Monday, July 13, 2015

Best Podcast Ever: The All Star Game

At the conclusion of our bi-weekly "Hour of Power" class, I said "Steve, you are the best partner ever!." A couple of guys heard what I said and repeated it, no fewer than eight times. Best partner EVER—huh Steve? I left the gym to echoes of "ever" (multiple exclamation points implied). They didn't get the joke...

Have you noticed how many people say and write "Best insert your variable here EVER!" High school kids in particular are fond of this phrase. However, if it's the best ever, that leaves little room for improvement or comparison. That's why teenagers say it. #drama.

And I love that 4 SF Giants made the team, to be managed by Bruce Bochy!
All of that being said, on the eve of the Major League Baseball All-Star game, I would like to recommend what must be the best podcast ever. Listen here.

Michaela Murphy, the narrator is also the author and the main character in her story. This jewel was given to me by a former student, Sarah. I will never forget the e-mail I received from her about it. She wrote:

I recently started listening to the podcast "The Moth" again, and it reminded me of you - although I usually prefer fiction, you said that you prefer non-fiction to fiction because the stories are so good that fiction is unnecessary. If you haven't listened to the moth before, it's a recording of open mic nights that occur around the country where people prepare and tell a story. The one I heard last night was about family and baseball, and reminded me strongly of sports and spirituality class (moments of grace, flow, incredible story). 
It's a wonderful story because it takes us back to another time....before cell phones, TSA pre-check, and when it might have been a little safer to take a ride from a stranger (maybe not). It reminds us that when we let people in, instead of closing them out, anything is possible.

Theologically, it speaks to me about the Catholic principle of Communion. That is, as Richard McBrien writes "Our way to God and God's way to us is communal. Even when the divine-human encounter is most personal and individual, it is still communal. We comprise a community of faith." 

Murphy's story is one she can tell because of her aunt, who was a Catholic sister. She traveled to Cleveland, OH for the 1981 All Star Game because in the wake of their father's death, her younger brother finds joy in baseball. They get to Cleveland's Municipal Stadium because of one Roy Firestone, who in turn attends the game because of Michaela and her brother. Perhaps it was the Communion of Saints—which includes her dad—that it all came to be. Give it a listen and enjoy.

More over "Serial," based on the strong number of responses from my own students, it might just be the best podcast ever. Enjoy tomorrow night's game. Pulling for the NL. 

Photo Credits
Cincinnati
Listen here.

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