Topic: Sports

Current Event July 15, 2020

NBA Teams Offer Polling Places

Politics Race Sports Democracy

With the presidential election months away and the coronavirus pandemic raging, some people are concerned about the health risks of in-person voting. Now, athletes are helping to address that problem. Several NBA teams have volunteered their sports arenas as polling places. The large spaces provide plenty of room for social distancing, which election officials hope will encourage voter turnout. Listen to learn how sports arenas could solve a range of voting challenges and why black athletes are speaking out about political causes more than ever before.

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Current Event July 12, 2020

Weird News: Old Sneakers Sell for High Price

Culture Sports

Listen to hear about an old pair of sneakers that was sold for a very high price.

Vocabulary: auction, permanent

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Current Event June 24, 2020

NFL's Response to Race Protests

Race Sports Protest

As protests against police brutality and racial inequities continue throughout the country, two national sports organizations have announced changes to their policies. The NFL says it will observe a company holiday on Juneteenth (June 19), the day in 1865 when enslaved people were freed by federal troops in Texas. The NFL commissioner also apologized for not listening to players protesting racism in recent years. And NASCAR announced that it is banning Confederate flags at races. Listen to a sports commentator react to the policy shifts and learn why he is skeptical about whether the NFL’s messaging signals meaningful change.

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Current Event June 12, 2020

Debate: Should Baseball Season Open During the Pandemic?

Health Culture Sports

This past spring, professional baseball shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as summer approaches, there is talk of partially reopening the season, sparking debate about the benefits and risks of resuming play. Some point to the power of baseball to console and unify the nation in times of crisis and say it is needed now more than ever. Others worry about the health risks to the players of bringing them on the field, even without spectators. Listen to hear more arguments for and against reopening baseball and then debate: Should baseball season open during the pandemic?

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Current Event May 17, 2020

Weird News: Robotic Baseball Fans

Technology Sports

Listen to hear about why one baseball team is using robots to fill stadiums this season.

Vocabulary: robotic, mannequin

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Current Event April 14, 2020

Sports During a National Crisis

Health Sports Viruses

Sporting events have soothed the nation during difficult times by distracting people from worries and giving them hope. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, when big gatherings can spread disease, public sporting events contribute to the problem rather than offering a solution. Listen to hear an ESPN commentator describe how sports have helped Americans survive past crises, why this one is different, and how sports organizations have helped set the tone for responding to the current pandemic.

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Current Event March 20, 2020

Debate: Should the Dictionary Reflect Offensive Language?

Culture Sports Language International Ethnicity

A new definition was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary, causing some concern. The word, a racial slur against Jews, has been used for years by fans of an English Premier League soccer team to refer to themselves. Opposing fans, though, often use the word in anti-Semitic chants. Some say adding it to the dictionary makes the offensive word seem more acceptable, but the publisher claims the dictionary is simply reflecting common usage. Listen to hear how English soccer fans feel about their controversial nickname and then debate: Should the dictionary reflect offensive language?

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Current Event February 20, 2020

Esports Explosion

Culture Sports Industry

Several universities are offering students the chance to major in a subject unheard of just a few years ago: competitive video gaming, or esports. Esports have gained a huge following in recent years, allowing athletes to earn money through sponsorships, merchandise, and tournament winnings. Fans watch games not only online, but also at arenas that can draw thousands of enthusiastic spectators. Listen to hear how schools are preparing students for careers in this growing field and how some people are working to make esports more inclusive.

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Current Event January 27, 2020

Weird News: Boy Lassos Big Fish

Animals Sports

Listen to hear about a young boy who caught a six-foot fish with a lasso.

Vocabulary: exaggerate

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Current Event November 15, 2019

Debate: Should Athletic Shoes Be Regulated?

Sports Ethics

The Nike Vaporfly, a super-light, bouncy running shoe, is helping athletes achieve record-breaking times, but also raising questions. Some argue the shoe gives athletes an unfair advantage, making sports more about equipment than conditioning. They believe running shoes should be regulated to make races fair. Others say it is impossible to define “unfair advantage” or to know how best to regulate shoes. Listen to hear a Boston Marathon winner explain the technology that has runners buzzing, and then debate: Should athletic shoes be regulated?

