Current Event December 8, 2017
Soccer is played by more than 3 million kids in leagues across the United States. Most parents cheer respectfully for their children, but some parents don’t. One volunteer referee for the American Youth Soccer Organization wrote a letter to parents with his thoughts on parents’ behavior. He encourages parents to be civil and be a good example for their kids. Listen to this story and debate: What is a parent’s role on the sidelines of kids' sports?
ELA High School
Typically in the National Football League it’s all about the quarterback. But that is not the case in “The Blind Side”, a book about American football and the position of offensive left tackle. The author argues that the previously underappreciated position is vital to the game today. Incorporated into the story is offensive left tackle Michael Oher, who grew up in poverty, was adopted, and then played college football. Lewis traces the evolution of this pivotal position and explains how contracts and cash have shaped football. Listen to learn more about the author, American football, and the real-life story of Michael Oher.
Current Event October 13, 2017
The football field has become a field for demonstrations. American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial injustice consisted of kneeling during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have knelt during the anthem, other athletes were inspired to kneel as well, while others locked arms and stood during the anthem. One point of view is that those who kneel are disrespecting the flag, veterans, and America and another is that politics should be removed from football games, and another is that Kaepernick is not showing disrespect and he has the right to protest injustice. Listen to this story and then debate: What do the national anthem protests mean?
Current Event October 6, 2017
A role model is a person who can be imitated by younger people, and have an impact on their behavior, choices, and values. Sports stars have been looked up to as role models, however some such as Charles Barkley, a retired professional basketball player, have declared that he is not a role model. What are the responsibilities of people who are paid to play sports? Listen to this commentator’s opinion, and then debate: Should athletes be considered role models?
Current Event September 8, 2017
Colin Kaepernick has been an elite quarterback in the National Football League. But he’s also one of the most controversial athletes in the NFL. Kaepernick has faced a backlash for refusing to stand during the national anthem. Instead he kneels in silent protest against social injustices such as police brutality. Some people saw this as disrespect for America, and some people supported his protest. Now he is a player without a team as no football franchise has selected him for the 2017/18 season. Listen to hear about Kaepernick’s situation and the NFL’s reaction and then debate: Should a social protest affect football?
Current Event August 30, 2017
Usain Bolt first received international recognition when he won three gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Shattering world records and then shattering his own records, Bolt is considered by many to be the fastest man in the world. His 6’ 5’’ build is not a common sight for elite sprinters, but there is no question that his top speed is faster than anyone else's. Bolt was in London for the World Championships to run his last 100-meter race. Listen to hear about his illustrious career, his charisma, and his legacy as he prepares for retirement.
Note: Usain Bolt came came in third in his final 100-meter race.
Current Event June 12, 2017
A high-school senior at Duncanville High School in Texas is juggling classes with a part-time job and her role as manager of her school’s softball team. At home, she helps her mother pay the bills and cares for her younger brother. After school, the softball team has become like a second family. She finds encouragement from people in her life and they provide support to help her face her challenges. Listen to hear more about this student’s life and what she wants for her future.
Current Event June 8, 2017
A sheer rock face in Spain, called La Rambla, is notoriously difficult to climb. Recently, 19-year-old Margo Hayes became the first woman to climb this route. Hayes was able to complete the climb on her 17th attempt over seven days. She planned her route, remained positive, and was ultimately successful. Listen to learn more about what drove Margo Hayes to complete this successful climb.
Current Event June 1, 2017
After two decades in the major leagues, Red Sox legend David Ortiz has retired, and now he is releasing a memoir about his life and career. Throughout his career, David Ortiz, or “Big Papi”, hit 541 home runs and won three World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox. Listen to learn more about David Ortiz’s journey from his childhood in the Dominican Republic to major league baseball in the United States.
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.