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Act One: Jersey? Sure.

Gary puts on a tough guy costume, but will it turn him into a tough guy? Ira continues Gary Gulman’s story.

Act One: Aces are Wild

For a generation of baseball fans, when a pitcher suddenly stops being able to perform, it's known as "Steve Blass Disease" — after an all-star pitcher who inexplicably stopped being able to throw strikes. Ira Glass speaks with Steve Blass and others about this phenomenon.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass revisits some interviews done with Penn State students in 2009, long before the sex abuse scandal that's engulfed the football team and led to the resignation of its legendary coach, as well as the university's President. Back in 2009, students said that the best thing about Penn State football is the high moral standard upheld by the team and its coaches.

Act Two: Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 2009

We hear excerpts from our 2009 episode that was recorded at Penn State. Though the focus of that episode was student drinking and partying, we hear how much of the culture of the school is organized around football and how deeply people loved the team and Coach Joe Paterno.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Leo Paur, coach of a high school football team in Utah that hasn't won a game in two and ahalf seasons, about how he motivates his team to keep going after so many crushing defeats. Namely: You decide that you're about to turn things around.

Act Two: Team Spirit In The Sky

This past Christmas a story swept the internet about a football coach at a Christian high school in Texas who inspired his team's fans to root for the opposition: A team from the local juvenile correctional facility. Among the thousands of emails that the coach received in response to his actions, one stood out to him.

Prologue

Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.

Prologue

Samantha Martin trains raccoons to play basketball and rats to bowl. She says that what we want from animals is for them to imitate humans.

Act Five: One More Dream

A Bulls dream from Chicagoan Brett Grossman, and an acoustic guitar cover of Bulls theme music from Chicago musician Rick Karr.

Act Four: Basketball and Commerce

Chicago playwright Beau O'Reilly goes with Ira to the Scottie Pippen Dodge Store.Then, singer/songwriter/playwright Jeff Dorchen on Niketown.

Act Three: The Meaning of Basketball

Chicago playwright David Isaacson, on hating the Bulls.Then, Nancy Updike presents a sound portrait of a Philadelphia woman and her basketball trophies.

Prologue

Samantha Martin trains raccoons to play basketball and rats to bowl. She says that what we want from animals is for them to imitate humans.