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After the Glory Fades
Competitive sports give athletes structure, community and purpose. And an outlet for their passion. So what happens when, because of injury or age, they can’t play anymore? Does the competitive drive find a new home? Or get slowly extinguished? Jody talks to aging expert Tracey Gendron, Olympian, turned chef, Dawn Burrell, and soccer legend Carli Lloyd about finding grace and direction when closing a chapter. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
The Past and Future of Gender in Sport
We often take gender for granted as a “natural” division in sports and life. But did you know the first decisions to divide sports into “male” and “female” categories were in many ways the result of women beating men in mixed gender competitions? In this episode, Jody chats with Veronica Ivy, a trans world cycling champion, about the pitfalls of dividing sports by gender. Then he hears from Laura Pappano, a journalist and researcher about the fascinating (and modern) history of gender segregation in sports. Finally, Jody returns to his Ultimate Frisbee roots as he and Raha Mozaffari, a two-time National Champion in the Mixed Division, talk about what we could learn from sports if we stopped using gender as the primary way to categorize athletes -- and explored all the other ways we could create games that are safe, fair, and competitive. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
How to Survive a Losing Team
No one loves to lose. But even if you are a GOAT on a great AND lucky team (and sure, we can debate about who the GOAT is – drop us a line at email@example.com), no one wins every time. So how do people who face loss after loss keep fighting to win? Jody speaks with Nikky McCray, a retired WNBA player who played on three All-Star teams and now coaches at Rutgers, about the secrets to perseverance. Then he chats with psychologist and neuroscientist Ian Robertson to discuss what losing can teach us about winning. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
How to Make a Fan: From F1 to Banana Ball
If a sport isn't thinking about how to entertain its fans, it usually doesn't last long. And with so much competing for our attention, what makes someone follow a specific team, or show up to a game? In this episode we look to two exploding fanbases: Formula One Racing and … Banana Ball? Jody speaks with Jessica Smetana and Spencer Hall, the co-hosts of the Formula One podcast “DNF”, about what Netflix has to do with F1’s success. Then Jody talks to Jesse Cole, the owner of The Savannah Bananas, a baseball team that’s selling out games and gaining millions of followers on TikTok – at the same time Major League Baseball continues to bleed fans. Jessie’s approach to cultivating a “fans first, entertainment always” mentality is literally reinventing how we play and think about sports. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
The Hidden World of Stadium Deals
Stadiums are not just a place for sports fans to cheer on the home team – they’re also concert venues, convention centers and even serve as makeshift shelters in emergencies. Stadiums are important. So why does it seem that instead of enjoying them, cities end up dealing with the mess (and the bill) that dealmakers leave behind? In this episode, Jody talks to David Samson, the former president of the Miami Marlins, who was in charge of one of the “worst stadium deals in history” about what really happens in a negotiation room. Then Jody speaks to sports economist Andrew Zimbalist and urban planner Mirela Fiori to ask directly if we can build stadiums better – and if so – how?! Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
The Truth About "The Zone"
When it comes to sports, is there anything more evocative –and elusive– than “the zone”? That mythical place an athlete goes to where focus is laser-sharp, nothing can go wrong, and time just vanishes. In this episode, Jody talks to NBA All-Star great Steph Curry about what “the zone” means for him – and whether or not it even exists. Then Jody works on his mental game with sports psychologist Dr. Nicole Detling, and follows Olympic biathlete Clare Egan in a step-by-step guide on how to foster mental resilience after failure. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
What does it take to be a sports hot-take artist? And, could Jody do it? Sports debate shows aren’t always about facts – they’re about getting people to watch by any means necessary. And these shows pretty much wrote the playbook on how we debate across the media. In this episode, Jody gets coached on how to argue like a sportscaster from sports television host and friend Katie Nolan, and dives into the history of “televised antagonism” with journalist James Andrew Miller. Listen to hear how sports debate shows changed the media landscape forever. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
Something in the Water: Where Do Great Athletes Come From?
“Muck City”, Florida. Kinston, North Carolina. The courts of New York City in the 80s and 90s. These places share one unique trait: they found a way to produce a particular kind of great athlete, over and over. Is there something in the water – or is it something else? In our first episode, Jody talks to sports journalist Bomani Jones and Olympic table tennis coach Rajul Sheth about talent “hotbeds”, the role opportunity and access play in crafting success and the important distinction between having talent and achieving greatness. Transcripts for Good Sport are available at go.ted.com/GStranscripts
Welcome to Good Sport
What can sports teach us about life – and each other? Hosted by veteran sports producer Jody Avirgan, Good Sport brings you invigorating stories from on and off the field to argue that sports are as powerful and compelling a lens as any to understand the world – from what happens when you age out of a sport, to how we do or don't nurture talent, to analyzing how sports arguments have become the mode for all arguments. Good Sport kicks off February 8th.
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