‘Most runners run because they want to live life to the fullest’


Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life—and for me, for writing as well. I believe many runners would agree.

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir


The view from the street

I ventured into DC this weekend which I often do to whet my appetite for street photography. Little did I know, two events were happening: the Juggalo March and a Latino Festival which ran down Constitution Avenue.

While I snapped many pictures of those folks, what struck me most was this skateboarder flying down 15th street with the entire street to himself. Since the streets were closed off, he had the freedom to ride wherever he wanted. You can also see the newly opened African American museum layered in the backdrop.

gif and photos by Wells Baum

I only skateboarded a few times growing up, but the sport comes with valuable life lessons if you can keep up with it. As Jerry Seinfeld put it:

To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you get something wrong until you get something right? If you learn to do that trick, now you’ve got a life lesson. Whenever I see those skateboard kids, I think those kids will be alright.

Skateboarding is a life’s sport. The skateboard culture ushered in by Tony Hawk and brands like Vans introduced an element of coolness and creativity forever.

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Little Niggles

Niggles are little annoyances, like broken fingers or bruises that disrupt the normal flow of your game.  

But sometimes little niggles increase skill and most importantly, confidence.  

We all get injured and have to play at 75%. It's within these moments that we strengthen other parts of our game and think smarter about our efforts.  

It takes time to recover but we ultimately do come back. We may not be the player we used to be but better, stronger physically and mentally.  

Temporary frustration is a means for improvement. At least we can still play hurt, even if it means we have to take the foot off the gas peddle a little bit before we return to form.

Moving Beyond Baseball

I played baseball as a kid. It was fun because I was good at it, not necessarily because I loved the sport.

As I got older, basketball and soccer became my main games. They were fast paced and less interruptive. There was just way more movement than baseball.

I attended the Yankees game last night merely to reconfirm my bias: baseball is boring.

Fred Wilson wrote an article this week observing the increased interest in soccer. He credited the growth to video games although I pointed out that it was much more than that.

I also think the pace of baseball doesn't match up well with the speed at which we move now. The Internet sets the expectation for instant entertainment and delivery; something baseball fails to offer.

The baseball stadium tries hard to keep fans interested during games. They show trivia on the board and display dancing fans in their seats. Music plays in between batters, innings, and outs so you don't fall asleep.

Baseball is truly America's past time. It no longer stimulates widespread interest because it doesn't move the way Americans move today. Cheaters like Alex Rodriguez certainly don't help the game either.

Maybe I'm an army of one but baseball really fails to meet the current speed of entertainment. Football is getting bad as well with an ad every possession.

I don't think soccer is ever going to take over America because it's still carrying baggage as a European sport. America didn't create it. Basketball, on the other hand which is virtually the hand version of soccer, will remain popular.

Maybe it's just me because I'm getting older and looking for new interests (cricket or rugby any good?) or baseball does indeed just suck.

The Complications of Neutrality

We wear jerseys to show support for our team. Apparently, wearing the team colors or even a branded hat is not enough.

But what happens when there’s no one to root for? We have no interest in the sport. We’re team neutral.

Most likely, our tendency is to root for the local team, the majority, or the most well known. Why wouldn’t you cheer on the Yankees, Manchester United, or Dallas Cowboys if those are the only teams you know?

But you don’t need a jersey to fit in. You don’t need to show allegiance to any team. No matter how passionate you are, you can show support or neutrality without having to wear or say anything.

Neutrality always comes with questions from the crowd. People want to know where you stand on any issue. Are you Republican or Democrat? Do you support the Yankees or the Red Sox? If neither, which one do you lean toward the most?

If you’re not passionate about any team, remain unidentifiable. Pick neutral and just try to enjoy the game itself. If you do like the competition enough, you’ll pick a team and follow them. But the jersey, that widget, need not be a requirement.

Messi’s Brilliance Transcends His Numbers

Soccer, like figure skating, demands art as much as sport. This is not baseball, where numbers mean so much that they seem to carry a moral weight. Soccer’s beauty is that it surpasses mathematics, or, in Barcelona’s case, conjures a sublime human geometry of triangular passing and movement.

Basketball, American football, baseball; all these sports stop and go. They were organized for marketing advertisements in between.

The beauty of soccer is the uninterrupted constant state of flow, mixed in with tactics and precision skill and timing. It’s not something to be explained. You just have to watch.

For Suzuki, Respect for Bats Is Key to Hitting

Ichiro Suzuki on his bat case:

In Japan we take care of our instruments, our bats and our gloves….We take care of them well because these things are very important.

Most of us take good care of our work tools as well, including laptops, Smartphones, and tablets. You may even keep a special pen and paper clean, like I do with my Kaweco sport pen and Moleskine.

Clean tools create a clean mind. We use our tools constantly to express ourselves. They should be protected at all times since without them, we're virtually useless and unproductive.

The target for 2015 will be to climb up and down Mount Everest as fast as possible…

Track Kílian Jornet Burgada's wants to run the world's mountains.  

I am a competitor. I like to compete, to go beyond, to search for my limits.

Track his progress and read his philosophy here