You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:
- Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
- Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?
- Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
- Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
(Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
Let me answer this in it’s individual parts. First:
Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?
No. Never read Olympics books, sports books, in general… fiction or non-fiction. If the characters in story were in a sport and they’re playing of the sport was included in the prose, then that is as close to a sports book I’ve gotten. Reading about sports is like watching golf or professional bowling… BOR-ing!
The only caveat to this is, as an 80′s kid and a gymnast (back then), I probably read a Mary Lou Retton book.
The second part is a little more involved:
Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
I used to be a lot more into baseball, a rabid Cubs and Bears fan (if you admit to liking these teams, rabid becomes necessary), but then the pro-baseball players strike in the mid 90′s really made me so miffed that I haven’t seen an MLB game since. I’m starting to miss my Cubbies… I don’t guess it’s Mark Grace, Andre Dawson Jody Davis and Greg Maddux anymore … so I’ll probably start watching it again next year. I’ve been sneaking peeks at the stats section in the paper.
Now, football has been more of my speed lately. Like I said, I used to be a Bears fan, and they are still my favorite NFC team, but my favorite football team now is the COLTS * * Picture me… watching the 2007 Superbowl… rooting for both teams, loving both coaches, and Mr. Manning! Last year they fell a little flat, as often happens with year-after teams. I rooted for the Giants and little Manning this year, for two reasons: It was cool to think of both brothers having a Superbowl ring and the second reason is… they were playing the Pats, and the PATS MUST DIE!!!!!!!!!
But, all of this “love of the game” doesn’t translate into a love of READING ABOUT the game. Yeah, no… I like to watch it, love to play it… but reading about it sucks and bores me to tears. I think I have Friday Night Lightssomewhere, either on Mt. TBR or in the rest of my library.
I do, however, love a lot of the sports movies. Maybe it’s a busy-ness thing. In the movies, the sporting events are in real time and I don’t have to work out the X’es and O’s in my brain (I’m not very good with mental spatial stuff, that’s what’s killing me in The Conquest of Gaul) I’ve watched most of the sports-related movies that’s come out in the last few years with the exception, oddly enough, of Friday Night Lights.
My top five sports movie picks:
WE ARE MARSHALL-I cried, I cheered, I pulled for the whole town and the team… I lusted after Matthew McConaughey Seriously, a phenomenally great movie.
GRIDIRON GANG- The Rock is hot, so I’d watch an instructional video on how to clean your toilet bowl if he was my instructor . Besides The Rock (I was surprised by Xzibit’s acting skillz, too), the story is very inspiring. Based on a true story, Sean (Rock’s character) is a former high school and college football star, who finds himself “babysitting” a bunch of gangbanging teens in the state juvie prison. Frustrated with his inability to make any difference in the lives of those in his care, most of whom are either dead or back in prison within a couple years of parole. He manages to dog at the warden until he can get a football program going in hopes that giving the kids a sense of self-esteem based on their own worth instead of gang identity and hoping to improve their chances of a better life.
We Are the Titans-Denzel Washington is an amazing actor, and Hayden Panettiere (Claire the Cheerleader in NBC’S HEROES) is in this. The story’s a good one, too.
Breaking Away- A story of four townie friends who work together as a cycling team to compete against the rich college students in IU’s Little 500. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie!
Sunset Park and Coach Carter are both really great basketball movies. In both, the coaches teach their players to believe in themselves and expect better in life instead of the hopelessness they see around them.
Others worth mentioning:
Game Plan is an adorable family movie with a great message, Wildcats with Goldie Hawn is hilarious, Major League is an icon from my youth, and I still say a couple of the lines as part of my everyday speech (up Jobu’s butt is an answer I give the kids when they ask where something is instead of looking for it… like I magically know the location of every item that has ever come through our front door!), Kingpin with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid is a bit raunchy and adult and funny as hell, and In a League of Their Own is sweet, funny and “Oops, there goes my bosoms” was the perfect line for Madonna.
I chose not to mention the obvious ones like The Natural and Brian’s Song because I figure everyone knows about them all ready.
The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville (not exactly high brow, but I loved it)
GO FOR GOLD! GO FOR GOLD!!
Filed under: Booking Through Thursday | Tagged: baseball, basketball, Booking Through Thursday, Books, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, cycling, Eli Manning, football, Indianapolis Colts, Johnny Knoxville, movies, New York Giants, Olympics, Patriots SUCK!, Peyton Manning, reading, sports, sports books, sports movies, The Ringer | 8 Comments »