Playing the Field

How innovations in sports change the wider world

Action Replays For Human Rights Violations

What would hyperreal sports broadcasting look like, if it acknowledged the political context of these events?
Ian Steadman
4 min read

Get Ready for AI to Turn Every Child Into an Olympian

A speculative journey to the future of athletic performance and genetic engineering.
Caroline Sinders
5 min read

Flotation Tanks: The Weight Room for Your Mind

But for the man who invented the flotation tank, it was supposed to be something else altogether: a way to open a hole to the center of the universe.
Danny McAteer
8 min read

For Refugees, Soccer Helps Pass an Eternity in Limbo

For refugees without anchors in their new societies, or who are fleeing broken families and societies, the soccer field offers a place where they can easily locate a new social identity in a foreign setting.
Sabrina Toppa
10 min read

At Play on the Field of Ghosts

In the stands, legions of robot fans look on. Articulated limbs raise LED placards in unison at appropriate moments, their faceplates shining with the avatars of distant, telepresent humans. On the field, two hologrammatic teams are composed entirely of flickering light: In silence, they sweep from one end to the other, reenacting a game which has already been pre-calculated and pre-played.
James Bridle
11 min read

How to Save the Olympics

In the end, what could save big sporting events is not a focus on sustainability, or even technology, but a change in mindset. It’s about seeing these events as an opportunity for long-term change, rather than just a one-off spectacle.
Simon Copland
5 min read

Is the SoulCycle Instructor Preaching for Your Spirit, or Your Wallet?

On group fitness, and the exchange of capital for quasi-spirituality.
Hannah Harris Green
6 min read

Toronto’s Sports Teams Are Hyperreal

Or, why sports entertainment is the most valuable–and most mediated–entertainment of our time.
Corin Faife
6 min read

Women Are Being Left Behind by the Sports Data Revolution

There are sports stories we wish we could tell–but the data just isn’t there even at the highest level.
Nikita Taparia
6 min read

The Athletic Life of the Modern Competitive Eater

How do you train for the physical endurance of eating as quickly as possible?
Rich McEachran
6 min read

A Brief History of Ludicrous Sci-Fi Sports (and Their Chances of Becoming Reality)

From “The Prisoner” to “The Running Man,” sci-fi writers can’t help but try to invent weird new games.
Holly Gramazio & Sophie Sampson
8 min read

Is Gender Segregation in Sports Necessary?

Examining not just the science of gender segregation in sport, but the social cost as well.
Alice Sanders
7 min read

Why Everyone Is Suddenly Into E-Sports (and How You Can Be, Too)

Streaming video has allowed the scene to get so huge that mainstream acceptance is no longer a consideration, let alone a priority, for most players and fans.
Duncan Geere
9 min read

The World’s Best Sports Technology Comes From the Military-Industrial Complex

Sports have had a long relationship with the military–but over the past decade or so at least one aspect of that connection has deepened, and technological innovations developed for military purposes are making their way into sports of all kinds.
Richard Moss
6 min read

Playing the Field: A Reading List

A crash course in how innovations in sports affect the wider world.
How We Get To Next
3 min read

Running Toward a New Community

Fixing social isolation and getting people fit at the same time.
Simon Hazelwood-Smith
2 min read

All About the Skateboard in Addis Ababa

Innovative ways to get boards into the hands of Ethiopa’s skate community.
Alexander Sehmer
2 min read