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Only A Game


An award-winning weekly sports magazine for the serious sports fan and the steadfast sports avoider


Boston, MA





An award-winning weekly sports magazine for the serious sports fan and the steadfast sports avoider




Boston, MA 02215 617-353-1860


OAG Staff Picks: Peter Sagal, Tup Holmes, Leo Ferris And More

For the very last week of Only A Game, we're bringing back some of our favorites. NPR host Peter Sagal drops by with a story about running and male body image. Also, we revisit the stories of Alfred "Tup" Holmes, who fought to desegregate golf in Atlanta in the 1950s, and Leo Ferris, a basketball pioneer who continues to be snubbed by the Naismith Hall of Fame. Plus, Bill Littlefield returns for one last rhyme, and the OAG staff imagines a World Series apocalypse. Join us!


OAG's Most Memorable: Barkley's Friendship, Syracuse 8, The Carewlands And More

This week we're bringing back some of our most memorable, most requested stories. Reporter Shirley Wang tells the story of her father, Lin Wang, and his friendship with NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. Also, the Syracuse 8 — a group of nine Syracuse football players who boycotted the 1970 season to protest racial discrimination. Plus, the story behind a heart transplant between pro athletes. And who could forget Zippy Chippy, the racehorse who never won a race.


Universal Pictures Basketball, Diving Inside An Iceberg And Running With Sherman

It's Only A Game book club day, as we bring back three listener favorites from three great books. First up, the story of how the Universal Pictures basketball team went to the Olympics — with a little help from Frankenstein. Then, cave diver and underwater filmmaker Jill Heinerth describes her brushes with death as she and her crew became the first-ever to cave dive inside an iceberg. And finally, the story of a donkey and a college student who helped each other heal through running.


Bob Cousy's Regrets, Devo And Chi Chi, Tacko Fall Learns To Swim And More

Bob Cousy and Bill Russell won six NBA championships together on the Boston Celtics. This week on Only A Game, Cousy says he regrets not doing more for his teammate off the court. Also, why the rock band Devo wanted to put golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez on the cover of their first full-length album. Plus, a baseball card collector helps honor a former Major Leaguer and the NBA's Tacko Fall learns to swim.


The Farewell Show: Revisiting Our First Episode, Bill Littlefield Returns, And More

On the last new episode of Only A Game, producer Martin Kessler revisits a childhood meeting with Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra. Also, Doris Kearns Goodwin explains how baseball made her a better historian. And, producer Gary Waleik revisits the very first episode of Only A Game — and the precedent it set for the next 27 years. And Cari Champion and Jemele Hill discuss their time at ESPN and their new show, "Stick to Sports." Plus, Bill Littlefield returns for a conversation with Charlie...


'Torch' George, Running With Diabetes, Story Update

All her life, basketball player Cherelle George was told to tone down her game. This week on Only A Game, how Cherelle found a team that embraced her style, the Harlem Globetrotters. Also, audio producer Nick Andersen started running around the same time he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He shares his story. And we get an update from Jared Wells, a bodybuilder with cystic fibrosis. Join us!


Bonus: Only A Game Live Event

An audio recording of our recent virtual event: "Only A Game Presents: Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy."


A Track Coach's Legacy, Teenage Referee, 'Paddle To The Amazon'

As we enter mid-August and as the end of this program draws nearer, we've been thinking a bit about legacies. How do legacies — particularly in sports — get passed on? This week we're starting with a story about a coaching legacy in women's track that spans three generations of runners. Also, a story about the teenage son of a legendary high school basketball coach who has developed a passion for ... refereeing. And we revisit a 12,000-mile "paddle to the Amazon." Join us!


Andrés Cantor, 'Spinner' Spencer's Life, Ultramarathoning Origins

Announcer Andrés Cantor is famous for his (lengthy) "gol" calls, but there's much more to his life and career. This week on Only A Game, Cantor shares his story of coming to the U.S. as a teenager — and reaching the top of the soccer commentating world. Also, revisiting the deaths of NHL enforcer Brian "Spinner" Spencer and his father. Plus, the story of a man who entered a horse race without a horse ... and invented the sport of trail ultramarathoning. Join us!


Coming Up: Live Virtual Event — Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy

Join us for a live virtual event on August 12 at 6 p.m. ET! We'll delve deeper into our recent special episode on sports and racism.


