Some adventures you seek out on purpose, and others hunt you down. Producer Alex Blumberg tells this story, about the experience a guy had in China...which started out as first kind of adventure, then quickly turned into the second kind.
Ira with former baseball player Bobby Morris, on leaving baseball.
Ira with This American Life producer Alex Blumberg, about a kind of institutionalized crybabying in pro basketball called "the flop." Alex started to wonder if the story basketball fans tell themselves about the origins of the flop is true, and turned to Tommy Craggs at the sports blog Deadspin.com.
Host Ira Glass talks to Leo Paur, coach of a high school football team in Utah that hasn't won a game in two and ahalf seasons, about how he motivates his team to keep going after so many crushing defeats. Namely: You decide that you're about to turn things around.
This past Christmas a story swept the internet about a football coach at a Christian high school in Texas who inspired his team's fans to root for the opposition: A team from the local juvenile correctional facility. Among the thousands of emails that the coach received in response to his actions, one stood out to him.
Joe Kocur was a hockey enforcer for the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers, back in the heyday of hockey's tough guys. Kocur talks to host Ira Glass about how a good enforcer keeps other players in line.
About fifteen miles from Pearlington, Bay St. Louis and Waveland are other communities struggling to bring themselves back to life.
Ben Karlin talks about how a foreign language can come in handy when it comes to smoothing over potentially ugly misunderstandings. When he was a student in Italy, he signed up to coach basketball in hopes of making friends with some Italians.
Host Ira Glass talks to Bobby Morris about his decision to quit baseball's minor leagues after nine years and pretty good stats all the way.
Ira talks with Shalom Auslander, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew and who made a pivotal break with his faith at a Rangers game. Shalom Auslander is the author of a book of short stories, called Beware of God.
The story of a not-very-tall, not-very-athletic man—Colin Pine—who becomes a minor celebrity in the NBA, as the translator for one of the most famous rookies in basketball history: The first Chinese player ever to go number one in the draft, Yao Ming. Reporter Jesse Hardman tells his story.
You can't do a program about middlemen without a story about business. In this act, we hear from a man who made his living buying low and selling high...incredibly high, sometimes at mark-ups of up to 1,000 percent.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
The story of two amateurs meeting the pros. One is a teenager in New Jersey; the other, our reporter.
Adam Gopnik reads a story from his book Paris to the Moon, about living in Paris with his family and wanting his son to be a bit more American. He tells him a bedtime story about the most American thing he can think of: baseball.
Finding happiness is serious business. At least, for most us, it requires an act of will.
Sometimes criminals return to the scene of their misdeeds—to try to make things right, to try to undo the past. Katie Davis reports on her neighbor Bobby, who returned to the scene where he robbed people and conned people...to coach Little League.
Writer Bill Buford reads from his book Among the Thugs. In it he sets out to try and understand the soccer hooligans who were rioting in ways large and small on a regular basis after soccer matches. It's a remarkable book—in turns funny, and then horrifying.
Professor Glenn Loury from Boston University and John Simpkins on basketball, hockey, and what makes a real black person.
Host Ira Glass with Robert Lundin, who talks about a time in his life when he felt too alive, and how much more sane he feels now, though his life is less exciting.
Jack Hitt tells the story of Charlene Riling, who nearly died, and who explains how life near to death can be better than everyday life.
Pierre, a ten year old who boxes in an amateur team on Chicago's south side, and what Muhammad Ali had to do to psych up to win a fight.
Meema Spadola follows Maritza, a New Yorker who loves to box and has the skill to go pro, but who's not going pro.
Frankie Cruz Junior takes on all contenders at a nightclub in Chicago, and nearly always wins. It's a terrible job that pays badly and has no insurance or other benefits.