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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.

Henry Hauck / Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City faces a win-or-go-home situation Thursday night in the Major League Soccer playoffs at Houston. It’s the seventh straight year Sporting is in the post-season. To develop its own players, the team is spending millions of dollars through its academy.

But Sporting’s investment hasn’t always paid off as planned.

Matthew Bowden / Wikimedia Commons

Muhammad Aadil left Pakistan at ten years old.

“I wasn’t very big on cricket,” he told KCUR's Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann. “My older brother and my cousins used to play it a lot. I would go over to their house and play it with them, but I’d never played it in an actual field, or played it competitively.”

Sporting Kansas City will have its players back from international duty for its final game of the regular season at Real Salt Lake on Sunday. Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber—the three Sporting players on the U.S. team—faced disappointment after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's grassy lawn has hosted many things through the decades. Picnics, puppet shows, soccer games, wedding photos, badminton tournaments and tai chi, to name a few. 

Coming in late spring of 2018: Nine holes of mini-golf. 

Falco Ermert / Flickr - CC

There was a time when the phrase "armchair quarterback" was a put-down, but the armchair may be exactly where a new breed of competitor will be making a living or earning a scholarship. Victor Wishna explains in this month's 'A Fan's Notes.'

It’s amazing, and silly, how some ’80s movies managed to predict the 21st century.

Patrick Doheny / Flickr -- CC

At many metro parks, you'll see players from around the world playing cricket. We take a closer look at the growing culture of the sport in Kansas City.

Then: a recent article in Time Magazine stated that kids' sports is a $15 billion dollar industry. With the rise of club teams, is the way that kids play sports good for them? Or is it a sacrifice — not only for them, but for the whole family?

Guests:

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."

 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Although Steve Foutch likes to joke he started demolition 10 minutes after he got the keys to Kemper Arena from the city, his company held a formal groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. 

Vicis

The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a championship-caliber start. But their prospects, and the future of football itself, may depend on whether the game can be made safer — for players to play, and for fans to watch with a clear conscience. Commentator Victor Wishna elaborates in the September edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Hey, don’t look now — and it’s only been two games — but the Chiefs are Super Bowl favorites.

Level 5 Motorsports / Wikimedia Commons

Scott Tucker of Leawood goes on trial this week in New York for what has been called one of the nation’s biggest cases of payday-lending fraud.

In recent years, Tucker made a meteoric rise in the world of sports car racing and became one of the most well-known team owners and drivers on the circuit. But on the Kansas City sports scene, Tucker’s racing accomplishments received very little attention, and that’s the way he liked it.

Courtesy Pecos League

The Salina Stockade have a really bad record. 

In fact, a recent article from The Ringer highlighted the team as the worst pro baseball team of 2017. The Kansas team finished its season with 18 wins and 72 losses.

Courtesty of Delray Beach Open

The top five men’s tennis players in the world are at least 30 or older. Twenty-four year old Jack Sock of Overland Park is part of the sport’s next generation hoping to change that.

When the U.S. Open Championships begin today, Sock has big ambitions. But in Kansas City where he digs in, Sock isn’t alone in his efforts.

Jack Sock routinely plays against the world’s best. Earlier this year, Sock faced Roger Federer, the eventual winner at Wimbledon this summer. In three matches against Federer, Sock has yet to beat him. But at the age of 35, Federer rarely loses.

Wikimedia Commons

The definition of an American family is no longer a man and his wife, living in suburbia with their 2.3 kids. Today, we learn about some of the economic forces reshaping families. Then, we explore the history of sandlot baseball in Kansas City, and find out how communities are trying to revive the tradition. Later, we discuss the controversy over Democratic Missouri Sen.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is on the verge of breaking the team’s home run record. Former slugger Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni’s record of 36 home runs in one season has stood since 1985.

But if you consider the Kansas City A’s era, the record is further away — but still within reach. Some die-hard Kansas City fans don’t want that record to fall.

S Group Design

 

The term “fan” first entered the sports lexicon as shorthand for “fanatic” — and it wasn’t meant as a compliment. But as commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” when done responsibly, there’s no shame in getting carried away. It’s all part of the game.

So, how’s everybody’s summer?

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

Just because court filings suggest illegal opioid use is down in Kansas' wealthiest county doesn't mean its residents are unaffected by rising usage nationwide. Today, we'll find out what opiate use looks like in Johnson County. Then, we learn what exactly makes sports fandom such a big deal in Kansas City, whether it's for the Chiefs, the Royals or Sporting KC.

Kansas City Royals

John Schuerholz, the Kansas City Royals general manager when they won the 1985 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame Sunday in Cooperstown, New York, but he finds himself in the peculiar position of not receiving the Royals’ highest honor.

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