I call Christmas a time of perspective. It's a great opportunity to step back and evaluate what's good in life. What does this have to do with sports and reading? I know nobody comes to Jockbrarian for a sermon, but they may come looking for a book that helps them gain perspective. While emotion may come from a sporting contest itself, there is a distinct kinship to the human experience that comes from watching high profile sports figures deal with adversity--especially when they do so with the beautiful grace in which they perform their craft. I guess I would like to offer you three newer titles that might make for thoughtful reading over the holiday break--or even make a nice last minute gift for someone who values introspective books.
Kelly Tough: Live Courageously Through Faith by Erin Kelly
Kelly Tough is a story of love and hope: a love between a father and a daughter—Buffalo Bill’s former quarterback, Jim Kelly, and his oldest daughter Erin. Erin shares a deeply personal account of the love a family can have for each other during the darkest times. Indeed, if ever there was a story of faith, hope, and love, this story would be it. Away from football, Kelly's life is a tale that will literally rip your heart out. I was on a vacation in Florida when Jim Kelly was being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No amount of sunshine and beach could keep me from watching the emotional weekend unfold for him. It's a story I never really knew, but am a better man because I know it.
Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott
If you want an honest look about what it is like to fight cancer, this book doesn't hold back. Scott, a former commentator for ESPN tells about his harrowing journey through the disease that eventually claims his life. Though he struggles through painful chemotherapy and surgeries, he maintains the focus to workout and fight for each day. His battle is motivated by his children and the desire to show them what courage determination look like. One of the best books of the year, without a doubt.
Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong
Lopez Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. As a child, staying alive seemed a hopeless cause for Lomong as he was ripped from his family to become a refugee boy soldier. Through faith and some incredible good fortune, he manages to escape and eventually end up with an American family, where his running talent is discovered. The first part of this book describing his time in the refugee camp are emotional, but there are bits of humor as he spends time adapting to the American culture. Despite his past, Lomong is inspiring to watch as a performer, and more inspiring as he takes on his mission to give back and help other refugee children.
I hope you have a very Happy Holiday! And remember, you are only as impressive to your inlaws as the book you are currently reading--so talk smart and carry a big book!!