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Current Event October 18, 2019

Debate: Should College Athletes Profit from Playing Sports?

Politics Sports

College athletes have been banned from earning money from their sports, but a new law in California will change that. Starting in 2023, college players in California will be allowed to endorse products and sign sponsorship deals. Supporters say that the law will finally give skilled college athletes who bring in millions of dollars for their universities an opportunity to profit themselves. Opponents argue the new law will ruin college athletics by making them more like professional sports. Listen to hear from people on both sides of the issue and then debate: Should college athletes profit from playing sports?

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Current Event August 8, 2019

The Limits of Human Endurance

Health Sports biology Human body energy motion butrition

Have you ever wondered how far humans can push themselves physically? A scientist recently conducted a study to help answer this question. He studied athletes who ran six marathons a week for months to learn about what determines their capacity to expend energy over time. Listen to find out more about what researchers understand about human endurance and hear one scientist’s surprising take on what constitutes the height of human capability.

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Current Event July 31, 2019

Celebrating Women's Soccer

Culture Gender Sports Women's Rights

When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the 2019 World Cup, they paraded down the streets of New York City while people tossed confetti to celebrate. This type of ticker-tape parade has been happening for over a hundred years, but this particular event was especially significant for women in America. Listen to find out what made this parade both traditional and unique.

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Current Event June 6, 2019

Women in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Gender Sports

The Women in Baseball section of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY has recently acquired some new members. Corrine Mullane and her daughter Molly Mullane-Cavagnaro are the first ever mother-daughter duo enshrined in the library. The women are honored in the Hall of Fame because of their continued service as “Ball Dudettes” for the San Francisco Giants. Listen to hear about how Corrine got started and how the mother-daughter duo made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Current Event May 31, 2019

Debate: Should High Testosterone Disqualify Female Athletes?

Race Gender Sports

Caster Semenya, who has dominated in the 800-meter dash for the last few years has received difficult news about her career. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided that women like her with naturally high levels of testosterone cannot compete in certain track and field events unless they medically reduce those levels. Listen to the story to hear more about this case and debate: Should naturally high levels of testosterone disqualify female athletes?

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Current Event May 16, 2019

Girls in Baseball

Culture Gender Sports

Baseball is arguably the oldest professional sport in the U.S. Though the sport has been around for a while, women have never played baseball in the major leagues. Advocates for girls in baseball say there is no inherent reason why women should not play baseball, but rather that societal norms are behind their absence at the highest level of the game. Listen to this story to learn about Jackie Mitchell, the woman who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and to hear about the prospects for girls in baseball.

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Current Event April 17, 2019

Running a Marathon Blind

Health Animals Sports Elementary

A blind runner recently completed the New York City Half Marathon with his guide dogs. He has run many marathons with human guides, but completing this race was an important accomplishment for all involved. Listen to this story to learn about this courageous runner and his helpful dogs and find out what he hopes to do next.

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Current Event April 12, 2019

Debate: Should women's soccer players get equal pay?

Culture Gender Sports Equality

The U.S. women’s national soccer team, which is the number one ranked team in the world, has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation because the players on the women’s team are paid less than their counterparts on the U.S. men’s national team. Opponents argue that comparing the two national teams is not really possible because of differences between men’s and women’s soccer internationally. Listen to this story to hear more about the details of the case and Debate: Should U.S. national soccer team players all get equal pay?

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Current Event April 9, 2019

The Last Baseball Glove Factory in America

Culture Sports KERA

In a small town in Texas, near cattle pastures and crop fields, is the Nokona baseball glove factory. The family-owned business is now the only baseball glove manufacturer left in the U.S. While Nokona gloves are not as well known as some other major brands, Nokona does have a respected and established position in the youth baseball market. Listen to hear more about the last baseball glove factory in the United States of America.

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