Sunday, February 7, 2016

Only A Game and Super Bowl Haiku

It seems that the cross-over audience between NPR listeners and NFL fans would be a pretty small group. Nevertheless, the NPR sports show Only A Game always finds plenty of contributions for their yearly Super Bowl Haiku feature.
I listen to Only A Game almost every week. It's an hour of sports-related news stories, but nearly every show has at least one story well outside of the usual mainstream sports-media fare. Case in point, last month there was a story titled "Cholitas Luchadoras: The Indigenous Women Wrestlers Of Bolivia."Not something you're likely to find in Sports Illustrated or on Sportscenter!

Only A Game also follows some of the more controversial stories in more depth than a lot of other sports media. The obvious example is the concern about concussions and other head trauma which has dogged the NFL, as well as other sports. A quick search on their website shows several pages worth of stories on that topic, ranging back several years and covering football, hockey, soccer, and more. I particularly appreciate the "in their own words" segments which feature former players speaking out about their own experiences.

It's not all serious with Only A Game, though. Host Bill Littlefield tends to wax poetic on a semi-regular basis, and while some of these compositions are serious, most have a humorous bent. Every week he and Charlie Pierce discuss news of the week, almost always with at least one absurd story. Bill's laugh is heard regularly on all but the most serious topics.

And then there's the Super Bowl Haiku. This year is the twenty-second edition, garnering a record number of submissions, so the tradition is going strong. You can listen to them here, and I recommend you do, as it's much more entertaining than just reading each entry. Take a few minutes to check it out before the game, or better yet listen to this week's whole show.

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