There’s nothing the Australian public loves more than a good sports story. If it’s a sporting success, great, a sporting scandal, even better. But Honi aims to fill a different niche to the sports coverage the mainstream media might provide. We endeavour to uncover sporting stories that are obscure and untold, that interact with politics, or that are just plain entertaining. This reading list contains stories from the world of professional chess and eSports, along with a first-person insight into the infamous WWE. We interrogate the class politics behind Australia’s national cricket team, investigate the exclusion of women from skateboarding culture, and discuss the problems with Brazil 2014.
Why not skip your morning jog, sit down with a cuppa and read about sport instead?
“The only sound that punctuated the tense silence in the hall was the ominous ticking of the clock. Spectators in their hundreds sat expectantly, waiting for the next move, analysing body language. Then the players started kicking each other.”
Rupert Coy explores the running feuds of the chess world at the recent Candidates Tournament.
“There’s the Terran, redneck space-cowboys from Earth whose strength lies in the sheer power and versatility of their military; the Protoss, a dogmatic ancient alien civilization with the most advanced technology; and the Zerg, a parasitic “swarm” of many species that overwhelms the enemy with insurmountable numbers. Professional StarCraft gaming sees players duke it out as one of these factions in a one versus one, best of three series.”
As the popularity of eSports grows, Australia will play host to the world’s leading professional gaming tournament, writes Andrew Passarello.
“Skateboarding’s inexplicable, overwhelming masculinisation keeps it light years away from every other wheeled action sport, not its degree of difficulty. Rollerblading, scooter-riding, and quad-skating are much more feminised action sports but they arguably involve a similar degree of skill and audacity to skateboarding.”
Women are left out of skateboarding culture, writes Mariana Podesta-Diverio.
“For all the vast wealth funneled into North Shore private schools like mine, and for all their comprehensive sporting programs, these elite institutions have spat out no more than a handful of Australian test cricketers in the last decade. As an example of this, Sydney GPS private schools have produced just 10 Test cricketers since 1877, compared to 132 Wallabies.”
Dom Ellis examines the politics behind who goes in to bat.
“Welcome to the city of Manaus, where, seven kilometres from the Amazon River, the fantastically named Arena da Amazonia is the white elephant in the room. The stadium has come under fire for being both climactically unsuitable for sport and ludicrously oversized. The air is apparently so humid that, in the words of former player Mirandinha, “when I went there, it was difficult to breathe”. It has cost $275 million US to build and can seat 43,000. The average attendance for matches in Manaus’ state league is 558 people.”
Naaman Zhou critiques the greatest show on the planet.
“Any regular watcher of the WWE knows the true genius of the show lies not in the ridiculous fake fights, but in the behind-the-scenes drama that is constantly brewing between Superstars, Divas, and The Authority. The WWE bills itself as a clash of strength, but in reality, it is a clash of personalities, a series of dramatic interactions that rivals the most lurid of Big Brother Up Late episodes (minus the sex).”
WWE will, WWE will, rock you, writes Lane Sainty.