Creating Bush League, The Podcast

Earlier this week I published the first podcast I’ve ever worked on.

[11.6.17 Note: this episode was unpublished from the podcast’s feed after new and better content was released. But for posterity, the episode can be listened to using the link below. To hear how our stories have evolved, you can visit our website.]

It shares the stories of Suraj and Sadiq, two members of the Cuyahoga Cricket Club, a recreational adult team based in Cleveland. In the episode they talk about why they love the sport of cricket, some tense game moments and a time in which cricket almost cost a team member their life.

Suraj, Sadiq and the other members of the Cuyahoga Cricket Club

I’ve received an overwhelming positive response to the first episode. But many people have asked for the background on why I created this first episode and what future episodes will be about.

I’ve been interested in making a podcast for awhile. I listen to a lot of them (evidence here and here) and wanted to make my own short audio stories. When I was a kid, my family would take 18 hour roadtrips from Mississippi to our home state of Pennsylvania to visit family. My mom would bring books of audio stories on cassettes to keep me and my brother occupied. I think this is where my love for recorded audio storytelling started.

Another current passion of mine is playing recreational ice hockey. I’ve been playing for four years and have become extremely familair with the Cleveland hockey community.

All smiles the night our team won the league championship

During each season, twice a week I see my teammates giving up their free nights to practice and play a game that doesn’t really matter to anyone except ourselves. No one in our league is paid to play. Most of the time, no one is even in the stands to watch our games. But every practice and game, my teammates are there, trying to get better at an extremely difficult sport. Most have families and children, others have demanding occupations like police officer or firefighter.

Spending so much time together has brought me incredibly close with people I would have otherwise never met. We have a wealth of stories — from tales of battling it out with rivals on the ice, to accounts of guys showing up to games too drunk to play. We’ve also faced scary situations. Last year, one of our players suffered a massive heart attack in the locker room after a game. Luckily we took the necessary steps quickly to revive him, but that is a moment that none of us will ever forget (and likely a future Bush League episode).

Seeing this much passion and dedication in hockey made me want to find it in other amateur sports as well.

I want to find the right people to talk about their sports and explain what brings them back to it, year after year, week after week, day after day. I’m continually finding new sports that I want to feature, but right now my wish list consists of:
Rugby
Ultimate frisbee
Water polo
Curling
Amateur wrestling
Fencing
Rowing sports
Roller Derby
Trampoline dodgeball
Rec league basketball
Lacrosse
Ice hockey

Luckily for me, I live in the incredible sports town of Cleveland, Ohio. While our professional teams have not always found success, there is no shortage of amateur athletes here. I also find that being in the midwest provides us with a great cross section of American sports, from traditional to fringe.

I would like to eventually collect stories from other areas, but for now I am excited to collect my stories mostly from Northeast Ohio.

I’m also fortunate to have the help of a good friend, Mike Krzeminski, for all of the editing, mixing and sound design. Mike is an extremely talented musician and producer who made our first episode sound incredibly professional. Mike is part of the band Everyn whose music was featured in the first episode. We plan on using other artist’s music in future episodes but will retain the song Mythos as part of the show’s intro.

Everyn preparing for a show

I have a few more interviews on tape, and am conducting outreach to get the real story behind other sports and teams. Hoping to continue to hit home runs/half court shots/fours/hucks/bullseyes with each episode.

You can find Bush League on our website or follow us on Facebook.

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