As I was reading Sports Illustrated about the crazy Michigan vs. Michigan State football last week, a quote caught my eye. After reflecting on having a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown with 10 seconds left that cost their team victory, Michigan special teams coach John Baxter said, "Welcome to the latest episode of Truth is Stranger Than Fiction."
The shocking turn of events is precisely why I love nonfiction sports books. You really can't make this stuff up! You even could go back a year to when my beloved Green Bay Packers choked away a seemingly insurmountable lead in the final 2 minutes to squander a trip to the Super Bowl. I couldn't have found an author of fiction to pen such a tale of horror and cruelty.
Yet seemingly every week there is a story to be told of unsuspecting fate in a sporting contest. I have no problem with fictional sports books, but why would you roam the shelves of fiction when you can find true stories, told with all the passion, grace, and suspense of a novel.
Much of my focus here will be on nonfictional accounts. It's what my readers have gravitated to and what seems to be playing the best for me. My only hope is that I can share some of these great stories with you. If you are a librarian, perhaps you will help a student find a new mentor, or an athlete than inspires them. Maybe you can motivate their season with the season of another team, or give them hope for next year from some who have fought to live another day. If you are just looking for something good to read, there will be no shortage of books here that will make your "must read" list!
As a coach I often try to inspire hope with anecdotes. Most kids like to say, "Ya right, like that will ever happen." It's become a fun part of my job to hand them a nonfiction book and say, "It has! Check this out."
I guess it's one of the perks of being a Jockbrarian!