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J.J. Watt helps a woman make a big announcement

J.J. Watt, Houston Texans defensive end, Marcella Burke, a law clerk for Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, tell her husband Steve Burke that she is pregnant, July 16, 2015 (Credit: Justice Don Willett via Twitter)Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is one of the most dominating and beloved players in football. He is loved for his success on the field and his mild-mannered, jovial attitude off of it.  In a league where divas abound, it's refreshing to see someone who genuinely seems to be enjoying his life rather than trying to maximize every bit of it to earn the most money.

Granted, he's got the money part taken care of after signing $100 million contract last September with $51.8 million in guaranteed money. But you get the sense that his new-found fortune is not going to change who he is. His well-earned persona as a man of the people was demonstrated when, after signing that deal, Watt googled "What do rich people buy?" And after recently meeting Jennifer Aniston, his unashamed celebrity crush, he tweeted a picture of the two with the caption "I'm not even going to pretend like I acted cool when this happened. #LifeMade." He would later joke that their meeting "was a complete disaster" because he "shook her hand instead of hugging her" and then "left the room without proposing."

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Seeking perfection in sports

Heavy Things (Credit: Jason Lengstorf via Flickr)I read an article this week in the Wall Street Journal that explored the Finnish sport pesapallo. If you're like me, this was your first introduction to the eerily-similar-to-baseball sport. After reading the article, it's easy to conclude that this quirky sport is unique to Finland, and glad to stay so. With its own rules and customs, and little desire for international expansion, pesapallo is destined to stay a niche sport in its home country.

The writer brings up pesapallo to try to offer solutions for helping improve baseball. Like many other contemporary sportswriters, he subscribes to the idea that baseball is too slow and too boring for the youth of America. I'm not going to argue with him on that point, because I think it's a matter of opinion and perspective. What I want to point out is how baseball, like all sports in contemporary America, is seeking improvement and perfection in its public offering.

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DeAndre Jordan and the value of our witness

DeAndre Jordan watches while a teammate answers a question from a reporter during the Los Angeles Clippers Media Day, September 29, 2014 (Credit: Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)DeAndre Jordan is the most famous basketball player in America today.  Not because of what he's done on the court, but because of what he won't do on it.

The Dallas Mavericks recently offered the free-agent center the most lucrative contract they were allowed by NBA rules to submit.  Jordan gave his word that he would accept their contract, to the jubilation of Dallas officials and fans.  Then he reversed his decision late Wednesday, returning to his former team.

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US Women's National Team: champions once again

the United States kisses the trophy during the victory ceremony for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup after the United States claimed the title after defeating Japan 5-2 in Vancouver, Canada on July 5, 2015 (Credit: Imago/Icon Sportswire/Xinhua) The U.S. Women's national soccer team faced off against their Japanese counterparts in Sunday's championship match for the 2015 World Cup. By now, you've probably heard about the outcome of the game and the United States' dominating victory. You've also probably heard about the four goals in the first sixteen minutes, three of them coming from Carli Lloyd (Lloyd is only the second player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final and the fastest to do so). You've probably heard about those things because the team's victory has been the lead story on most news outlets since it happened.

The country has rallied behind the women's national team for much of this year's World Cup, with interest only rising as the team moved on each round. The television ratings for Sunday evening's match offer further support with an estimated 21-23.5 million viewers tuning in to watch. For comparison sake, that number is on par with game seven of last year's World Series and the concluding game of last month's NBA Finals. The country seemed to embrace this team in a way that hasn't really been seen since 1999 when the USWNT won its second World Cup.

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Bassett's game-losing kick and the nature of redemption

Laura Bassett (C), a defender on England's women's World Cup team, is comforted by England's head coach Mark Sampson (R) and teammate, Josanne Potter (L), afer Basset's own goal in the 90th minute lost the game for England during their semifinal match against Japan in 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Edmonton, Canada, July 1, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Xinhua/Imago Wednesday night's Women's World Cup semi-final match between England and Japan was defined as much by questionable officiating as by the play on the pitch. At least, that was the case going into stoppage time. However, the game's story changed when Japan's Nahomi Kawusumi lofted a ball into England's box that defender Laura Bassett inadvertently kicked just over the head of her goalie and off the bottom of the cross-bar for the game-deciding goal. It was a tragic end to an otherwise entertaining game.

ESPN analyst Kate Markgraf called the shot Bassett was attempting to clear "The most difficult ball to defend." Others have echoed similar sentiments and many have reached out to offer her support via social media. After the game her coach, Mark Samson, said of Bassett and the English team: "We'll go home knowing that we could not have done any more…we gave our all. I'm very, very proud of the group…the way Laura Bassett has played today and in this tournament, she's epitomized all the values English football fans want to see… I know when they get back, they'll be welcomed back as heroes."

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