Joel’s beloved SFL and we all saw that that led to the league’s runaway success. Oh, yeah.
S21: He had a second go around with such a success there.
S4: So, you know, as somebody who didn’t watch this and doesn’t want to pretend like I did. I understand that Tiger Woods was in this book. What was he doing out there?
S21: How did he look how you’re look the best of all of them. I mean, it looked like he was swinging pretty easy, probably only going about 75 or 80 percent, but he was playing the best of anyone. And that’s that’s a good sign because like when they can’t consider the scouting a scouting opportunity for you.
S14: What do you consider?
S7: Should we disclose here that Jim is totally in the bag for Tiger?
S14: I’m not attractive golf reporter. I was asking if you consider this a scouting opportunity because we hadn’t seen Tiger in a long time. And when we did last see him, he was looking like he might be suffering a bit out there.
S21: Yeah. He was having back problems earlier in the year. The back problems. Yeah. Woods back. It was flaring up again. So he had to withdraw on a couple of big tournaments. But I don’t know, quarantine might have just saved his season here by delaying everything a few months. And, you know, that’s what’s important is just making sure things are easier for Tiger Woods. But, yeah, he looked good. I mean, the help that this was on his literal home course where he practices every day, which I don’t think was a coincidence. You know, I suppose they said, Tiger, would you be interested in doing this match? He said, yeah, well, if we can do it at my home course. And I guess so. So he had he did have an advantage there. But I thought he was swinging pretty free, hopefully to win every major.
S4: Again, none of these guys wanted to see Tony Romo. Like, that’s the quarterback that really should have been there, you know?
S11: Well, that was give me my next question for you. Jim is like Dream Pro-Am celebrity athletes with Tiger and Phil. What do you what do you want to see next?
S21: I don’t know. It’ll be interesting. I guess you want to see actual good golfers from other sports. You would have Steph Curry and Tony Romo who are both like, I think Scratch golfers and both have played in pro events. They haven’t done very well in the province events, but I think they’ve got.
S4: Through them stuff, is that good at golf?
S21: Yeah, he’s a scratch golfer. Yeah. He plays like every day thing when he’s not playing basketball.
S22: Jim, I just I’m happy for you that this gave you something to watch and look forward to during this depressing time in the world. So at least you’re happy and I’m happy if you’re happy.
S21: And Tiger is happy. Well, thank you. I look forward to Slate sending me to the Masters this November two.
S22: All right, Jim Nual, appreciate your time. Well, you’ve got nothing else. They don’t really appreciate your time, but I appreciate you. And Slate plus members, thank you very much for your membership. We’ll have more for you next week.