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WNPR News sports coverage brings you a mix of local and statewide news from our reporters as well as national and global news from around the world from NPR.

Matthew Kenwrick (Flickr Creative Commons)

Today, the Traveler’s Championship week kicks off in Connecticut. It was known for years as the Greater Hartford Open...the GHO. It’s always raised lots of money for charities and always attracted thousands of visitors. But on a few occasions in its history, it has almost gone away. The corporate community stepped in once again - with a local title sponsor - and the tournament is expected to mean nearly $30 million to the local economy.

Lenny Baker / Creative Commons

Three stars in their fields sit down for interesting conversation—interior designer Bunny Williams, sports essayist Frank Deford, and flutist Ransom Wilson.

Chion Wolf

Some weeks are inexplicably more scandalous than others.

This week began with a probe into millions of dollars in apparent bribes by Walmart officials in Mexico. And sitting alongside it was the slime spreading across the reputation of the Secret Service as more reports of strippers and club hijinks trickled in from all over the globe.

Five-Time Olympic Archer Giving It One More Shot

Apr 22, 2012
Teresa Iaconi

After five Olympic games, Butch Johnson’s peers hail him as a Superman in the world of archery.

But Johnson is more of a Clark Kent. Tall and broad-shouldered, this resident of Woodstock, Conn. isn’t much of a talker. Nor is he much of a self-promoter.

Over the course of his career, Johnson accumulated 46 national championships. This year, he's shooting to qualify for the Olympics in London, but he made his first Olympic trip in 1992. Since then, he's returned to the games four more times.

New Britain Rock Cats

Apr 10, 2012

Ten years ago, there were three AA-level Minor League Baseball teams in Connecticut. Today, only one remains. The Rock Cats just started its 30th consecutive season of playing in New Britain. Last month, New Britain Double Play, LLC was introduced as the new owners of the franchise led by Josh Solomon and his siblings.

Baseball in the '60s

Apr 10, 2012
Cavalier92 (Flickr Creative Commons)

Baseball is a sport that revels in nostalgia. Get most American men over a certain age talking about the sport - especially in the spring - and you’ll hear about “the good old days” of trips to the ballpark...told in almost poetic terms.

But in the late '60s, as America was changing, so was baseball. It still held its place as the “national pastime” - a daily ritual that could cross racial and economic lines to bring people together - but it was already quickly being surpassed by football in popularity.

Athletes over Fifty

Apr 3, 2012
Providenz

Today's show was the brainchild of producer Betsy Kaplan, but it seems like something I might have thought up, just to deal with some (de)pressing problems in my life. I'm 57. I have arthritis in both knees. One of the magazines I write for wants me to do, this fall, a Gran Fondo, a bike ride of more than 100 miles with a significant elevation change.

I'm literally not sure I can.

But all around me are examples of athletes over 50 doing remarkable things.

Real Life Survival Guide Episode 36

Mar 4, 2012
Kim Grehn

Episode 36 was a bit of a college reunion; joining us my were fellow Hobart grads, New York Times Tech columnist Bob Tedeschi and ESPN producer Steve Petyerak. Rounding out this manly conclave: cohost Duo Dickinson, software engineer Justin Gill, and rugby coach and new media man John Broker.

Chion Wolf

There’s no sports market in the United States quite like Connecticut.

Former lacrosse coach alleges gender discrimination

Jan 13, 2012

Another gender discrimination lawsuit has been filed in Connecticut, the latest in what seems like a string of such cases in the state in recent history. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, rather than suing a university, the plaintiff is seeking damages against a youth sports league.

Dr. Claudia Harris was a head coach at the New Canaan Lacrosse Association for years, and her daughter still plays in the league. She felt like the league was unfairly providing more resources to boys’ lacrosse and not enough for girls.

Flickr Creative Commons, ensceptico

The person with the best take on the death of Christopher Hitchens would have to be Christopher Hitchens.

Here he is:

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."

Courtesy of Joe Cahn

I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow of that tragedy hung over the whole day. My son was with me, and he has a knack for summing things up. "Imagine dying because you decided to go to a football game," he said sadly.

Great American Losers

Oct 11, 2011

It’s one of the most famous baseball radio broadcasts ever: Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges yelling, “The Giants win the pennant.”

Those words made Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca want to throw his radio out the window...he was the pitcher that gave up the blast. It’s been 60 years since the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” and Branca still lives with this legacy.

