While many universities try to win national attention with their sports programs, one school is dominating a lesser-known competitive arena: speech teams. Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., will defend its U.S. title again this weekend at the National Forensic Association tournament in Huntington, W.Va. Jonathan Ahl reports.
JONATHAN AHL, BYLINE: Cecil Blutcher is on stage, practicing his poetry recitation in front of his fellow speech team members.
CECIL BLUTCHER: Now my face is stuck to lamppost, glued to plate-glass windows.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The city of Boston has been through an extraordinary string of challenges this week. The city's famous race was bombed, killing three people, injuring scores of others. The city was locked down for nearly a full day in order to search for the killers.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Isn't it nice to be able to say time for sports?
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: The country was focused on tragedy and mayhem this week, but sports abides, including some remarkable tributes to Boston. And the NBA playoffs begin today and run until, I don't know, I think December. Can anyone beat the Heat? For now we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
And of course last night, many Bostonians cheered the news that the second suspect in the marathon bombings had been captured. While the backdrop is tragic, residents across the city permitted themselves a moment of celebration. People were also expressing relief that the lockdown of the city was officially over.
NPR's Chris Arnold visited a lockdown party in Boston and filed this report.
People in Boston can speak for themselves. And do. Loudly, bluntly and often with humor that bites.
It's a city that speaks with both its own broad, homebrew, local accent — although no one really pahks thea cah in Havahd Yahd — and dialects from around the world. It is home to some of America's oldest founding families, and fathers, mothers and children who have just arrived from Jamaica, Ireland, Bangladesh and Ghana.
There are people in Boston who dress in pinstripes and tweeds, and tattoos and spiked hair. Sometimes, they are even the same person.
How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?
"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."
People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just have a hard time squaring the man they knew, with the violence in Boston. Sierra Schwartz went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school with the suspect, who's now in custody.
SIERRA SCHWARTZ: The Dzhokhar that I knew at the time was friendly, quiet but not in a - alarming way. He was just - you know, soft-spoken but very - you know, funny, very sweet, wouldn't harm a fly; someone that you would want to talk to.
Tracing the Tsarnaev family roots back to Russia is going to require cooperation between Washington, D.C., and Moscow and of course, as we just heard, this comes at a frosty time in relations between the two countries. NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us. Thanks for being with us.
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.
SIMON: And first, any signs of cooperation so far?
Soon after federal authorities disclosed that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslims of Chechen descent, many American Muslims began bracing for a backlash. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has more.
Back now to our coverage of the tense night and police activity that brought an end to the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Franklin Street in Watertown was the epicenter of that massive search. Police and SWAT teams took over the suburban neighborhood looking for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Keith Glavish lives nearby. He was in his house while the search unfolded. Thanks for being with us.