Only a Game-logo

Only a Game


An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.

An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.


Boston, MA





An award-winning weekly sports magazine hosted by veteran NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.




Boston, MA 02215 617-353-1860


Div. I Player With Autism, XFL Running Back, Presidential Baseball Collector

When Anthony Ianni joined the Michigan State basketball team, he kept his autism diagnosis a secret from his teammates — including from star Draymond Green. This week on Only A Game, the argument that led to understanding. Plus, we share the story of Darius Victor's journey from the Ivory Coast to Maryland to the XFL. And we re-share — and get an update on — one of our favorite stories: about the man who collects signatures from world leaders ... on baseballs. Join us!


The Flying Fathers, Ashlee Yates Takes The Stage, Astros Scandal

This week on Only A Game, the Flying Fathers, a team featuring a former NHL player, two horses that played goalie, seven frozen toes ... and a bunch of hockey-playing priests. Also, Ashlee Yates' life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with epilepsy. But her health struggles ultimately led her to stand-up comedy — and to telling jokes about her husband, San Diego Padres pitcher Kirby Yates. Plus the Astros say "sorry, not sorry" for their sign-stealing scandal. Join us!


Sports And The Golden Age Of Hollywood

The Oscars are Sunday night, and we wanted to get in on the fun. So this week on Only A Game, three sports stories with a Hollywood connection. First, the story of the Universal Pictures basketball team, which went to the Olympics — with a little help from Frankenstein. Also, swimmer-turned-movie star Esther Williams and a decades-long game of "exceedingly low cunning and vile stealth." Also, how Major League Baseball's first $100,000 bonus baby helped shape modern baseball. Join us!


Kobe Bryant, Jai Alai, College Football Player Grad Rates, Super Bowl Haiku XXVI

Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, died in a helicopter crash. This week on Only A Game, how players, fans and sexual assault survivors are responding. We'll also revisit our 2015 conversation with Kobe's "muse": his former English teacher. Also, the story of a Basque expat who found a home in Mexico City with the help of ... jai alai. And with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, a look at the connection between college football graduation rates and the lack of NFL head...


Anna Horford, Girl Quarterback In Sicily, Baseball Brit

After NBA All-Star Al Horford joined the Boston Celtics, a different Horford became a fan favorite. This week on Only A Game, the ongoing love story between Al's younger sister Anna and the Celtics community. Also, a former high school quarterback remembers her experience as the only girl on the gridiron in Sicily. And what a British baseball fan learned on his mission to attend 162 baseball games and visit all 30 MLB ballparks in a single season. Join us!


Davidson Athletics' Math Edge, Classic Arcade Museum, Girls' Wrestling Grows

The Davidson College men's basketball program is best known for producing NBA superstar Stephen Curry. This week on Only A Game, another story out of Davidson ... about the math-minded students who are helping the athletic department. Also, the story of the American Classic Arcade Museum. And while participation in most high school sports is down, there are a few exceptions ... like girls' wrestling. Join us!


ESPN Editor-Turned-Priest, College Football's Growth, Unified Korean Hockey

In early 2012, New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin became a global star. This week on Only A Game, the story of an ESPN editor whose headline about Lin sparked outrage — and ultimately helped prepare him for the priesthood. Also, high school football numbers are down, but the sport is actually growing at the college level. What gives? And members of the unified Korean national women's ice hockey team share the inside story from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Join us!


Clemson Fan And 'The Hat,' Indigenous Runner Rosalie Fish, WNBA's Tamika Catchings

Aaron Ritz was 11 years old when he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. This week on Only A Game, how Clemson football fans — especially super fan Dean "The Hat" Cox — supported Aaron. Also, the story of Rosalie Fish, a college student who runs on behalf of missing and murdered Indigenous women. And Tamika Catchings, one of the best players in WNBA history, on living with a hearing impairment. Join us!


Bob Cousy's Letter To Bill Russell And Other 'Teammates' Stories

This week on Only A Game, we revisit some of our favorite stories of teammates: Bob Cousy explains why he regretted not being closer to Bill Russell off the floor. Also, the story of Nicki Collen, who after years as her husband's assistant coach became the WNBA Coach of the Year. And a radio producer's reunion with his high school lacrosse teammate, who was also his nemesis. Join us!


A Golfer's Secret, Athlete Of The Decade, A Dangerous Horse Race

During his career as a professional golfer, George Archer won 13 PGA Tours events, including the 1969 Masters Tournament. This week on Only A Game, the story of Archer's dyslexia, which he and his family kept secret for his entire life. Also, Jason Gay looks backs on the decade and reminds us of the athlete who must not be forgotten: the Monday Night Football Cat. And the story of Lata Brandisová, who took on Nazi SS riders in one of the world's toughest horse races. Join us!


