Manly podcasts for a brave new world

E27: High School Sports and Communities with Jarrett Van Meter

Kentucky High School Sports
13 Jun

E27: High School Sports and Communities with Jarrett Van Meter

Kentucky High School Sports
Kentucky boy’s high school Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena.

This week we talk high school sports with journalist and author Jarrett Van Meter. Jarrett’s book, How Sweet It Is: One State. One Dream. One Championship, is about three high school basketball teams and their dreams of going to the Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena.

One of the unique things that makes Kentucky synonymous with basketball, is continuing the tradition of having only one high school class for basketball. This makes the championship accessible to every team in the 120 counties in the state. The state is broken into 16 regions and the winner of each region goes on to play in the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena. One would assume, the larger schools in Louisville and Lexington would have a distinctive advantage, but more often than not, an underdog shocks the state and takes home the title. It’s those unexpected champions that will always be remembered in the communities the reside.

Besides the Sweet 16 and Jarrett’s book, we also dive into young athletes and the recovery they need to play at their peak during a grueling tournament. We then go into the socioeconomics of Eastern Kentucky and how sports bonds struggling communities there. Also, we talk how these counties are surviving after losing most of its high paying coal jobs. Because of the loss of jobs and the rise of pill mills, Eastern Kentucky suffers from one of the highest rates of opiate addiction in the country. We try to make sense of it and discuss how pharmaceutical companies hook desperate citizens on their brand of pain killers.

We end this episode, transitioning back to sports. We discuss college club teams and the appeal to, not just sports fans, but students ready to party and have a good time. We end the episode talking about our experiences at great college venues and where we would like to see games live.


How Sweet It Is: One State. One Dream. One Championship

High School Sports

Kentucky High School Basketball

Sweet 16

Athletic Recovery

Socioeconomics of Eastern Kentucky

Coal Mining

Prescription Opiate Drugs

Pill Mills

College Club Sports


Vermont University Football

Allen Field House

The Pit


Jarrett’s Site:

Jarrett’s Twitter:

Gary’s Site:


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