What's Good?

The week in sports and fitness and food and wellness technology news. And 500 words or so about grief and Sinéad O'Connor and women's soccer

Happy Friday! What's good? I dunno, man... I dunno.

When I got the push notification on Wednesday afternoon that Sinéad O'Connor had died, I shouted "oh no!" to an empty room (empty minus Poppy, of course) and shortly after, burst into tears — long, loud, uncontrollable sobbing for the loss of one of the most punk rock singers the world has ever known, for the loss of her son and my son, for her ferocity and her faith, for all the grief and pain that's still there, that's always there, just barely beneath the surface and that is so fucking dark that it's scary. Despair and bravery — hand in hand, I guess.

"Fight the real enemy."

I haven't watched any of the World Cup games yet, as these too are a strange reminder of loss: eight years ago, my brother and I were in Casper to bury our father who’d suddenly/not suddenly died; Isaiah, meanwhile, was suddenly/not suddenly in rehab. A few months later, I met Abby Wambach at a bar; she'd announced her retirement and for all the success and all the winning, she seemed so sad. Despair and bravery — hand in hand, or something.

There's something too about the coverage of the US women's soccer team lately that resurfaces all the emotions about pat stories about past glories and uncertain futures. Perhaps it's because some people only tune in to women's soccer — hell, in the US to any soccer — once every four years, so we get these awful observations about how wow! look how much Rose Lavelle has aged or some such strange thing to say about a 28-year-old. Perhaps it's because social media reduces every event to a GIF — Megan Rapinoe trapped in that epic pose; Brandi Chasten always and forever on her knees, in her sports bra. Perhaps because it all feels like someone wants to craft a narrative about triumph and inspiration or one full nostalgia and mistreatment and decline with little regard to the women cast as characters in it. I guess that's what we do with all celebrities and public figures: we think we know them. We don't know shit.

Something struck me yesterday when I reread a profile about Sinead O'Connor, published a couple of years ago in The New York Times:

If you remember two things about her, it’s that she vaulted to fame with that enduring close-up in the video for her version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” — and then, that she stared down a “Saturday Night Live” camera, tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II and killed her career.

But O’Connor doesn’t see it that way. In fact, the opposite feels true. Now she has written a memoir, “Rememberings,” that recasts the story from her perspective. “I feel that having a No. 1 record derailed my career,” she writes, “and my tearing the photo put me back on the right track.”

Each of us remembers the story, every story, differently. It's hard then when the story about you gets framed as "zeitgeist" when you've got your own damn ghosts and demons, thank you very much.


Elsewhere in "wellness": I reviewed the book Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Body Practice here. Virginia Sole-Smith writes about Eloise and author Kay Thompson and addiction and girlhood. A few blocks over from the Plaza Hotel: in case you were wondering, here's the Naked Cowboy's morning routine before he gets to Time Square each morning. “The Skinny on Cocaine” from the University of Cambridge. “Barbie Has Cellulite (But You Don't Have To),” by Jessica Defino — brilliant.

Meanwhile in sports and fitness technology: "Bronny James, Son of LeBron James, Is Stable After Cardiac Arrest." The Tour de France Femmes continues; man wins Tour de France Hommes. In slower cycling news, Lyft might be selling Citibike. "The Real Power of Super Shoes Could Be Supercharged Training," says The NYT. The Guardian on running slow AF. Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon keeps shattering world records — her third in the last month or so. “To protest prosthesis prices, he tried to run a marathon in crutches.” Slate is worried that climate change will mean no more walking. "14,000 feet up, liability fears block access to iconic Colorado peaks." "'Puppy yoga' is on the rise – and as a dog welfare specialist, I’m horrified," writes Esme Wheeler in The Guardian. “Bali Fitness Influencer Justyn Vicky, 33, Dies After 450-Lb. Barbell Hits His Neck.”  “Reader, I tried reformer Pilates,” writes Swole Woman Casey Johnston, who was also profiled by her former employer, The NYT.

Another protein-oriented Instagram ad, which you gotta admit, is pretty spot on for its targeting. I’m guessing that, at 90 calories, this donut is the size of a quarter...

The week in food news/commentary: Nutella is indeed a nut butter, so go ahead and feed it to your kids for breakfast. Despite the headlines, it’ll be okay. “Roman ruins reveal how emperors used winemaking in a lavish power play.”  "1,800-Year-Old Spices Are Earliest Evidence of Curry Making in Southeast Asia.” “The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow.” “New York’s New Instant Ramen Restaurant Serves 85 Types of Packaged Noodles.”  The history of the controversial Kudos Bar. “Some cereal favorites like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cheerios get a boost that you won’t taste.” So a “girl dinner” is just a few crackers and popcorn and chocolate,  but a “Husband Meal,” according to GQ is just, like, dinner? “Save the Planet, Put Down that Hamburger.” Eye roll. “Dole Whip, a Disney fave, is now in stores. How does it stack up?” Remind me to make a Dole Whip breakfast recipe, okay? I mean, it’ll be no Disney World wonder, but anything to avoid Disney World.