Peking To Paris Challenge, NFL Magician Jon Dorenbos, WADA Bans Russia

In 1907, Auguste Pons tried and failed the 10,000-mile race from Peking to Paris on a trike. This week on Only A Game, Anton Gonnissen's attempt to finish what was started 112 years ago. Also, the story of former NFL player Jon Dorenbos, who found solace in magic and football after a family tragedy. And, in response to the World Anti-Doping Agency's latest ban on Russia, the country's boxers are threatening to boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Join us!


Michigan Football Injury, Ping Pong At 73, Pro Hoops At 50

Grant Newsome was starting at left tackle on the University of Michigan football team. Then, a single play nearly cost him his leg. Also this week on Only A Game, writer Laura Arenschield tells the story of her father, who became a competitive ping pong player in his 70s. And how Nancy Lieberman made it onto a WNBA game ... at 50 years old. Join us!


Thanksgiving Leftovers

In a Thanksgiving tradition that dates not quite as far back as the pilgrims, we've got tupperwares full of leftovers — tales that didn't fit into other episodes — this week on Only A Game. First, the story of Marcellus Wiley "stealing" a pair of shoes from his childhood idol's locker. Plus, a look at the friendship between running back Marshawn Lynch and kicker Stephen Hauschka — both in real life and in cartoon. And a song about Canadian hockey player Eddie Shack that topped Toronto's...


Teddy Roosevelt Vs. Baseball, Worst High School QB Ever, Sid Luckman's Family Secret

Among all presidents in U.S. history, Theodore Roosevelt stands out for his love of sports. But apparently he didn't love baseball. This week on Only A Game, the drastic measures baseball took to woo the president to the ballpark. Also, a journalist reflects on his high school sports career ... and makes the case that he was perhaps the worst high school quarterback ever. And the story of Meyer Luckman — father of Hall of Fame QB Sid Luckman — who was convicted of murder. Join us.


Global Kid Media, Tacko Fall Learns To Swim, Rat City Roller Derby

If you see a 13-year-old reporter with a yellow-tipped mic at a sporting event, it's probably Vedant Gupta. This week on Only A Game, the story of Global Kid Media, and Vedant's plan to become a household name in sports media. Also, the Boston Celtics' 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall decides to learn how to swim. And the story of Rat City Roller Derby, a roller derby league that lost its home due to Seattle's gentrification. Join us!


Running With A Donkey, Lessons From Rowing, #SaveTheCrew

This week on Only A Game, the story of a donkey and a college student who helped each other heal through running. Also, a writer and artist shares her story of finding her place at an indoor rowing studio. And how the city of Columbus came together to #SaveTheCrew. Join us!


Paralympian Podcaster, Early ESPN Experience, Rugby's Origin In Japan

After losing her right leg at the age of 9, Lacey Henderson says she was in "disability denial." This week on Only A Game, how Henderson came to accept her disability, reach the Paralympics — and start a podcast. Also, looking back at a sports columnist's first time watching ESPN. And the real origin of rugby in Japan, which involves a samurai, British warships and an armed cricket match...? Join us!


The NBA's Real Birthday, Fighting Mike Tyson Blindfolded, Running Ultras With One Leg

The NBA says its first game was played Nov. 1, 1946. But history suggests a different date. This week on Only A Game, a look back at the origin of the NBA — and how one of its founding leagues got boxed out. Also, in the midst of a record-setting snowstorm, a Canadian man decided to challenge Mike Tyson ... blindfolded. And the story of elite ultramarathoner Dave Mackey who lost his leg — and then set his sights on returning to the grueling Leadville Race Series. Join us!


Gov. Gavin Newsom, Black Sox Scandal, LeBron Faces Criticism

Gavin Newsom says he would not be the governor of California if not for college sports. So why did he decide to sign a law that challenges the entire NCAA system? Also this week on Only A Game, the story of Boston gambler Joseph "Sport" Sullivan's role in the Black Sox Scandal. And LeBron James is facing criticism for his response to Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey's tweet about Hong Kong. Join us!


White Sox Announcer, A Special Baseball Card, Joe Frazier's Generosity

Jason Benetti grew up with cerebral palsy and with dreams of becoming the White Sox announcer. But as he got older, he gravitated toward radio because he didn't want to be seen. This week on Only A Game, Benetti's path to his dream job. Also, Keith Comstock was tired of doing the same poses for his minor league baseball card, so he decided to take a ball to the crotch. And Joe Frazier wasn't outspoken publicly. But one writer delves into Frazier's quiet acts of kindness. Join us!