Our second season of The 252 — “sports talk radio as done by academics” — is going to alternate every other week between two formats: our usual three-segment mix of sports news, history, and commentary; and long-form interviews with athletes, coaches, writers, and others who can help us understand the history and politics of sports. Today’s new episode is in the second category.
After announcing the results of our “best sports years” poll from the season premiere — and briefly launching into a Mount Rushmore conversation that had me reacting disproportionately to the presidency of James Madison! — we welcomed Angela Denker to the podcast for what turned out to be a terrific conversation about football, faith, and politics in the Age of Trump.
Angela started her career as a sportswriter before going to seminary. Even after being ordained as a Lutheran pastor, she has continued to write, and this year published her first book: Red State Christians, for which she interviewed Trump-backing Christians around the country. We focused on her chapter on football in Florida, which shared the diverse stories of three evangelical coaches with differing reactions to the Trump presidency. But the conversation ranged from this week’s impeachment inquiry announcement to themes of redemption in religion and sports. (For more on the latter topic, read Angela’s contribution to a sports-themed issue of Word & World.)