Anthony Kim’s Triumphant Return Out of a Dark Time

Anthony Kim’s saga of triumph, adversity, and resurgence offers a compelling narrative yet to be fully unveiled. “The Journey Back,” a recent LIV Golf documentary featuring David Feherty, scratches the surface but leaves audiences yearning for more depth.

Kim, a golf sensation in the early 2010s known for his PGA Tour victories and remarkable performances at the Ryder Cup and the Masters, mysteriously exited the sport following an Achilles surgery in 2012 and remained absent until a surprising return at a LIV Golf event in Hong Kong.

While he dispels the rumor of leaving golf for an insurance payout, he reveals little about his decade away from the spotlight, mentioning only his recovery from numerous surgeries and a recovery period spent with six dogs and two monkeys.

This 20-minute documentary, designed more as a promotional piece for LIV Golf than an in-depth exploration of Kim’s challenges, introduces significant aspects of his life only to briefly touch upon them. Feherty, a man familiar with personal battles, initiates a conversation that begs for continuation. Kim reflects on the whirlwind of fame and its challenges, admitting to a past overwhelmed by negative influences and an addictive personality.

“I was around some bad people,” he says. “People that took advantage of me. Scam artists. When you’re 24, 25, even 30 years old, you don’t realize the snakes that are living under your roof.”

He hints at a transformative period, catalyzed by his wife and 2-year-old daughter, which led to a newfound appreciation for golf and life.

Despite the physical and mental scars, Kim views his current circumstances as a platform for inspiration, aiming to motivate others facing their dark phases.

“My mistakes are the reason I fell into this deep hole,” Kim says. “I hope that I can inspire somebody to dig out of a hole. If they don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully they find some strength in the people around them and they can get out of it.”

The Journey Back” sets the stage, Kim’s story of resilience remains ripe for a deeper dive. The documentary, starting conversations at the LIV Golf event in Miami, promises the potential for a richer, more revealing narrative in the future.

Jasmin Paris: First Woman to Finish Barkley Marathon

British runner Jasmin Paris made history by becoming the first woman to complete the grueling Barkley Marathons. Paris crossed the finish line with a time of 59 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds, a mere 99 seconds before the 60-hour limit, collapsing in exhaustion as she finished.

Paris joined a select group of five finishers in the 2024 Barkley Marathons, including Ukrainian Ihor Verys who finished first, followed by Americans John Kelly and Jared Campbell in second and third place, respectively, and Greig Hamilton from New Zealand in fourth.

Paris gained recognition in 2019 for winning the Spine Race, setting a new record and becoming the first woman to win the 268-mile race.

The Barkley Marathons, known for its extreme difficulty, is considered one of the toughest foot races globally. Held in Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park, the race was inspired by the 1977 prison escape of James Earl Ray, with its challenging terrain and unpredictable conditions.

Participants tackle five loops of roughly 20 miles each, totaling between 100 to 130 miles, with an elevation gain of approximately 63,000 feet. Runners navigate steep inclines and rough terrain without aid stations, phones, or GPS, often getting lost or injured along the way.

The race features unique unmanned checkpoints, where athletes must tear out a page from a corresponding paperback book to prove they reached each checkpoint.

With a dropout rate of 99%, the Barkley Marathons present a formidable challenge, with no finishers between 2017 and 2023.

Messi-Mania: Major League Soccer’s Big Chance

Lionel Messi is the superstar of soccer and has created millions of fans. When he joined the professional American soccer club Inter Miami in 2023, he brought a lot of attention, and money, to Major League Soccer (MLS).

In the whirlwind of Lionel Messi’s arrival in MLS, the anticipation was palpable, the stakes high, and the potential windfalls immense. As Messi’s greatness stirred up excitement and ticket prices soared, MLS found itself riding the wave of “Messi-mania” into what would be a transformative year in 2023.

However, as the league looked towards capitalizing on this momentum in 2024, individual clubs quickly realized that securing a home game against Inter Miami, Messi’s team, would be paramount. Yet, in a league with a flexible and imbalanced schedule, the guarantee of such a coveted matchup was far from assured.

Even before Messi set foot in Miami, rumors of his potential impact had club executives vying for the attention of the league office. With Messi’s arrival, their advocacy reached new heights. Proposals ranged from hosting games in NFL stadiums to promises of spectacular shows, all aimed at securing a spot among the twelve teams scheduled to host Messi’s team during the 2024 regular season. The persistence of these executives in lobbying league officials was unprecedented.

Their motivation was clear: a game featuring the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) could substantially boost annual revenues for clubs, potentially by double-digit percentages. The economic impact of Messi alone was projected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the league by the end of his contract in 2025. For some clubs, a single matchup with Miami promised more ticket income than 16 other home games combined.

However, the significance of the Messi games extends beyond mere financial gains. They represent a broader challenge that MLS faces in converting sports fans who may be indifferent to the league into avid supporters. Each game provides an opportunity to turn skeptics into believers, viewers into customers, and casual fans into lifelong supporters.

While some clubs have sought to capitalize solely on short-term profits by hiking prices, others have taken a more strategic approach. Creative ticketing schemes have been devised, and the winners of the scheduling lottery have framed their approach with a long-term perspective, recognizing the potential for lasting fan loyalty.

A prime example is the Los Angeles Galaxy, who opted to keep their opener against Miami at their soccer-specific stadium rather than moving it to larger venues. Furthermore, they implemented a strategy of selling only season ticket memberships and multi-game packages, ensuring that those eager to witness Messi in action also commit to attending additional matches.

This approach, while common among clubs fortunate enough to host Messi, reflects a broader objective: to cultivate a new generation of supporters who will remain loyal to the club beyond the Messi era. As Tom Braun, COO of the Galaxy, succinctly puts it, the goal is to transition casual fans or admirers of opposing players into dedicated Galaxy supporters.

Hockey Fans Break Record for Charity

A professional ice hockey team in Pennsylvania, the Hershey Bears, set a new franchise record last week, not for goals scored, but for the number of teddy bears tossed onto the ice by fans.

The annual Teddy Bear Toss collects toys for charity, and this year, 74,599 stuffed toys were collected— surpassing the previous record of 67,309.
The event is part of the club’s Hershey Bears Cares program which showcases the philanthropic activities and volunteer efforts of Bears players and staff members throughout the community. Since its inception in 2001 the tradition has collected nearly a half million cuddly creatures for children in need.

The Sweigart Family Foundation also donated $55,000 to Children’s Miracle Network in Hershey.

The Bears went on to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, improving their AHL-best record to 29-7-0- this season.

Tee-rific Art: 25,000 Golf Tees Form Tiger Woods Portrait

Missouri artist Aaron Norris recently completed a 6-foot x 6-foot wall art of Tiger Woods using 25,000 new and broken golf tees. Norris, a 43-year-old golf enthusiast, got the idea from observing broken tees on his local golf course. He collected the tees over the summer and fall, with some help from neighbors who played golf.

The portrait, depicting Tiger Woods reading a putt, has already been sold for an undisclosed amount. Norris spent $400 on additional tees, with roughly half collected from the golf courses. This unique piece adds to Norris’s portfolio, which includes works like a Muhammad Ali oil canvas, an Elon Musk mosaic bead portrait, and a painting of NFL football stars, the Kelce brothers.

While Norris has received many sports commissions, this Tiger Woods portrait marks his first use of actual sports equipment in his artwork.