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Pop Culture Happy Hour On Sports: Introducing 'The Giant Foam Finger'

Oh, <em>shut up</em>, Freddie Mitchell. And what are<em> you</em> smiling about, No. 31?
Doug Pensinger
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Oh, shut up, Freddie Mitchell. And what are you smiling about, No. 31?

We talk a lot about nostalgia on Pop Culture Happy Hour — about the ways entertainment has shaped our youth and placed our memories in perspective — but in doing so, we've mostly discussed movies, TV shows, music, books, board games, that sort of thing. In almost exactly five years of doing the show, we've never really looked back on our sports memories, or even talked about sports much at all beyond the occasional Super Bowl recap or Final Four preview.

We've wanted to do more with sports for a while, and now we're doing just that in a series we're calling The Giant Foam Finger. At various points this summer, we'll examine our most baked-in sports memories — the highs, the lows, the times I've injured myself while attempting to punch the air in celebration (yes, it's happened more than once), and so on.

For our inaugural episode, I sit down with Code Switch blogger Gene Demby to discuss what is, depending on which of us is talking, either an amazing against-all-odds triumph of the human spirit or a soul-crushing debacle that's seared into our worst nightmares. It's a single play in a single 2004 NFL playoff game between Gene's Philadelphia Eagles and my Green Bay Packers, and as I note in the segment, it's warranted its own detailed Wikipedia page under the name "4th And 26."

We'll revisit more memories throughout the summer, and perhaps beyond. But for now, you can click the audio link for our tale of woe/triumph.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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