Sports

Joe Shlabotnik via flickr Creative Commons

The Red Sox squeaked by the Tigers last night in Detroit, putting them one game closer to the World Series.  Although Boston and Detroit are two of the oldest franchises in Major League Baseball, this is the first time they’ve faced each other in the playoffs.  That could be due to the post season absence of one team Sox fans – and apparently the rest of the country -- love to hate… the New York Yankees. …this is only the second season in 19 years that the Bronx Bombers failed to make the playoffs. What are baseball fans today without their favorite targets of scorn? Brian Costa can help. He’s national baseball writer for the Wall Street Journal and creator of the “Major League Baseball Hate-Ability Index” – a tool for identifying which team to root against during this year’s baseball playoffs and  the World Series

tadophoto via Flickr Creative Commons

Banish the bridge game, and shove off the shuffleboard… competitive table tennis for seniors is the subject of the new film “Ping Pong”, which airs tonight on PBS’s POV series.

The film shows the arch rivalries and individual motivations of the traditional sports drama, ramped up by the presence of cancer, dementia, and the physical deterioration at the end of life. The film’s producer is Anson Hartford, and he joins us to talk about it.

Check Out These Five Really Weird Sports

Jul 29, 2013
Tetyanochka via Flickr Creative Commons

Our exploration of Aesthletics reminded us of some of our other favorite bizarre sports. From the safe, if not always tame, World Beard and Moustache Competition to the surprisingly dangerous Outhouse Races, strange sports are everywhere. These are not the weirdest sports, by far, but they top our list as most memorable and well organized.

laudachooos via Flickr Creative Commons

You’ve heard of whiffle-ball… how about whiffle-hurling?  Class-conscious kickball?  Imaginary soccer?  These absurd-sounding games are among the growing number of highly conceptualized art-sports invented by artists and shown on YouTube, and other online video sites. Brooklyn-based artist Tom Russotti is founder of the Institute for Aesthletics… yes, that’s athletics and aesthetics rolled into one. The institute combines sports, participatory art and conceptual social activities. Tom’s games have been invented, played, performed, and experimented with at museums, schools, and arts organizations all over the world.

Business Insider

The NFL preseason kicks off this Sunday in Canton, Ohio, when the Cowboys take on the dolphins at the annual hall of fame game.  The game gives fans the first opportunity in months to get together, warm up the couch, and bust out the beer and snacks. Sabra hummus is making a play to sit alongside chicken wings, nachos and salsa in the billion-plus dollar football food market.  And it’s got a big backer. Sabra hummus is now the official dip of the NFL.

Claude Schildknecht via Flickr Creative Commons

I was deep in western New York for the July fourth holiday. We had loads of fun and the weather was mostly great. The one sour note was not being able to find Wimbledon on the available television channels…we searched for Wimbledon and found live coverage of the Tour de France. In addition to having no interest in watching the race, I realized that I had no idea how to watch the Tour de France. I’m not alone, apparently because each year when the spotlight turns again to spandex, millions of Americans shrug and say “meh!”

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Our favorite content of the week, neatly packaged for your audio pleasure. On this show, the secret science behind sports fan-dom, dogs audition for a starring role in a New Hampshire play, Cryonics is (maybe) reborn, New Hampshire prospectors pan for gold, and Baz Lurhmann talks about a new album of 20's-style jazz covers of songs by Beyonce, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and other pop stars.

thebleacherreport.com

I’m am not qualified to make a list of the Top 5 most memorable sports failures, which is why I asked Eric Simons to help me create a list of moments he felt fit the bill. To say that he waffled about what moments to include is an understatement; sports fans are notoriously opinionated when it comes to moments that define heartbreak. I took his suggestions and then sprinkled in a few that I grew up hearing about.  Without further ado I present to you: “5 Moments in Sports That Will (Maybe) Break Your Heart”. We encourage you to disagree and submit your own.

ericsimons.net

If you’re a New England sports fan of a certain age, chances are you can describe exactly what happened during game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner missed a roller at first.

