The NHL is really pushing this outdoor stadium hockey concept this year. As I’ve written about for Sports Illustrated print and TIME and chatted on radio already, I go even more in-depth with the logistics of taking the game outdoors for my latest piece for Sports Illustrated. Check out my interview with NHL ice guru Dan Craig—and with visuals of placing ice outdoors—by clicking here.
4. The art of kicking a field goal. Or should we call it a science? While I technically did the work for the piece in 2012, the story didn’t appear in Popular Mechanics until 2013, so I’ll include it in this list. By talking with researchers and NFL (and former Husker) kicker Alex Henery I was able to put together all the information you could ever need behind the science of kicking a field goal.
3. I love it when design and technology merge in sports to create something entirely new. While in London, I was able to explore some of these “new” items from adidas. Not only did I explore the new data-tracking soccer ball—this for a Sports Illustrated print story—but also the prototype for a new soccer kit, including cleats, that breaks the mold of lightweight uniforms. This story appeared online for Sports Illustrated.
2. I’ve covered stories in worse places than Hawaii. But while in Kona I was able to tackle two different stories for Sports Illustrated, covering both the actual 2013 Ironman event with a behind-the-scenes look on race day and then an intriguing tech-focused story on how Oakley uses science to define optical technology in their performance eyewear.
1. While I love merging tech and design into sports, I may even love more merging tech, design and stadiums into sports all in one story/event. The America’s Cup coverage of 2013 allowed me to do just that. While in San Francisco ahead of the race, I explored the tech of the massive boats and the future broadcast, looking at both the Italian and Oracle TEAM USA headquarters, talking with sailors and designers for both teams that appeared in print and online articles for Popular Mechanics. I also spent some time on the San Fran shore, talking with sailors and event organizers about the sport’s first-ever natural stadium sailing for a Sports Illustrated article. The combination of story types and the enjoyment of watching the races later added up to my best story of 2013.
I was a guest on Hockey Unfiltered, discussing outdoor stadium hockey. Here’s the chat:
Part two of my Top 13 of 2013 continues today with 5-9. For a look back at 10-13, click here. Check back on Dec. 31 for stories 1-4.
9. Okay, so I’m cheating a bit as I start the single-digit entries on the list. I’m instead including an entire four-part package, not just one story. My editor at Sports Illustrated asked me for technology stories from four different sports—NBA, NFL, MLB and Winter Olympics—to run alongside video. It was a fun package to work on, spanned multiple months and allowed me to discuss athlete tracking, high-end shoe construction, digital scouting and the art of manufacturing snow.
8. Tracking data has turned into key factor across a variety of sports, but there had been no way to do so in tennis until Babolat unveiled the world’s first connected tennis racket. I was in Boulder, Colo., to test out the racket for the first time in public for Popular Mechanics, an interesting foray into tennis movements and data tracking. For the story, click here.
7. Survivor has proven one of the most popular and longest-lasting reality TV shows ever and host—and now producer—Jeff Probst has been there from the start. I chatted with him for a TIME article discussing the most intriguing power plays in the show’s history. And he didn’t disappoint with his passion and knowledge of the game.
6. 2013 was an interesting year for bridges, the most intriguing the new Bay Bridge opening. I explored the art of cable-stay and suspension bridges early in the year for Popular Mechanics and then took closer examination at the Bay Bridge specifically for PopMech articles both online and in print.
5. Attending the Champion’s League Final in Wembley Stadium was a treat all its own, but then exploring the stadium and discussing the architecture with Lord (yeah, he’s been knighted) Norman Foster was an additional pleasure. I was able to write about how Foster attempted to create a new legacy for the famed London stadium in a Sports Illustrated article.
A “best of” list proves so personal, even when the subject isn’t. So to create a uniquely individualistic take of 2013, I created my second-ever look back at my “top” articles of the year. Both as a way to take stock of where the year has taken me—physically and via my iPhone—and to provide an annual recap, I’ll present my Top 13 of 2013 articles in three parts. The criteria for the list? It simply represents the 13 stories I most enjoyed reporting, writing and learning about. Thanks, as always, for following (on Twitter here) and reading.
13. If I had an honorable mention section, I’d include stories for Popular Mechanics on the new BMW-made bobsled for the Olympics, the London building that scorched a Jaguar or even my HOW article on the most talked about sports logos of all time. But I don’t do honorable mention, so I start with #13: A stadium design trends Q&A for London’s Stadia Magazine. This wide-ranging article spanned the global perspective of well-known stadium architects, touching a variety of subjects.
12. Covering international events live always has a slightly different feel than domestic sports, so having the opportunity to write the game story for Sports Illustrated on the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup Qualifier in Seattle in June was a different experience for me. Plus, writing on deadline is always a bit of a fun twist, especially in a stadium I know well. Here’s the story.
11. I’ve long written about shoes, but this time I delved into a part of the sports shoe often ignored: cleats. For a Sports Illustrated article, I looked at the art and science—and a bit of the history—of sports cleats.
10. From high-end materials, fresh construction methods and more high-tech innovation, I put together articles both online and in print for Popular Mechanics that explains the science behind performance shoes. Two slideshows; tons of info.
I’ll post part two, stories 5-9 on Dec. 30 and the top four on Dec. 31.
With the National Hockey League about to cool down five stadiums for six outdoor games in January and March, starting with a Jan. 1 outdoor game at Michigan Stadium, I caught up with the NHL’s event head, Don Renzulli, to discuss the spectacle of outdoor games in the NHL and how they move the needle on entertainment. Here’s the piece, as read in TIME.
Leave it to Nike to jazz up the medal podiums in Sochi with some color-shifting lettering on the back of its Team USA jackets. Check out these coats and more Nike Olympic gear by reading—and looking at—all the words and pictures at my Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard post here.
Over the last two days, I’ve posted four more TIME Entertainment posts, including a fun little bit about the new What Does the Fox Say? children’s book. Yup, a classic! Read about it here. Also in the mix are stories on Fox’s new theme park planned for Malaysia, Brad Pitt potentially teaming up with Tom Cruise on a new racing movie and a new television drama coming to the Sundance Channel depicting a fictional NRA.
Okay, so maybe the group that proposed the latest Oakland A’s waterfront stadium doesn’t actually own the team, but they are big enough names that they hold some weight in pushing along this impasse over where the A’s will play in the future. I take a look at their proposed stadium along the Oakland waterfront, which came complete with some renderings, for Sports Illustrated. Take a look at the story here.
We all know the story of God’s love in the Bible doesn’t end with the death of Jesus, as it did in the popular miniseries The Bible. And with more story to tell—and more money to make, obviously—NBC has commissioned a sequel, A.D., to keep telling the Bible story on its network. Read more at my TIME Entertainment article here.