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Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Bethany College track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill in the Lindsborg, Kansas, school’s cardio room. It doesn’t seem unusual unless you see what he’s doing — running backward.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

UMKC's new chancellor won't start the search for a new athletics director until he sees a "working blueprint for the future," he said Tuesday.

C. Mauli Agrawal issued a statement about the athletics department, which is in transition after athletics director Carla Wilson was reassigned last week to the chancellor's office, where she'll be the senior director of student support services. 

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

With the Kansas City Royals battling the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in Major League Baseball this year, it should come as no surprise that the hometown team's average attendance is headed for its worst result since 2010, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

A blonde woman and a man with dark hair sit at a desk behind microphones.
Kathleen Pointer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A labor lawyer who campaigned for Bernie Sanders and a Leawood-based banking executive hope to unseat U.S Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). 

In the final episode of our three-part series covering Yoder's Democratic challengers, we talked with Brent Welder and Sylvia Williams. They discussed the difficulties of running in a densely red state on platforms that include planks like universal healthcare. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Alfonzo King presided over Kansas City’s public golf courses in the 1960s and 1970s. That was especially true at Swope Park, where he’d regularly play 18 holes with barbeque icon Ollie Gates and civic leader Bruce Watkins.

“A lot of guys used to come down from L.A., Chicago,” the 73-year-old said. “Everybody wanted to come to Kansas City to beat me. I was the drawing card.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Golfers in this week’s U.S. Open will be trying to avoid hitting a ball into the sand. But at courses in Harrisonville, Missouri, or Leonardville, Kansas, finding the sand is equivalent to a day at the beach.

CREDIT DAVID JONES/FLICKR -- CC

Kansas City could see World Cup soccer action in 2026 now that FIFA has officially selected the "United Bid" of Canada, Mexico and the United States to host the event eight years from now.

The FIFA Congress selected the United Bid over a bid from Morocco in a 134-65 vote early Wednesday morning. Kansas City is among 23 cities listed in the bid as candidate cities to host some of the 80 matches that will be played in the three countries over the course of the event.

Photo of Sporting KC fans in the Cauldron section of Children's Mercy Park
ryanknapp / Flickr--Creative Commons

Without the frenzied cheers and boos from the stands, that Major League Soccer match or NBA Final or American League showdown really would be only a game. But sports fans are far from just a madding crowd with a mob mentality. As Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” they—that is, we—contain multitudes.

If you’ve been to even one Sporting KC home game at Children’s Mercy Park, then you’ve seen them, and heard them.

Harpers470 / Creative Commons-Flickr

The NFL now has a rule that requires players to "show respect for the flag and anthem" during pre-game ceremonies. Players aren't required to be on the field for the anthem but if they are, no kneeling or sitting is permitted. They must stand.

The rule, announced last week after a meeting by team owners, sparked an immediate political firestorm. President Trump said he was pleased, but suggested if a player doesn't want to participate, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: What science does (and doesn't) know about medical marijuana.

Missouri and Kansas are edging closer to legalizing medical marijuana under limited circumstances, but what do we really know about its health effects? While state lawmakers debate possible harms or benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, we spoke with a scientist who helped write a major study about the good, bad and unknown health effects of marijuana.

Segment 1: What should we consider when naming a street after Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Kansas City is one of the few cities in the country that doesn't have an MLK Boulevard. A discussion on the movement to rename The Paseo after Martin Luther King, Jr.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

As the Kansas City Royals celebrate the franchise’s 50th year, the team is hoping to rekindle what made them successful early on. And that all started by trading an obscure pitcher named John Gelnar.

Shane Adams / Flcikr - CC

Segment 1: Adidas and KU have been implicated in an FBI investigation of collegiate basketball.

Segment 1: What's up with demolition derbies?

Americans have been intentionally ramming cars into each other, for sport, since the 1950's. Learn about the Midwest's Colosseum and why the old school demo derby may be running out of gas.

  • Frank Morris, NPR correspondent and senior editor, KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 22:46: Yes. Even if you're a Midwesterner, you still have an accent.

The Midwest has a reputation for being a bland, neutral, accent-free place. But experts say that simply is not true.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite some disappointing off-season roster changes and a freak knee injury for veteran catcher Salvador Perez, at least a few Kansas City Royals fans are excited for the 2018 season to get under way. In what has become a tradition, we spent opening day at Kauffman Stadium speaking with everyone from announcers and reporters to chefs and brewers to get a sense for what's new — on the field and off.

Charles Sollars / Flickr - CC

Commentator Victor Wishna attended his first Royals game as a toddler, and he was there in person to witness the final out of game seven of the World Series. But he'd never journeyed to where it all begins: spring training. That changed this week. Victor reports back from Surprise, Arizona, with this travelogue edition of 'A Fan's Notes.'

If, like me, you’ve never been to spring training, it’s quite a trip.

file photo / Sam Zeff KCUR 89.3

March madness has many Kansans filling out their NCAA brackets. Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation that could tap into that market by legalizing sports gambling in the state.