That error allowed the Mets a winning run and further cemented the “Curse of the Bambino” in the minds of Red Sox fans…many of those same fans still get weepy when thinking of 2004 – when the Sox finally reversed the curse and won the World Series.

Along with the thrill comes the agony …just ask any Bruins fan who watched Boston’s 2 - 1 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals squandered  by two Blackhawk goals in the last 76 seconds of the game.

We spoke to science writer and Radiolab contributor Eric Simons before the Bruins crushing defeat. Eric’s latest book “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” is his attempt to figure out the science and psychology of sports fans…and it begins with a play-by-play of heartbreak.

Taylor Quimby

Battle of the Nations is an international event held annually since 2009 – this year in the medieval walled city of Aigues-Mortes in the south of France.  About five-hundred men from twenty-two countries competed in what is part historic re-enactment, and part full contact sport.  Wearing full medieval armor and using blunted period weaponry, participants hack, slash, and wrestle opponents to the ground in events ranging from one-on-on, to dueling groups of twenty-one each.  Our next guest, Jaye Brooks was there – he’s executive officer for team USA and the Armored Combat League, and he came in at 10th place in the one-on-one competition.

courtesy University of New Hampshire

The UNH Wildcats are taking on Denver University in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.

Allen Lessels covers the Wildcats for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the team's turnaround season and how it matches up against its first-round opponent.

Paul Butler is a former football player himself, but says the evidence now shows the game is too dangerous for young people and their developing brains. Butler called for a ban on the sport in his hometown. But many say his concerns go overboard and that it’s a hard sell to interfere with America’s second favorite pastime. We'll hear from both sides of this debate.

Captain Kimo via Flickr Creative Commons

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown found that the traditional ice-fishing bob-houses that pop up each winter may be on their way out. Earlier this month, Sam caught up with Dave Genz—the man credited as the “Godfather of modern ice fishing” and the only ice-angler to be named to America’s fresh water fishing hall of fame—as he fished and demonstrated and some of the newer innovations to the winter sport.

Years ago while chasing my then- toddler  around a small hillside park in Derry, I found a large chunk of iron; It was an odd site, this hulking engine block in the brush and undergrowth at the top of the hill. Then I noticed the telephone poles.  They were several feet back in the woods. Two of the poles had wheel hubs displaying just a hint of the yellow they were once painted. A thin wire bowed between two of them.

This was a rope tow.

Bishop Brady High School in Concord kicked off its boys’ hockey season last night with an 8 to 1 loss to Manchester’s Trinity High School.

Zach Frament scored Bishop Brady’s lone goal, with an assist by Shelby Herrington, who happens to be the only female player on Bishop Brady’s boys’ hockey team.

Whether she remains on that team for the rest of the season remains to be seen.

UNH Football Looking To Make Playoff Run

Nov 30, 2012
Jimmy Emerson / Flick/Creative Commons

On Saturday, UNH’s football team will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina to take on the Wofford College Terriers in a second-round playoff game.

It’s the ninth straight year the Wildcats have made the FCS (formerly called Division 1-AA) playoffs, the longest active streak in the nation.

Head Coach Sean McDonnell says it’s the character of his players, as much as their talent, that keeps the Wildcats winning.

Paul Butler is a former football player himself, but says the evidence now shows the game is too dangerous for young people and their developing brains.  Butler called for a ban on the sport in his hometown.  But many say his concerns go overboard and that it’s a hard sell to interfere with America’s second favorite pastime.  We'll hear from both sides of this debate.

Guests

TBA

A Profile of Kathrine Switzer

Oct 12, 2012

Forty-five years ago, on the eve of the Women’s liberation movement Kathrine Switzer made history by becoming the first women to ever ‘officially run’ the Boston Marathon.  But it was four photographs taken of Switzer’s famous altercation with a race director that day would spark a revolution not only in women’s running, but also in women’s rights.

