Have Youth Sports Become Too Intense?

Aug 25, 2014
Amherst Patriots / Flickr/CC

There’s a lot of concern these days that an ethic of winning at all costs, promoted by over-zealous parents or coaches, is ruining youth athletics. And kids are paying the price, from sports injuries at ever-younger ages, to constant practice that cuts into family time. But now, some adults are crying “foul” and calling for change.

Michael May via flickr Creative Commons,, Rui Costa via flickr Creative Commons and via

In 1936 18-year-old Marty Glickman was one of the fastest sprinters in the country, earning him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and a trip to the Berlin Games. Today on Word of Mouth, we have the story of how he was removed from the competition to appease Hitler and how he then became a legendary sports broadcaster. Then lessons in science with The Art of Tinkering and a conversation about how elements were named.
Finally, Producer Zach Nugent spoke with front-woman Arleigh Kincheloe of the band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Their new album is called Fight.

Listen to the whole show and click Read more for individual segments.

This show originally aired on 3.27.14. 

Austin Cowan NHPR

Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club in North Hampton has all the characteristics of a golf course. It has manicured fairways, rows of golf carts and a pristine clubhouse. Its patrons are all dressed in golfing garb, awaiting their turn to tee off down the first fairway. However, there is something a little odd about this course, something that doesn’t quite fit.

Amidst the traditional golfers are young kids holding soccer balls. They are here for a different game called FootGolf. That’s right, FootGolf, a sport that combines golf and soccer.

Austin Cowan NHPR

New Hampshire’s finest amateur golfers took to Stonebridge Country Club in Goffstown this week for the 111th New Hampshire State Amateur Championships.

The golfers in the tournament, which started on Monday,  are a mix of fearless youngsters and seasoned veterans. The final will be contested Saturday between Damon Salo, a Johnson and Wales University golfer from New Ipswich, and Joe Leavitt from the Atkinson Resort and Country Club, who won the tournament in 2012.

gargudojr via Flickr Creative Commons

With more than a quarter of the players born outside the US, professional baseball is the UN of American pro sports. We take a look at a position crucial to a team’s success:  the interpreter…and how the job requires more than mere translation. Plus, France’s government is banning English words like ‘fast-food’ and ‘hashtag’ in the name of cultural preservation…we find out why the words are unlikely to disappear from the vernacular anytime soon. And, Sue Miller speaks about her new book, The Arsonist.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Sarah Thomas

Red Sox vs. Yankees. Coke vs. Pepsi. Facebook vs. Twitter.  And now – Chuckster’s Family Fun Park vs. Rocky Gorge 4 Seasons Golf Fairway.

Disc Golf: No Collared Shirts Required

Jul 11, 2014
Austin Cowan NHPR

Nestled deep in the woods of Canterbury, NH is a special type of golf course. No golf carts, clubs or balls can be found here. Bright polos and pastel shorts are left at the country club as well. Here, at Top O’ The Hill, disc golf is the game of choice.

For those that have never heard of the sport, think golf...but with a disc. It's that simple. Be careful to use the word "disc," however, never "Frisbee." This, I’m told, is seen as a slur in the disc world.

various brennemans via Flickr Creative Commons

Prove it, innate, survival of the fittest, organic… scientific terminology is part of our everyday language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today we’re testing the theory of misusing scientific terms. And, with the state breaking ground on a new women’s prison next month, we’ll consider whether the specific needs of female inmates can be addressed by re-thinking prison design. Then, mental illness creates a stigma that is almost impossible to erase, even for sports celebrities. We wonder: why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Made of Tennis
Michael Gilliam / Flickr Creative Commons

The Waterville Valley Tennis Center is once again hosting the annual New Hampshire Open, scheduled for July 18 to July 20.  The 10,000 New Hampshire Open Tennis Championships is set on the 18 red clay court complex of the tennis center.  Athletes include top ranked New England and collegiate players who play the eastern summer tennis circuit.  Play begins the afternoon of Friday, the 18th, and continues Saturday with singles and doubles. Semi-finals and finals are on July 20.    

Austin Cowan NHPR

New Hampshire’s finest high school football players took to Grappone Stadium on Saturday in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock All Star Game.

The game, a last hurrah for graduating seniors, is a way for New Hampshire youth to give back. In its three year history, the contest between the best players representing the east and west regions of the state has raised $752,000 for the hospital, said Nick Vailas, the founder of the game.

David Monti, Race Results Weekly

Dartmouth College’s Abbey D’Agostino is turning pro now that her celebrated collegiate running career has come to an end. In four years at Dartmouth D’Agostino became one of the Ivy League’s all-time most accomplished. To learn more about her career and what lies ahead, I spoke to David Monti, editor and publisher of the New York based Race Results Weekly:

This is an athlete that took a lot of people by surprise. What were the expectations when she first came to Dartmouth and what did she end up accomplishing?

If you have World Cup fever, you’ll know Brazil and Croatia kick off the tournament Thursday. Even if you don’t have the fever; even if the brouhaha over Landon Donovan last month didn’t register; even if you have only the faintest understanding of who David Beckham is; you know that the U.S. has never been a favorite in the sport of international soccer.

christopher.woo via Flickr Creative Commons

We spoke with Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner about three issues that have been dominating headlines lately. In case you’ve missed them and need to catch up quickly, we’ve compiled the highlights so you can be a champion of serious water-cooler discussions.

The major take-away? Dubner urges you to think like a freak, and to listen to more public radio.

Thomás via Flickr Creative Commons

The world cup kicks off in Sao Paulo this Thursday amid controversy, corruption, and protest. Today, a profile of the neuroscientist behind a bionic exoskeleton that will make a miraculous kickoff at the world cup possible. But first, Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freaknomics, explains some of the decisions that are part of playing in the world cup. And then, a conversation with Ruth Graham, who triggered a fury among young adult fans by claiming "Adults should be embarrassed about reading literature for children".

