A focused, goal-oriented handbook for young pro-sports hopefuls.

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Dark Secrets

CHOOSING YOUR CHILD'S SPORTS COACH

A competitive runner’s instruction manual for young athletes and their parents.

Internationally ranked runner and professional sports advisor Reid, in her debut, presents an upbeat, thoroughly detailed guide for parents who dream of shepherding their children into the world of professional sports—or who already have a child entering that world. Using charts, photos and inspirational quotes, Reid takes her readers through the basics of body growth, nutrition and training practices. She also provides an insider’s look at the process of developing a varied training regimen, maintaining a positive outlook (she points out that most of the worst obstacles a young athlete may face will be mental, not physical), creating a well-balanced diet, and, as the book’s title indicates, researching and selecting the right coach. As a complement to coach selection, she also provides parents with a knowledgeable guide to the various illegal performance-enhancing substances that haunt the professional sports world; the dangers and side effects of steroids, stimulants, diuretics and others are given a complete rundown. The brief book also provides common-sense instructions for more advanced athletes who face the prospect of hiring professional managers. The book’s tone is optimistic and avowedly Christian throughout (many section headings are biblical quotations), and its focus is highly specialized: Reid admits that her book was “written to encourage you as parents in how to support and guide your upcoming superstar athletes,” and the book shows little interest in young athletes who don’t aspire to “an Olympic or a professional career.” Some parents may object to Reid’s assertion that “without competition, there wouldn’t be sports,” or her declaration that “winning is about an athlete asserting superiority in an event—demonstrating it, publicly.” That said, even parents who primarily want their children to enjoy sports, rather than single-mindedly focus on them, will likely find a wealth of useful information in these pages.

A focused, goal-oriented handbook for young pro-sports hopefuls.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 9781481755900

Page Count: 172

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A quiet delight of a book.

GRANDMA GATEWOOD'S WALK

THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

A journalist’s biography of the unassuming but gutsy 67-year-old Ohio grandmother who became the first person to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail three times.

When Emma Gatewood (1887–1983) first decided she would hike the A.T., she told no one what she planned to do—not even her 11 children or 23 grandchildren. Instead, she quietly slipped away from her home in May 1955 and began her walk at the southern terminus of the trail in Georgia. Accomplishing this feat—which she often described as “a good lark”—was enough for her. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Montgomery tells the story of Gatewood’s first hike and those that followed, interweaving the story with the heartbreaking details of her earlier life. He suggests that this woman, who eventually came to be known as “Queen of the Forest,” was far from the eccentric others claimed she was. Instead, Montgomery posits that this celebrated hiker used long-distance walking to help her come to terms with a dark secret. At 18, Gatewood married a man she later discovered had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite. Despite repeated beatings over 30 years, she remained with him until he nearly killed her. Afterward, she lived happily with her children for almost 20 years. Montgomery suggests that an article in National Geographic may have been what first inspired Gatewood to hike the trail. However, as her remarkable trek demonstrated, while the A.T. was as beautiful as the magazine claimed, it was also in sore need of maintenance. Gatewood’s exploits, which would later include walking the Oregon Trail, not only brought national attention to the state of hikers’ trails across a nation obsessed with cars and newly crisscrossed with highways; it also made Americans more aware of the joys of walking and of nature itself.

A quiet delight of a book.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61374-718-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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