Hockey Star Zach Hyman Has Made Esports His Off-Ice Hustle

Growing up in Toronto, Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman and his four younger brothers bonded over games—basketball, soccer, and ball hockey outside, ice hockey at local arenas, and whatever Mario or Super Smash Bros. game was on the console hooked up to the family TV.

In 2011, when he was 19, Hyman left home to play hockey at the University of Michigan. Now if he wanted to bond with his brothers, it was via phone, text, and email. His youngest brother was 8, which made that sort of communication a challenge. Then Hyman discovered long-distance gaming.

“Instead of talking on the phone for five minutes, we’d sit there with headsets on and play three hours of video games and just talk about whatever—everything,” Hyman recalls.

It was a revelation, what he describes as an “aha” moment. Gaming could be more than sitting in a basement with your brothers; it could connect you even when you were hundreds of miles away.

Today, gaming is more than just a fun way to [...]  read more

What If Fans Could Gather and Sequence Athletes’ DNA?

It’s worth pointing out that the link between a person’s DNA and their athletic achievements is very hard to pin down. There’s very little evidence that you can predict specific success by DNA alone. There are rare cases, like that of the Finnish skier Eero Mäntyranta, who possessed a genetic mutation that gave him vastly more red blood cells than the average person. But based on current science, having an athlete’s DNA doesn’t necessarily tell you all that much about their potential or performance. In 2015, the British Medical Journal published a “consensus statement” written by sports science experts arguing against the use of direct-to-consumer genetic testing to identify sports talent. “There isn’t one thing that makes an athlete great, and to assume so becomes really dangerous,” says Seema Patel, a law professor at Nottingham Law School.

That said, if I’ve learned anything from tech reporting, it’s that something doesn’t have to be feasible [...]  read more

Beginner Golfers Should Give These Inexpensive Clubs a Swing

There’s a very boring phrase in the corporate consumer goods world: disruption of mundane products. “Ohh … what’s that?” I don’t hear you asking. Well, a while ago, companies realized that rather than pouring loads of cash into reinventing the wheel to try to be innovative, they could take rote products and make them “exciting” by changing how they were sold, adding just a dash of R&D and nice design of their own. Presto.

Thanks to the convenience of direct-to-consumer internet sales, we got things like the mattress-in-a-box craze, where a boring mattress was delivered to your door with some funky color trim added to make it hip. We also got razor companies like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s looking to undercut big brands like Gillette with cheaper prices and better-looking handles and accessories, while at same time locking customers into a postal subscription model for blades.

It’s been quite the success  [...]  read more

Want to Start Strength Training? Here’s the Gear Pros Recommend

If you’re just starting out, this sturdy self-locking one from Element 26, which also comes in an array of colors, is a great option. I’ve tried a number of hard belts, but I found that this one from Cerberus is the most comfortable and supportive for my intermediate-level lifting. When you’re ready to go really heavy, a lever belt like this one or a buckle belt like this one will keep you supported and safe.

Ditch the Running Shoes

“Don’t lift in your running Asics,” advises Stefi Cohen, a 25-time world-record-holding powerlifter, professional boxer, and doctor of physical therapy. Following up on the advice I really wish I’d heard before my first CrossFit class, Cohen adds that really “anything flat-soled” will work.

Pro strongman  [...]  read more

Even the Pandemic Couldn’t Stop Button Soccer

Luciano Araújo, a designer, decided to organize a small button soccer tournament with his family on the eve of the 2014 World Cup, but he couldn’t find all his old pieces. Searching the internet, he discovered that some artisans were selling the pieces he remembered, and he decided to make his own, creating the largest online store of its kind in Brazil, Botões Clássicos, or Classic Buttons.

There are several different types of play, as well as codes of conduct and regional, national, and international rules, with championships played within and between different countries.

A Child’s Passion

Button soccer usually begins as a childish passion. For those who grew up before the internet era, it was one of the most beloved and common pastimes in Brazil. While a good number find other hobbies as they grow up, many others decide to carry their passion further, setting up clubs, federations, and more. Others travel the world to compete in amateur competitions, often [...]  read more

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