Sports fans already know that the games they love are not, at their core, about bats and balls and statistics, and the rest of us are starting to catch on. In this thoroughly charming series from WNYC, reporter Ilya Marritz - who, before this project, had never even seen a game of football - introduces us to the worst team in the Ivy League, Columbia. The school labours under the embarrassing legacy of 'The Streak', a period during the 1980s in which they lost 44 games in a row, and they've not exactly distinguished themselves since; when we meet them, they are halfway to repeating the feat. This season, the school has brought in legendary coach Al Bagnoli in hopes of a turnaround, and there are heavy expectations on both his and the players' shoulders. The podcast unfolds in real time, with each episode tied to that week's game, and we are quickly caught up in the team's tensions and dramas, and in rooting for Columbia to prove their doubters wrong.
The 11-part first season is complete. Episodes run 15-20 minutes, so you can consume the lot in around four hours. Start at Episode 1.
Gateway episodes: Episode 1: The Closest Person You're Gonna Get to a Miracle Worker (17 Sep 2015)