He has written a new book about that game and coming back from what could have been a crushing blow.

gongus, wfyurasko, andrechinn, Flickr Creative Commons

Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of excess and yahooism that Hank captures perfectly, and, really, here at NPR, we've learned some hard lessons abou tossing people named Williams aside just because they said something stupid on television.

Flickr Creative Commons, 104Muttons

What are we watching when we watch (and cheer about) a college game?

Historian Taylor Branch disputes the notion that we are watching a logical, natural outgrowth of the college's academic identity. If you're a student, are those your fellow students playing football? If you're an alumnus, are those people on the basketball court extensions of what you used to be?

Photo / Jayel Aheram via Creative Commons

WANTED: Point Guard. $70K/yr. Must work weekends. Student-athletes generate billions of revenue for universities and private companies while they earn nothing. Some who’ve been badly hurt don’t get the care and coverage they’d get with workers comp. Others see their scholarship canceled after a year and find themselves on the hook for expensive tuition if they want to go further. Others object the the use of their images on licensed products long after their scholarship expire. Atlantic and Taylor Branch tackled this in a feature last week.

Yesterday two Big East schools, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were accepted into rival league the Atlantic Coast Conference. This has schools scrambling to determine the future of their sports programs, including UConn, which according to some sources is already in discussions with the ACC. Joining us to talk about this shake up is Hartford Courant sports writer Dom Amore.

ElvertBarnes, Flickr Creative Commons

I don't really know how anybody knows this, jut we're told that 19 million people play Fantasy Football and that businesses lose nine billion dollars in productivity to be obsessing about their teams and picks.

We're told that the business end of Fantasy Football -- not the money the players put in the pot but the huge industry of advertising supported sites that feed their obsessions -- is worth somewhere between one and four billion dollars.

Photo by Avinash Kunnath (Flickr)

We talk with Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs about the “resignation” of UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway. He is leaving the post he's had since 2003. Although the athletics program has enjoyed success, Hathaway was criticized for low attendance and fundraising.

The move may indicate new President Susan Herbst's commitment to revamping the school's athletic program. Jacobs praised Herbst's handling of the situation:

Baseball Legends

Jul 19, 2011
Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Today,  a baseball celebration - about heroes and the places where they play.  We’ll talk with the author of a new oral history of Fenway Park; with the organizers of a Hartford Little League trying to stay afloat; and hear a classic public radio documentary about the real homerun champion.

Flickr Creative Commons, peterrieke

Heartbreak is embedded in baseball at a granular level. Football, basketball, boxing, hockey ... these sports can knock the spiritual wind out of you, but not the way baseball can.

There's something about the slow unfolding of the game that mirrors Shakespeare's history plays and the work of the Greek tragedians. Is it a coincidence that the great yearly festival of Greek tragedies was held in late March/early April, which roughly coincides with the start of our baseball crop cycle?

Christine Zenino

There's something Shakesperean about Jim Calhoun. I'm just never sure which play he's in. Henry V? Lear? Richard III?

On Monday night, he was Henry V, leading his troops into battle. "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers," indeed. But since 2008, he has auditioned for other roles. Sometimes exploding like Lear and sometimes appearing to connive like Richard.

Flickr Creative Commons, Murray State

Let me just throw it down right here. Bisons over Huskies. Not that I believe the UConn men will lose to Bucknell in the first round, but I will be rooting for that to happen. I've really had it with the UConn men's program. I'll happily root for the women.

What UConn Huskies and Crows Have in Common

Mar 14, 2011
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/malfet/

A Yale University ecologist has turned to college basketball to explain patterns of biodiversity. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen takes us down the court.

Ecologist Robert Warren is a post-doc at Yale’s environmental school. He says in any natural system you’ll find “a remarkably consistent” pattern:

"No matter what system you're in... jungle, woodland, you get a few very common species and lots of uncommon. And this is really intriguing for ecologists because there are very few patterns that we see repeatedly that are kind of universal.”

Long Distance

Feb 24, 2011
creative commons, jonwick04

A new edition of a classic McKibben book about what it takes to be a world-class athlete and where the true meaning of endurance can be found.

At 37, the celebrated writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben took a break from the life of the mind to put himself to the ultimate test: devoting a year to train as a competitive cross-country skier. Consulting with personal trainers, coaches, and doctors at the US Olympic Center, he followed the rigorous training regimen of a world-class athlete.

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