One of Jared’s oldest friends is about to embark on a trip he may not be able to return home from.
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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. This time, he came to coach little league.
Daniel Alarcón’s dad was obsessed with soccer when he was growing up, but he was only average at soccer. But those who can’t do...find something else to do.
A private basketball coach teaches a young student some things his parents don't agree with. David Kestenbaum has the story.
Cody's parents try to get him to unlearn some of what AJ taught him—and it's difficult.
Wilt Chamberlain - easily one of the best basketball players of all time - was a terrible free throw shooter. Except for one season when he changed technique and scored more free throws in one game than anyone ever has.
Earlier this year, a cheerleader named Lacy T filed a lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders for failing to pay her minimum wage. NFL cheerleaders did the same right after... cheerleaders generally make about $1,500 for the entire season.
For a generation of baseball fans, when a pitcher suddenly stops being able to perform, it's known as "Steve Blass Disease" — after an all-star pitcher who inexplicably stopped being able to throw strikes. Ira Glass speaks with Steve Blass and others about this phenomenon.
Host Ira Glass revisits some interviews done with Penn State students in 2009, long before the sex abuse scandal that's engulfed the football team and led to the resignation of its legendary coach, as well as the university's President. Back in 2009, students said that the best thing about Penn State football is the high moral standard upheld by the team and its coaches.
Sarah Koenig attended last weekend's Penn State game, the last home game of the season, with Michael Winereb and his parents. Weinreb grew up in State College, and has written several widely circulated columns for the website Grantland about his reactions to the recent scandal.
We hear excerpts from our 2009 episode that was recorded at Penn State. Though the focus of that episode was student drinking and partying, we hear how much of the culture of the school is organized around football and how deeply people loved the team and Coach Joe Paterno.
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.