A bill before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee would allow sports betting through the Kansas Lottery. At least one major professional league says it wants some input on the rules, and a cut of the winnings.

Jeon Han / Flickr-CC

This year’s Olympics in PyeongChang are a celebration of winter sports. But for some Kansas Citians with Korean roots, thoughts about the sporting event have been split between cultural pride and political tension.

Dennis Cho, who was born in South Korea and moved to the United States as a young child, said the Olympics are shining a rare spotlight on a place many people in the U.S. don't understand.

Koreanet / Flickr - CC

The nations of the world are gathered once again for the Olympic Games and — wouldn’t you know it? — there still isn’t peace on earth. Yet as commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' in times like these, it really may be the thought that counts.

When the delegations of North and South Korea walked in to Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium this week as one team, was it a big deal or just a big show?

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

About 300 alumni of North Kansas City High School, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles, gathered one last time Thursday night to pack themselves on wooden planks for the Hornets' final girls and boys basketball games at the facility that's been open since 1951.

These days, high school gymnasiums are usually built with retractable bleachers. But when the North Kansas City High School Fieldhouse is torn down and the wooden planked seats removed, the wrecking ball will drop on two giant slabs of staircased concrete.

Courtesy of UMKC Athletics

CSU-Bakersfield men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes emerged from the locker room late last month at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. He was seeking a familiar face, one who gave Ole Miss its first all-African-American starting five, who encouraged him to not listen to naysayers.

He was looking for former UMKC athletic director and basketball coach Lee Hunt, the man who was on the leading edge of race relations in high school and college sports during the Civil Rights Era. Barnes found him, exclaiming, “Coach! It’s good to see you.”

MRHSfan / Flickr - CC

Caroline Fraser's biography of beloved children's author Laura Ingalls Wilder reveals a life that "was harder and grittier" than the one portrayed in the Little House books. Today, Fraser explains how she was able to piece together Laura's life beyond the books, including the often contentious relationship with her daughter, the journalist Rose Wilder Lane.

Clément Bucco-Lechat / Wikimedia Commons

For a town of barely more than 3,400 residents, Norwich, Vermont, produces a lot of Olympians. Today, sports reporter Karen Crouse tells us about the town's mindset and lifestyle that, since 1984, has put an athlete on every U.S. Winter Olympic team except one (and sent two athletes to the summer games for good measure).

Keith Allison / Flickr - CC / Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg / U.S. Marine Corps

Look around any stadium on game day and you’re bound to see more than a few in the crowd — from George Brett to Tony Gonzalez; the old jerseys our favorite players left behind. But All-Stars fade and rising stars soar … out of reach of the payroll — especially in Kansas City. Parting can be such sweet sorrow — well, sometimes. Victor Wishna explains, in this month’s 'A Fan’s Notes.'

We sports fans love our teams — and even when we hate them, we sort of love to hate them. There are ups, there are downs, the relationship continues.

fdecomite / Flickr -- CC

Can marbles come back? Inspired by an exhibit at the National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, we take a look at the history and appeal of the game.

Then: a conversation about I, Tonya, the movie that shines more of a light on Tonya Harding's story. We discuss class, gender, abuse and fame on the ice rink.

Guests:

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The four-lane road that connects Manhattan, Kansas, and Interstate 70 is wider and busier now than it was when Bill Snyder took over as Kansas State’s football coach in 1989. So much so that it’s named after Snyder, who has more than 200 wins at K-State, making him only the sixth person to do that with one football program.

Snyder is 78, the oldest coach in the top division of college football. And while his 26th season with the team ended Tuesday on a high note with a 35-17 win over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl, he says he isn’t sure whether he’ll return next season. And that uncertainty makes K-State fans apprehensive.

Courtesy of USA Shooting

USA Shooting athletes and the organization itself face a complicated situation every time a mass shooting happens. The governing body’s name alone is problematic.

“Guess what happens with our Google search terms or any time that comes up when a USA shooting happens?” USA Shooting communications director Kevin Neuendorf asked rhetorically.  “We’re automatically linked in with that tragedy.”

birgl / Pixabay - CC

Here we are, 10 days ‘til Christmas, halfway through Hanukkah, and maybe you’re still looking for that perfect gift for your favorite sports fan. Don’t worry. 'A Fan’s Notes' commentator Victor Wishna is back to tell you what you he really, really wants.

Well, ‘tis the season, as they say. The most wonderful time of the year, when so many of us look forward to getting what we say we’ve wanted, and I’m not just talking about the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl — go ‘Cats!

Arturo Pardovila III / Wikipedia Commons

Fans know their favorite teams are full of drama, on the field and sometimes off. Players come and players go, but at every game there’s at least one real character whose only job is to be a good sport. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

Who says there’s no good news anymore?

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Raytown School District board quietly approved an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit filed by former Raytown South boys basketball coach Brad Oestreich. Though the financial terms were undisclosed, a source says the settlement didn’t involve any punitive damages. The case was scheduled to go to trial next week.

Before regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 9, the board met behind closed doors to discuss “legal action, causes of action or litigation.” The case dismissal was officially posted on Oct. 31.

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