Swimming While Black, Origin Of Modern Women's Swimwear, 'Sail Like A Girl'

On a recent Sunday, G Wright Muir and her son went to a pool near their Florida home to swim laps. This week on Only A Game, the story of the racism they encountered — and the discrimination Black swimmers face. Also, how the second deadliest day in New York City history and a creative Australian helped make swimming more accessible for women. Plus, do you really have to wait an hour after eating before going in the water? And, the story of the all-women sailing team and the 750-mile ...


MLB All-Star Tells Jokes, Pioneering Sportswriter, Olympians' Mental Health

During his 16-year MLB career, pitcher Ryan Dempster won a World Series and twice reached the MLB All-Star Game. This week on Only A Game, Dempster turns his attention to comedy and late-night TV. Also, Diane K. Shah is believed to be the first female sports writer for a daily paper. She was also once accused of trying to destroy the American family. Plus, when it comes to their mental health, Olympic athletes say they need more help. Join us!


Boxing Coach Fights COVID-19, Ex-Athlete Dreams Education Reform, Exonerated Golf Artist

In a lifetime full of challenges inside and outside the boxing ring, Termite Watkins recently faced his toughest opponent yet: COVID-19. Also this week on Only A Game, former basketball star Kimijah King often felt out of place at her private high school. That experience has informed her current dream: starting a school. And how Valentino Dixon's artwork led to his exoneration after 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Join us.


Origins Of Clay Court Tennis, A Golfer's Secret, Lou Gehrig's Writing

Tickets went on sale this week for the French Open, the only Grand Slam played on clay. This week on Only A Game, the dark tale behind the origin of clay court tennis. Also, why 1969 Masters Tournament champion George Archer and his family kept his undiagnosed dyslexia a secret until after his death. And the recent discovery of long-forgotten newspaper columns written by baseball legend Lou Gehrig. Join us!


Satchel Paige And A Religious Cult, Fritz Pollard, Basketball And NASA

This week on Only A Game, a baseball fan investigates the day his father donned a House of David jersey and caught for the great Satchel Paige. Also, the story of Fritz Pollard, who is credited with being the first African American to play quarterback and coach in the pros. And how Marcie Washington brought lessons from her basketball career to her time as an engineer at NASA. Join us!


Special: Sports, Racism And The Myth Of Meritocracy

Sports are supposed to be the great equalizer. Movies like "Remember The Titans" and "The Blind Side" promote the idea that sports bring everyone together — and offer a path for upward social mobility. But it's not that simple. In a special episode of Only A Game, we investigate the many ways sports actually perpetuate racial inequities in the U.S.


Athletes Fight Racism, Sports Tackle Empty Stadium Problem, And More

Athletes continue to take a leading role in the Black Lives Matter movement. This week on Only A Game, a look at Oklahoma State where players spoke up after football coach Mike Gundy was photographed in an OAN T-shirt. Also, as sports leagues plan their returns, a look back at two attempts to carry on without fans, one involving a giant mural; the other a cell phone app. Plus, we re-air our story on Wyomia Tyus, whose protest at the 1968 Olympics is often overlooked. Join us!


Bonus: A Conversation On Sports, Racism And Police Brutality

Why have most sports teams and leagues stopped short of calling out police brutality? How much hope should we draw from NASCAR's — NASCAR's! — decision to ban the Confederate flag? Could the NFL franchise in Washington D.C. be next? And what's next for Colin Kaepernick?


Hoops Coach Calls Out Colleagues, Sports Leagues' Next Moves, 'Basketball Peaceful Protest'

North Carolina Central men's basketball coach LeVelle Moton recently criticized fellow coaches for not speaking out against police brutality. This week on Only A Game, Moton shares his own experiences with the police. Also, a conversation about what teams and leagues can actually do to combat systemic racism and police violence. And the story of a woman who traveled to Minneapolis with a portable hoop to play basketball with protesters and cops. Join us!


The Black Lives Matter Protests And The Sports Community

Some of the loudest voices condemning racism and police brutality have come from the sports world. This week on Only A Game, Kenneth Shropshire details how and why athletes are taking a leadership role. Plus, we speak with high school football coach DJ Boldin about his family's tragic experience with police violence — and his recent message for his players. Also, a sports writer's open letter to his white friends. And former MLB All-Star Garry Templeton looks back at a moment when he faced...