Switzer was in New Hampshire this week to give the keynote address at the annual Women Building Community Luncheon in Manchester put on by the United Way of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Women’s Fund”

Sam Evans-Brown

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

Leo Greene

If you’ve spent any time in the town of Sandwich, New Hampshire, you may have picked up on its eclectic mix of preserved antiquity and progressiveness, with old clean-walled farmhouses occupied by inventors, artists, even a locally-grown internet service provider. Sandwich may be yesterday on the outside, but it’s tomorrow on the in.  As Sean Hurley reports, this dichotomy finds an unusual expression on the town soccer field a few days before the annual Sandwich Fair. And while many towns see carnies as an invading force, to residents of this town, they’re welcome competitors.

jayneandd via Flickr/Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jayneandd/4450623309/in/photostream/

This past weekend in New Hampshire was full of two things that NHPR's Keith Shields follows very closely: politics and marathons.

Shields is executive producer of The Exchange and a 27 time marathoner. He joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to – pardon the pun – run through the intersection of marathon culture and political culture, up to and including this election.

A Step by Step on Racewalking

Aug 10, 2012

(sound of walking)

The track at Nashua North high school on any given afternoon has a few joggers doing laps, sprinters running intervals, even a hurdler practicing his jumps…and then there’s Bob Keating, who stands out a bit. The sixty five year old race-walker and one time Olympic trials qualifier is pumping his arms, his hips are swaying wide and as everyone else bounces, Keating seems to glide around the perimeter of the track.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedcms/7707038092/

Millions of Americans have been following the Olympics in London, and NHPR staffers are no exception. But one of our colleagues is watching with a more seasoned eye – Keith Shields is executive producer of The Exchange, but he’s also a 27-time marathoner who's currently training for an Iron Man triathlon in Quebec.

He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the races he's been following, London's history in shaping the modern marathon, and whether athletes watch Olympic competition any differently than the rest of us.

The Mile Still Matters To Track & Field

Aug 2, 2012
From ryunrunning.com

Track and field has a numbers problem. As in, there are just too many of them. The 60, 26.2, 4-by-8, 2-oh-3, 5, 8, 10k…

Back in the 1950s, there was one number that mattered.

"I think there are only a handful of achievements like breaking 4 minutes for the first time, in any sport, that comes close to what Roger Bannister has done." 

Photo by eXtensionHorses via Flickr Creative Commons

Produced with Zach Nugent

Skating on Ice Made by the Sun

Jul 10, 2012
(Photo by Sarah Reynolds)

As summer hits Cape Cod, out come the fishing rods, sailboats, and…. Hockey pucks?  In Falmouth, Massachusetts, youth hockey leagues and recreational skaters are carving up the ice in a brand new ice rink this month – one that’s powered by summer sunlight.  Independent producer Sarah Reynolds has the story.

From toddler gyms to travel leagues, the author of a new book says companies are increasingly targeting kids, creating a highly profitable youth sports economy.  And the effects can be damaging, he says, leading families to overspend and kids to lose sight of the life lessons that sports can bring. We’ll take a look at this trend – its causes and effects.

Guests:

Across the country, swimmers are putting in their final laps before this month's Olympic trials. For many, the dream of making the U.S. swim team has been what gets them out of bed for a predawn practice. But on the men's side of the pool, the superstars of swimming often leave little room for anyone else.

At a recent swim practice in Nashville, Tenn., Dakota Hodgson, 20, puts in laps. And speed-walking to keep up, stopwatch in hand, is his gray-haired coach and father, Charlie Hodgson.

Charlie calls out Dakota's time: "29.24."

The road to any big event, be it a family reunion, a graduation, or the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, is often pockmarked with screw-ups, flubs, and insensitive oversights. Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish catalog a few of the gaffes leading up to the London games, including torch flame-outs, missing hurdles, and the resurrection of the apartheid-era South African anthem.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'll Have Another will not have a shot at the Triple Crown. His trainer noticed inflammation in the horse's leg, so the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will not race in tomorrow's Belmont Stakes. In fact, he's being retired from racing altogether.

NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now. And, Mike, what more have you learned about this injury?

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