This Week's Signs Of The Apocalypse

For nearly two decades, Sports Illustrated has stirred the tea leaves to discern a weekly Sign of the Apocalypse. Deadspin salutes the magazine's ongoing effort to cover the end of times but declines to cede the scoop on the biggest event in world history.

Here's SI's Sign of the Apocalypse this week:

After an 18-month investigation in Broward County, Fla., nine men were arrested and charged with running an illegal gambling ring that took in more than $100,000 in wagers on peewee football games; seven of the nine (none of whom have entered a plea) were youth team coaches.

All right, so if you read this column with any regularity you'll probably recognize that a SotA this grim puts me in a tough spot. Normally SI's SotA is frothy enough that I can compare it to a few more puff-pastry items from the week in sports news, then drop in some truly frightening dispatch from somewhere in the world to highlight the frivolity. But gambling rings that center on peewee football games are strange and dark enough to be disarming. If you want a great account of the worm-eaten underbelly of youth football in South Florida, Robert Andrew Powell's "We Own This Game" is a great place to start; in it the author reports that gamblers have been known to clear a field with gunfire when the score isn't going their way. Bad times. Good SotA.

With that acknowledgment, Deadspin offers a tip of the hat on a right proper SotA. But this is going to be our Sign of the Apocalypse this week:

Fighting in Syria sent some 11,000 refugees fleeing the country in a 24-hour span, the bulk of whom, dodging gunfire and shelling to cross barbed-wire border fences, flooded into Turkey, touching off fears of wider regional destabilization out of Syria's internal conflict.

Syria border fighting sends 8,000 fleeing to Turkey
[Los Angeles Times]