Current Event May 31, 2017
China is scheduled to host more than 400 marathons this year as part of the central government’s national campaign to boost tourism and promote exercise. During a period of slowed economic growth, more and more cities in China are signing up to hold marathons. However, the central government has also criticized runners for lack of health awareness and organizers for poor safety practices. Listen to learn more about the growing interest in marathons in China and how organizers are trying to improve the process.
Current Event May 4, 2017
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an official entrant. Up until her entry, the race was a men’s-only event, and not many people thought women could run a marathon. The race director tried to pull off her official racing bib, but she finished the marathon. Now, in 2017, the 70-year-old runner competed in the race a second time. Listen to learn more about Switzer’s experience as the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and her outlook as she trains to run again.
Current Event April 20, 2017
Women on sports teams make significantly less money than their male counterparts. USA Hockey dedicates fewer resources to the growth of women's hockey and provides less support. The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team threatened to boycott the world championship unless their financial support was increased. They reached an agreement last month with USA Hockey, promising to increase the salaries of the female athletes. Listen to hear more about this historic agreement.
Current Event April 6, 2017
Not only is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich a classic American comfort food, it is also a wildly popular snack in the National Basketball Association. The tradition of PB&J sandwiches in the NBA is believed to have started when Celtics star Kevin Garnett asked for one before a game. Garnett played well and asked that PB&J’s be provided before every game. Although it is not the most nutritious snack, PB&J makes players feel relaxed and happy when they are stressed out on the road. Listen to learn more about the PB&J fad in the NBA and the unique preferences of various teams and players.
Current Event June 9, 2016
Boxer Muhammad Ali is being remembered as a great athlete and humanitarian. He was a 3-time Heavyweight World Champion and inspired generations of people. When he became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, he was barred from boxing for over three years. When he converted to Islam, he became an ambassador for his religion. He never apologized for his beliefs, even at great personal cost. Listen to hear more about Ali, who was an example of integrity and self-confidence around the world.
Current Event May 5, 2016
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, listen to this story about Kobe Bryant’s high school English teacher. Throughout the years, Jeanne Mastriano had a profound influence on the basketball star; in fact, he has even called her his “muse.” Mrs. Mastriano talks about Kobe’s old study habits, his high school passions, and a recent poem he wrote about retiring from basketball. Listen to hear more about how this high school teacher has made a positive and lasting impact on Kobe and many other students.
Current Event March 23, 2016
As part of Native American Heritage night, a women’s high school basketball team wore traditional Navajo hair styles. They wore a tsiyeela—a bun tied with yarn. Then a referee told them they couldn't play because he believed the hairstyle broke regulation. The students ended up taking out their buns. After the team received an apology, they wore their traditional hairstyles at the next game. And so did many in the audience. Listen to hear more about this event that highlights the issue of cultural sensitivity.
Current Event December 10, 2015
One of the greatest basketball players in history will end his career soon. Kobe Bryant, a professional basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers, will retire from basketball at the end of his 20th season. He played in 17 all-star games and has 5 NBA titles. Bryant announced his retirement through a poem that was posted to the player’s website. Although there was controversy early in his career, he’s been seen as a mentor to younger players. The fans in Los Angeles have a special relationship with Bryant, although he is famous across the country. Listen to hear an announcer for the LA Lakers, talk about the career of Kobe Bryant and what we all can learn.
Current Event November 25, 2015
Playing basketball can be difficult in a hijab, the traditional clothing for Somali girls that is robe-like and covers their hair. Shoes can get caught in the dresses, scarves fall over the eyes, and there are so many layers it can get too hot. In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a high school girls’ team redesigned their uniforms. The goal of the new uniforms was to balance a culture of modesty with playing sports. The Somali girls had input into creating the design to produce something that isn’t restrictive but is also cute. Listen to hear how these uniforms were created and the response by other teams across the country.
Current Event November 20, 2015
Millions of people play fantasy sports, drafting teams and winning and losing real money. Regulators in Nevada decided they think fantasy sports companies are actually gambling operations. Fantasy league websites like DraftKings and FanDuel can no longer operate in Nevada without gaming licenses. New York is taking a look at allegations of insider trading and Washington lawmakers are now paying attention. This may lead to a Congressional hearing and regulations for these companies. Listen to this story and have your students debate whether fantasy teams are gambling companies. Do they think fantasy sports should be regulated?
Current Event October 15, 2015
Many professional athletes have been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. Some have confessed and some have gone to court denying their use. Why do these drugs cause such debate? Some say they are so prevalent it would be better to regulate them than to ban them. Others say using or prescribing these drugs is illegal and dangerous. What do you think? Would sports be better off regulating instead of banning performance enhancing drugs? Listen to this story and discuss both sides of this debate.
Current Event October 6, 2015
There are over one million high school football players in the United States. This sport requires hitting and being hit. Even with helmets there is a high risk of head injuries and concussions. In 2011, Texas lawmakers took action and a “return to play” law was passed. This required students with hits to the head have medical clearance before returning to play football. Some parents and families are concerned this legal action doesn’t go far enough. Brain injuries are invisible, hard to diagnose and there is a risk of repeated concussions. Listen to this story to hear more about protecting the health of student football players.
Current Event May 14, 2015
An NFL investigation has confirmed that staffers for the New England Patriots purposefully deflated footballs used in the football game that qualified the Patriots for this year’s Super Bowl. The report also suggests that star quarterback Tom Brady knew. This scandal, known as Deflate-Gate, has led to a stiff penalty against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The penalty has the sports world talking about how it will affect the Patriots next season and whether the rule about ball inflation should be changed. Listen to learn more about this scandal and come to your own opinion.
Current Event April 3, 2015
Basketball fans across the country are preparing for the exciting end of March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. As Kentucky drives towards a undefeated season, this story remembers a time when the Southeastern Conference (SEC) was not integrated. Despite the Voting Rights Act of 1964, racism in the South was still commonplace and public. Perry Wallace stepped onto the basketball court for Vanderbilt University in 1966 and became the first black varsity athlete in the Southeastern Conference. Listen to learn more about the climate of Southern basketball in the late 1960s and how Perry Wallace survived and thrived.
Warning: Quotes in this story contain strong language.
Current Event March 23, 2015
With college basketball’s March Madness Tournament heating up, all eyes are on college sports and the money they generate. From ticket sales, to merchandise, and TV rights, college sports bring more than just pride to their schools; they also generate huge amounts of money. College athletes are awarded scholarships to cover tuition, but they don’t get paid anything else. Is this fair? Athletes are speaking out and telling their stories of financial need. Listen to hear about one former college athlete who is challenging this system in court.
Throwing a curveball is one of the most difficult pitches in baseball. Bill Lee, a former pitcher for the Red Sox, explains how important it is to consider physics when trying to throw a curveball. Listen to learn how objects travel through space and how gravity affects a curveball.
Current Event August 2, 2014
Competitions come in all shapes and sizes. From the boxing ring to the beach, people love to use competition to inspire their best work. Sports have a long tradition of competition but we don’t often see or watch artists be competitive. Every summer just north of Boston, Massachusetts, beach goers to do just this at the Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival. Listen to learn more about sand sculpting and how competition and art drive its creators.