Best News Ledes: Sports Edition


journalists-300x223News reporters like to catch readers’ attention with a few zingy lines at the start of an article. Sometimes, these so-called “ledes” go horribly wrong. But sometimes, they’re great! In Today’s Best News Ledes, we highlight the cream of the crop:

3. From Deadspin, “Our Man in Boy Clothes Is Not Feeling Generous Today”:

Mike Lupica‘s ego is to sportswriting what Milton Berle’s c*ck is to comedy. It is an occupational totem, around which colleagues spin fantastical-seeming yarns that just so happen to be true. Here are a few such tales.

Thanks for reading down this far! This lede is a total one-percenter, but it shows that Deadspin’s Tommy Craggs has got it got it. Also, it subtly conveys the homoeroticism latent in the sports world. I mean, [something about guys patting each other on the butts or something]? Come on.

2. From The Miami Herald, “Line of Scrimmage: Vick Signing Brings More Questions Than Answers”:

If your hard-earned money was on Michael Vick wearing the midnight green of the Philadelphia Eagles, well, then you just made yourself a substantial wad of midnight green. (emphasis added)

Do you see what he’s doing there? Although: is money really midnight green?

1. From Times Online, “Women’s boxing merits a place at the Olympics”:

In the autumn of 2006 I went to York Hall in Bethnal Green to watch the British bantamweight title showdown between Cathy Brown and Juliette Winter.

It was the first women’s title bout sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control and proved to be a curious, at times disconcerting, but ultimately revelatory experience.

The women entered the ring — like their male counterparts who had dominated the rest of the card — toned and lithe. They exuded a combination of anticipation and aggression. Both offered a flurry of shadow punches and a pumped fist to the skies as they were introduced by the master of ceremonies.

The audience — a pretty even split between men and women — responded with a passable ovation, but there was no mistaking a pervading sense of ambivalence.

The action was unrelentingly brutal. Brown was instantly revealed as the superior prizefighter, emitting a distinctive, guttural grunt as she unleashed impressively timed left hooks and right crosses, her muscles flexing in the flashbulb light. Her opponent was spirited, but it was not long before her body began to sag with each new assault on her torso, Brown working the body before redirecting her fistic assault towards the jaw.

Blemishless when she first strode across the canvas, it was as early as the third round that bruising became visible on Winter’s face and blood began to dribble out of her mouth, by now gaping with exertion. Even Brown shipped enough punishment that her gum-shield, particularly visible when she flexed her jaw muscles while executing her punches, became crimson. It had become, as with all bona fide prizefights, a battle of wills and a mutual refusal to accept defeat.

By the final bell there was little doubt as to the identity of the victor. Brown, drenched in sweat, limp with exertion and smudged with her opponent’s blood, reached to the skies as the MC announced the judge’s decision, before slipping through the ropes in search of the dressing room and medical attention. She had become the first woman to win an English boxing title, a pioneer as well as a pugilist.

Tomorrow, Olympic chiefs will meet to decide whether to include women’s boxing as part of the programme for London 2012.

Maybe British readers have longer attention spans (News of the World aside), but this sure is a long way to say it’s a mixed bag that women’s boxing will be in the Olympics. Then again, Matthew Syed, the guy who wrote this, is apparently the Sports Journalist of the Year, so this should probably be read as “riveting” rather than “way, way too long.” The end of the article, in which he talks about how you can still be beautiful when you have a “haematoma” on your face (from being punched in your face), is not to be missed.

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