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Most Memorial Day events pay tribute to all those who have died in military service to the nation, but there are some events that honor individuals.

One such event takes place each year in Manchester in honor of Army Staff Sergeant Kyle Warren, a medic who was killed in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2010.

The "Red Raider" logo is staying put at a New Hampshire high school for now.

The student council at Belmont High School held a community forum last month taking comment on whether they should change or retire the black and red graphic of a Native American.

On Tuesday, the Shaker Regional School Board voted down the council's request to change the logo, but encouraged a public vote on the matter at next year's District Meeting.

The idea of changing the name came up after a discussion in a social studies class.

Austin Cowan NHPR

We live in an age where Donald Sterlings and Lance Armstrongs often cloud the benefits of sports in the public eye. Alleged abuser and former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice gets ample coverage, while the dedicated, supportive coach usually goes unnoticed.

Professor Bop via flickr Creative Commons

That's right. I'm asking the age old question: candlepin or ten-pin? Outside of New England, this may not be a hot topic. It may not be a topic at all, as the popularity and instance of candlepin is concentrated almost solely in northern New England. To be completely honest, I didn't even know candlepin was a thing until I moved here almost seventeen years ago. (Military brat - hi!). As with sprinkles vs. jimmies, hair elastic vs. ponytail, and roundabout vs.

The University of New Hampshire is bringing sports and studying closer together with a new Student-Athlete Center for Excellence.  Paid for entirely with private donations, the $1.9 million center opening next fall will be housed at the university's field house and will include a large, comfortable study space staffed by advisers and tutors and smaller rooms where teams and small groups can work together.  Heather Barber, the university's faculty representative to the NCAA, says it will be a huge improvement over the current situation.

Belmont Students Aim To Change 'Red Raider' Mascot

Apr 17, 2014

Three Belmont High School students are taking on an issue few adults would tackle these days.

Student Council members Andre Bragg, Taylor Becker and Ashley Fenimore led a forum Wednesday night where they asked the community to consider whether the school’s mascot – “Red Raider” – was offensive to Native Americans.

The issue came up recently in a Social Studies class and the Council thought the question was significant enough to begin a public dialog.

wallyg / Flickr Creative Commons

One year after the tragedy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, we remember the many stories of heartbreak and of courage that abound at the time and have transpired since.

Courtesy Iona College

It’s like Mickey Mantle’s grandson announcing he’ll be hitting home runs for the Dartmouth College baseball team. Or Julia Ruth Stevens, the daughter of New York Yankee icon Babe Ruth, agreeing to pay for a new baseball park in Derry.

Courtesy Arizona Athletics

UPDATE: The Arizona Wildcats defeated San Diego State Thursday night, 70-64, and advanced to the Elite Eight. Tarczewski scored 7 points. He also had two blocks, one rebound and one assist.

George Oates, Nathan Fixler & Chris Griffith via Flickr Creative Commons

Today on Word of Mouth, we delve into the consequences of solitary confinement. Then a trip to the Internet reveals that cyberspace is chock full of fakes and fails; Photoshopped images can quickly become viral and shared as authentic. But history is full of giant hoaxes, too, as we learn from Nate Dimeo of the Memory Palace Podcast.  Then we hear about The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure,  which isn’t one of those Darwin Awards-style coffee table books. It’s a real government document that catalogs bribery, graft, and other infractions in the Department of Defense. Finally, NHPR's Sean Hurley visited the Jackson biathlon range - the only dedicated course in New Hampshire - to find out more about this unusual sport.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Johnny9s via flickr Creative Commons

While Russia celebrated its history and artistry at the spectacular opening to the Sochi games, protestors of Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws were being carted off to jail. Today on Word of Mouth, a writer travels to Russia to learn about life for gay people trapped in the iron closet. 

Also today, India’s luge champ, Mexico’s royal mariachi ski racer and a few other unlikely heroes to watch for at Sochi. Plus, the book awards chosen by critics who read everything. Listen to the full show here, and scroll down for links and more.

Courtesy Pam Brooks Crowley

While looking for a photo to illustrate a Word of Mouth story on the history of skiing in N.H., I happened upon this gem on Flickr. The photo is of photographer Pam Brooks Crowley's father and his cross country teammates taken in Lisbon, New Hampshire in 1936. 

Amanda Loder / NHPR

This past weekend Concord played host to the first major pond hockey tournament of the season.  The 1883 Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship is in its fourth year.  But it's said that the nation's first "organized" pond hockey game was played at St. Paul's School in Concord--back in 1883.  NHPR's Amanda Loder stopped by the event at White Park, and sends us this audio postcard.   

Pond Hockey Players
Amanda Loder / NHPR

Play continues today at the 1883 Black Ice Pond Hockey Championship  in Concord. Teams will play in the semi-finals and finals at White Park this morning from 8:00 until noon.

Johnhenryf via Flickr Creative Commons

In the words of author Stephen Amidon, “no other figure is the focus of so much passion, controversy, expectation, and disappointment…” regardless of whether it is football or soccer, figure-skating or hockey, watching the world’s top athletes borders on hypnotic… and sometimes stands as proof of our ability to exceed physical human limitations and become something like the gods. That’s the name of long-time sports-lover and novelist Stephen Amidon’s new cultural history of the athlete, detailing sport from the first Olympic Games, to the rise of Lebron James.

Courtesy The University Of New Hampshire

The former coach of the University of New Hampshire women’s hockey team says he should be reinstated.

The university fired Brian McCloskey late last year following an incident of what officials called “inappropriate physical contact” with a player on the bench.