Podcasts to fill the sports void

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has resulted in the mass shutdown of professional and collegiate sports, leaving fans scrambling to adjust to the disruption in the annual sports cycle. While leagues are doing the right thing to minimize the spread of the virus, the suspensions have left fans with a void in their entertainment options. It can be hard to know where to turn for alternatives, but The McGill Tribune has a solution. 

Podcasts are a fantastic way to satisfy the hunger for sports. With a huge boom in the variety of content available, it is easier than ever to find a podcast suited to your specific taste. So, without further ado, here is the Tribune’s guide to sports podcasts. Keep doing what you’re doing, get your earbuds, and get listening.

The Bill Simmons Podcast

In perhaps the most followed sports and culture podcast, former sports columnist Bill Simmons hosts a wide variety of guests including Kevin Durant, Barack Obama, and his friends from college. Simmons’ colloquial, jaunty style makes sports analysis fun, while his wide range of guests helps contextualize seemingly insignificant sports events in the broader cultural sphere. Simmons knows how to rope you in and make you feel like you’re caught up on everything, from the latest NBA trade deadline speculations to Oscar nomination snubs. In addition to his own podcast, Bill Simmons’s company The Ringer hosts nearly a dozen podcasts covering everything from statistical sports analysis to impressively in-depth movie and television lore. 

First Take

Who doesn’t enjoy the constantly spewing fire-hose that is Stephen A. Smith’s opinions on any, and all sports? If you thought his TV presence was over the top, you are in for a treat with his daily podcast episodes. Smith isn’t afraid to share his spicy, albeit sometimes uninformed, takes. He is unabashedly pro-New York and isn’t afraid to argue with his co-hosts Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim. If you’re looking to relieve stress by listening to someone with stress levels that top the charts, this is the show for you.

Only A Game (NPR)

Host Bill Littlefield offers a more nuanced, episodic take on sports. This weekly podcast delves into historical oddities, athletes’ personal lives, and niche sports like pickleball or the stair race up the Empire State Building. The mellow, sophisticated aura of the podcast is more akin to public radio programming like This American Life or the Moth Radio Hour. Pair your Bluetooth, get ready to learn and listen to the soft, warm tones of Bill Littlefield’s voice.

The Real Science of Sport Podcast

Sports is a constantly evolving discipline: With ongoing improvements in technology, dieting, training, and statistics, it is fascinating to see all the work that goes into allowing athletes to perform their best. Sports science professor Ross Tucker does just that in this weekly podcast, breaking down topics as intricate as revolutionary running shoe design technology to the reasons that Eliud Kipchoge was able to break the two hour mark for the marathon. Listening to this podcast not only helps you understand the intricacies of athletics, but also helps you better analyze your own performance in relation to physical ability and mental resilience. 

30 for 30

Conceived in 2009 by ESPN, 30 for 30 has pioneered the sports documentary genre, combining in-depth coverage of athlete profiles with investigative journalism. Their relatively recent audio adaptation is no different, and certainly is not lacking in originality. While an episode is produced only every month or so, it makes up for the infrequent releases with its impressively high quality. Topics include the birth of the Madden NFL video game series and the history of the Yankees-Red Socks Rivalry. 

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