A throwback jersey of a book.

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OVER TIME

MY LIFE AS A SPORTSWRITER

The prolific sports commentator returns with an episodic, anecdotal memoir.

Deford (Bliss, Remembered, 2010, etc.) is an amiable travel companion—sometimes sharp, witty, even irreverent (twice he slams big-time college sports for corruption and even for trivializing American education)—but for the most part here he’s on cruise control. Although he takes us back to his school days (he knew in third grade he could write) and high-school sports career (he had one good season in basketball), and writes breezily about acquiring, fairly easily, his editing gig at Sports Illustrated, he offers no real detailed, sequential account of learning his craft. Deford is principally interested in telling stories, a few jokes and a few poignant recollections. He recalls, for example, his very close relationship with Arthur Ashe and how he, John Feinstein and some others covered up Ashe’s AIDS battle until the story finally broke elsewhere. He also remembers a touching moment when Magic Johnson refused to let a press conference end until veteran journalist Jim Murray could ask his question. He relates some stories about sportswriters from earlier generations (Grantland Rice, Ring Lardner) and describes the shift in sportswriting from cheerleading to criticism. He also writes about the diminished state of print journalism (and his own failed paper, The National) and the adjustments he’s had to make—from print to radio to TV to the Internet. Celebrities of all sorts populate the pages—Howard Cosell, Mickey Mantle, Dean Smith, Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, Carl Lewis, Jimmy Connors, Bobby Knight—but only rarely does Deford strip the bark to see what lies beneath.

A throwback jersey of a book.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2015-1

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich...

PERSIMMON WIND

A MARTIAL ARTIST'S JOURNEY IN JAPAN

A reflective and entertaining journey through Japan, as the author seeks to reconnect with his martial arts sensei.

Lowry is a student of koryu (not to be confused with kendo), a style of Japanese classical swordsmanship. Koryu is a medieval art, like Noh and the tea ceremony, a style of combat born on the battlefield–but more importantly, it’s a way to address the world (though an esoteric one: Lowry may well be the only American practicing the art in the United States). Indeed, present-day practitioners refrain from exercising its fatal possibilities. Lowry’s sensei left the U.S. to return to Japan, urging Lowry to follow. Though his life headed in a different direction, he never forgot his training–when the time was ripe, he journeyed to Japan to join his sensei. The narrative revolves around this pivotal decision, and it provides a warm center from which the author expounds on such topics as the glories of a Japanese bath; the evolution of the Samurai caste; the peculiarities of Japanese landscape architecture; the elements of proper sandal-tying; the custom of the premarital shenanigans called yobai; and the teachings of mikkyo Buddhism. He also includes the vital story of the sword–what it reveals about Japanese life and technology, social structure and aesthetic values, etiquette, apprenticeship and the process of education. Lowry’s seriousness lends an earnest cast to the proceedings, but he’s not without a sense of humor–commenting upon his accomplished slurping of noodles, a friend’s wife notes, “He really sucks!”

A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2005

ISBN: 1-890536-10-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

THE RUDY IN YOU

A GUIDE TO BUILDING TEAMWORK, FAIR PLAY, AND GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP FOR YOUNG ATHLETES, PARENTS, AND COACHES

An uplifting guide to sportsmanship. The subtitle says it all.

Using the example of Ruettiger, whose experience as a Notre Dame football walk-on inspired the 1994 film, Rudy, the authors rail against disrespectful behavior in sports, at any level. They argue that kids, parents and coaches are part of a matrix that can either create a joyful youth sports environment, or a nasty stew of overweening pride, gross expectations and antisocial behavior. With an old school bluntness, they plainly state how participants should act: Kids should have a clear sense of what they want to do, develop strategies for achieving their goals, listen and learn, show respect to all, cultivate a strong work ethic, be positive and helpful and trustworthy, and finally, be patient. Parents should be involved, too, but should always "remember to be the adults. Let the kids be kids." This means not projecting your own aspirations onto your children, while encouraging self-esteem and confidence. Coaches must know their sport (even if they are only volunteers), exemplify personal excellence, challenge the kids, earn their trust, be open to feedback and get everyone involved. The authors’ straightforward advice may seem obvious, but Phillips, Leddy and Ruettiger go further, providing solid examples of how to put these principles into practice. And for all the character building, they also appreciate that kids just want to have fun.

A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2005

ISBN: 1-58348-764-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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