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'Passion Plays' with Randall Balmer on Monday's Access Utah

Screenshot 2022-10-03 at 11-59-17 Passion Plays Randall Balmer University of North Carolina Press.png
https://uncpress.org

Randall Balmer is a historian and a commentator on religion. He’ll join us on Monday’s Access Utah to discuss his new book Passion Plays: How Religion Shaped Sports in North America. Balmer says he was a late convert to sports talk radio, but he quickly became addicted, just like millions of other devoted American sports fans. As a historian of religion, the more he listened, Balmer couldn't help but wonder how the fervor he heard related to religious practice. Houses of worship once railed against Sabbath-busting sports events, but today most willingly accommodate Super Bowl Sunday. On the other hand, basketball's inventor, James Naismith, was an ardent follower of Muscular Christianity and believed the game would help develop religious character. But today those religious roots are largely forgotten.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.