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Poetic Take On Black Boxer Lands Punches With Broad Appeal

Apr 11, 2014

April is National Poetry Month, and Code Switch is celebrating by writing about great poets of color and their poems that address issues of race, culture and ethnicity. We began the series with an invitation to our readers to help us build a collaborative poem.

Ray Hardman

There are many studies out there touting the benefits of yoga, from increasing flexibility and strength, to helping with more debilitating conditions like chronic headaches and pain. More and more children are practicing yoga, and researchers are just beginning to understand how kids can benefit from the ancient discipline. 

By routing Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday night in Nashville, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team won its ninth NCAA championship — which means that coach Geno Auriemma is no longer tied with legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the most titles among women's coaches.

But that's not the only milestone that highlights UConn's place in the upper echelon of college basketball programs. Check this out:

Before Tuesday, only one school had won both the men's and women's Division I basketball titles in the same year.

Dan Malloy Twitter account

It feels a lot like 2004. Both UConn basketball teams are national champions, John Rowland is under investigation, and a Kennedy is in the news! Coming up on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel of reporters and analysts weighs in on the state's relationship with it's flagship university. Governor Dannel Malloy (er - Dan Malloy) is trying to cash in on UConn's success as he runs for re-election.

We also say goodbye to a radio competitor who signed off last week. But we have a feeling that former Governor John Rowland will stay in the news.

Also, several Connecticut restaurants are in trouble for playing music and not paying royalties.

Flickr user Ben Sutherland/Creative Commons

Fans watching major sports championship games in the U.S. sometimes riot afterwards. But unlike the fist fights that happen between fans of opposing teams in Europe, researchers found that U.S. fans riot if their team wins.

In the wake of most tragedies, makeshift memorials fill up with flowers and teddy bears. After the Boston Marathon bombings last April, running shoes became potent symbols in the vast memorial there.

Now, after months in storage at the cavernous City Archives, a group of objects left at the site are in a new exhibition at the Boston Public Library.

Today on the Scramble, we get to spend some time with Frank Rich. Frank wears a lot of hats these days as both editor-at-large at New York Magazine and Executive Producer of VEEP on HBO. We're going to chat with him in both capacities and there is an interesting bridge between the two realms.

Opening day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season started without the world's most famous southpaw, President Obama, throwing out the first pitch at Washington Nationals Park.

The Nationals were in New York City, where they began their season against the New York Mets with a 9-7 win.

Adam Hunger / USA Today/UConn

In a game with huge momentum swings, the UConn men came roaring back to beat No. 4 seed Michigan State 60-54 to advance to their fifth Final Four of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and first under Coach Kevin Ollie (Colin McEnroe called it "incredible vindication" for the former UConn player, who's trying to fill the shoes of legendary coach Jim Calhoun).

Star guard Shabazz Napier scored 25 points while taking physical abuse all game, and the Huskies continued their hot streak at the foul line, converting 18 straight free throws in the second half.

What if William Shakespeare's plays faced off in a tournament, like basketball squads spewing Elizabethan verse? That's the idea behind a bracket that pits 32 of the bard's plays against each another, in a contest arranged by New York's New Victory Theater.

Much like the NCAA basketball tournament that inspired it, the theater has been tallying votes and updating its bracket on its road to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Riot police were deployed in Tuscon last night, after University of Arizona students and fans took to the streets to vent their anger over a 1-point loss in overtime that ended their men's basketball team's hopes of playing for a national championship.

Kentucky came back to beat defending champ Louisville, and Michigan State upset Virginia Friday night, as the NCAA men's basketball championship finalized its Elite Eight lineup.

Those teams were joined by Michigan, which held off a second-half comeback by Tennessee, and Connecticut, which took out Iowa State. Four other schools had already advanced after Thursday's games.

Would March Madness be terribly different if the players were paid?

Probably not. The college basketball tournament might become more professionalized, but it wouldn't look much different from what we're seeing right now.

"I don't see it changing one iota," says ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas.

The numbers are eye-popping:

MLB.com and other news sites are reporting that Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is getting an eight-year contract extension from the team that means he's guaranteed to earn $292 million over the next 10 years if he keeps playing.

Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

Earlier this week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university. That could have implications for other student athletes in private universities nationwide, including local schools like the University of Hartford.

This all started because the football players at Northwestern wanted to form a union so they could have collective bargaining rights and better health coverage.

Kevin Hoffman / UConn/USA TODAY Sports

The UConn men's basketball team is headed to the sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. The seventh-ranked Huskies had their hands full in the first two games of the tournament.

Duke went down the first day, losing to nearly unknown Mercer.

Syracuse was bounced out on Saturday by Dayton — a team that hadn't gone very far in 30 years.

We updated this post with the first shock of the day at 2:35 p.m. ET:

It's one-and-done for the Duke Blue Devils as their men's basketball team was beaten Friday by the Mercer Bears, 78-71, in the Division I men's basketball championship.

Mercer, a No. 14 seed in the Midwest region, was a huge underdog to the No. 3 seed Duke.

The win for Mercer, which has its main campus in Macon, Ga., is by far the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Heading into play, Duke was No. 8 in The Associated Press rankings. Mercer wasn't even among the nation's top 75 teams.

The nation's "first basketball fan" has Michigan State winning it all in this year's NCAA Division I men's basketball championship.

President Obama filled out his brackets for ESPN again this year. The sports network aired the president's pre-recorded appearance earlier today.

Why Michigan State?

More than any other nation, America is awash in teams. There are the pro teams, the college team, the high school team, the fantasy teams.

Well, at a certain point, something has to give — and apparently, the team sport that's given way the most is men's college basketball.

Yes, college hoops has its fleeting moment in the vernal equinox. It's fun. You make out brackets — but it's not like other sports where you're familiar with the principals.

The odds are that somebody in your office or shop is trying to get you to toss a few bucks into the pool and fill out the brackets for this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, which gets underway tonight. Fans of the women's championship might also be after you.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Where is Wofford College? What is a shock of wheat, and what does it have to do with Wichita State's scary mascot? For that matter, what's a Chanticleer?

David Zeuthen / Creative Commons

Before Thomas Hooker founded the Colony of Connecticut, before Europeans even knew this land existed, the indigenous people already lived off the land. But over hundreds of years, the United States of America grew into what it is today, and the indigenous people were only granted small slices of land if they are "recognized" by the federal government.

Most people have heard of the Negro Leagues in baseball and of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the late 1940s — but relatively few people have heard of the Black Fives, the African-American basketball teams that played up until the NBA was integrated in 1950.

An exhibit at the New-York Historical Society aims to rectify that.

It's time to make home plate smaller. I know: That's heresy; that's sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn't in play, it's boring.

The size of home plate was not decreed by God. Back when it was an iron plate — where the name came from — it was, in fact, round. It became rubber and a square, 12 inches to a side, but its present distinctive shape was established in 1900 — a full 17 inches across.

E-Sports Reach Pro-Athletic Status, Fandom — And Money

Mar 2, 2014

Online competitive gaming is increasingly mirroring the world of professional sports. E-sports are attracting hard-working teams that compete for millions of dollars in prize money.

Generally, gamers wage battles with one another using rapid clicks of a computer mouse. "A lot of it comes down to reflexes, but a lot of [it] is strategy," says David Gorman, a sportscaster for the popular e-sport, Dota 2. "It's very much like chess, except it's in real time. Almost like speed chess."

Jim Larrison / Creative Commons

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972  gave women the same rights to educational opportunities as men at every level of schooling.

While the law says that schools must give equal consideration to men and women when deciding who gets admitted to a school, who gets financial aid, and where a student lives while at school, the clause allowing women entrance to sports has long overshadowed the rest. 

Chion Wolf

Four women join us to talk about sports, mostly football. Two of them are sports journalists. A third is a journalist specializing in legal issues, and a fourth is a scientist and engineer.

I'm as excited as anybody else about Jason Collins, but can the NBA really be having its Big Gay Moment when one of its stars from the past frequented gay bars, dyed his hair green and --during his playing days -- wore feather boas and a wedding dress?

The applause was warm and some fans stood Sunday night in Los Angeles when basketball player Jason Collins made history by walking onto the court during an NBA game.

By checking in during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets became the first openly gay man to play for a team in one of the nation's four major professional sports.

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