The U.S. had flagpole sitting a century ago, but the Netherlands has Paalzitten, a sport in which people try to outlast each other sitting on poles. It can get competitive, though finding a crowd to watch people sitting on poles can be tricky. Plus: on National Bird Day, we pay tribute to the shoebill, a large bird that looks a bit like a pelican crossed with a dragon.
Today in 1953, two NHL teams racked up a then-record 204 penalty minutes, in a game that’s officially 60 minutes long. Hockey is a rough sport. Plus a guitarist in Japan can play blues riffs with a cheerful little parakeet on his hand!
It’s The Birthday Of The Jukebox, The Old-School System For On-Demand Music (Cool Weird Awesome 425)
Today in 1889, inventor Louis Glass moved his "nickel-in-a-slot" into a saloon in San Francisco, beginning the age of the jukebox and giving the generations without smartphones and streaming services the chance to push a button and listen to a song. Plus: Chris Nikic has just become the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon.
When World War II put many pro athletes into military service, pro sports leagues had to get creative. That's how on this day in 1943, two pro football teams that normally competed against each other joined forces. Plus: for World Smile Day, we check in on the story of the guy who first designed the smiley face.
44 years ago today, Shavarsh Karapetyan, a finswimming champion in Armenia did something extraordinary, saving at least 20 passengers who were trapped in a trolleybus that had gone into a lake. Has anybody done a biopic about this guy yet? Plus: meet Mieko Nagaoka, who in April 2015 became the first 100-year old swimmer to finish the 1,500 meter freestyle.
We don’t have the Olympic Games right now, but we can still mark a big Olympic moment that happened on this day in 1948: the day Alice Coachman became the first Black woman to win Olympic gold. Plus: a chocolate company and an engineer say they've redesigned the chocolate chip. Is it more efficient? I don't know, but I'll be happy to test it out.
Today is believed to be the birthday of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, perhaps the most legendary pitcher baseball ever saw. Paige was a star for decades, and once pitched three scoreless innings in the major leagues at age 59. Plus: we'll visit the man who earned the world's first degree in ninja studies.
Today at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis tournament was the first day of the longest professional tennis match ever played. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played for more than 11 hours over three days! Plus: since Wimbledon 2020 has been canceled, what are they doing with all those strawberries they usually sell?
This is about the time we were all supposed to be gearing up for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Since that's on hold, let's instead talk about the Inter-Allied Games, which began in Paris on this day in 1919. Plus: if you'd like some fierce sporting competition from this century, try out the American Hedgehog Bowling Association (and don't worry, the hedgehogs aren't bowled down the lanes).
Baseball's opening weekend has been postponed, so for now let's enjoy the tale of how pitcher Keith Comstock managed to turn his baseball card into one where he appears to be hit in a very sensitive place. Plus: salon owner Heidi Oley had to close her shop for the time being, so she’s practicing her skills on her boyfriend and posting daily hairdos on Instagram.