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The Demise Of Old-Style Demolition Derby

Jul 28, 2015

Americans have been intentionally ramming cars into each other for sport for decades. And at this time of year, fans crowd into county fairs to see battered, souped-up cars bash each other to pieces.

This steel equivalent of blood sport draws a passionate following, and the drivers say it is deeply addicting.

"There's nothing better," says John Green, a demolition derby driver at a recent fair in Franklin County, Kan. "A lot of people say they would do it, but until you get in there and do it you never know the real feeling."

A couple weeks ago, Code Switch blogger Gene Demby and I sat down to reflect on a decade-old sports moment — a single play in a single game — and describe how it affected us as rival fans of the teams involved. In this second episode of the series we're calling The Giant Foam Finger, the two of us tackle a far unwieldier subject: hatred.

A game-winning home run becomes a game loser — and 25 days later, it's turned back into the game-winner.

That alone would warrant an entry in baseball's history books.

But cast it with David and Goliath, include a temper tantrum of epic proportion, and hinge it all on an obscure old rule — and you've got the infamous Pine Tar Game.

That 1983 game between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals is recounted in a new book by New York Daily News sports columnist Filip Bondy.

The Context: Rivalries And Rules

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NCAA Payments; All-Star Slump; And Coaches On Confederate Flags

In the famous Disney movie, a carpenter named Geppetto longed to have a son. He carved a puppet of a boy, and, wouldn't you know it, the wooden Pinocchio magically became a real child. Fantasy games are the Pinocchio of sport, for all who play them become Geppettos. Isn't it the dream of every fan to construct his or her own team, as Geppetto wanted to carve out a son?

When it comes to sports, there seems to be something for everyone.

There are team sports and activities you can do alone. There's exercise that requires equipment, or none at all.

But how much benefit you get from each one depends on a lot of factors, including how much you weigh, how long you play and the intensity of the activity.

William Finnegan is a New Yorker journalist, but his new memoir doesn't focus on the wars or controversies he's covered. It's about surfing.

Finnegan traces his love of surfing back to his childhood, when he used to watch surfers in Ventura, Calif. He remembers being 10 years old, sitting with his family in a diner, watching waves break on the coast.

It seemed "like they were arriving from some celestial workshop ... carved by ocean angels," he writes. "I wanted to be out there, learning to dance on water."

Soccer's world governing body will elect a new president on Feb. 26, 2016, in Zurich. FIFA made the announcement on Twitter on Monday.

If you remember, as a corruption scandal engulfed the upper echelons of FIFA's leadership, the organization's president, Sepp Blatter, announced his resignation in June.

Soccer owns sports nationalism. There are world championships and continental championships in all kinds of sports, but when it comes to countries playing against each other, soccer's tournament is more spectacular than all the others put together. Hey, win the World Cup, baby, you're ticker tape on Broadway.

Marking the first time any women's team has been celebrated in New York's famed Canyon of Heroes, thousands of fans turned out Friday for a parade honoring the U.S. women's soccer team's record third World Cup title.

The ticker-tape parade comes on the heels of another U.S. achievement: a return to the No. 1 spot in FIFA's rankings that were released this morning.

The U.S. women's national team is basking in the glow of the new FIFA World Cup trophy they claimed with an emphatic 5-2 win over Japan on Sunday. Led by Carli Lloyd's three first-half goals, the win touched off celebrations and drew a huge TV audience, according to Fox.

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For the U.S. women's soccer team, three is the magic number. In Vancouver last night, the team won their third soccer World Cup, thanks to three spectacular goals by the U.S. captain. NPR's Shereen Marisol Meraji has the story.

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The U.S. team won the Women's World Cup soccer final 5-2 in a game that brought U.S. fans to their feet, reduced polished sportswriters to all-caps expressions of awe and rewrote FIFA records — and that was just in the first half.

The game began in spectacular fashion: In the first five minutes, captain Carli Lloyd scored two swift goals — the fastest two goals in FIFA history, according to the FIFA Women's World Cup Twitter account.

Just a few minutes later, Lauren Holiday brought the score up to 3-0.

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Sunday's World Cup Is U.S. Women's Chance For Payback

Jul 5, 2015
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