Can’t beat a good sports bio

By Mark Carpenter – 

Everyone loves to spend some down time in the summer reading a good book, preferably while sitting on a beach somewhere. I am not sure I remember what down time is, but I find that I don’t really have the time to sit down and read a book, but since I am in the car so much, the wonder of audio books has saved me. Thanks to the local public library, I can now listen to the books that I don’t have the time to sit down and read, and may I toss in at this point, that the reason that I am a solid writer comes from the fact that I am a solid reader. The two go hand in hand, a fact that every school curriculum should pay heed to.
My reading interest are a little varied, but usually fall under three categories- history, Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, and James Patterson type mysteries, and by far my favorite, books about sports. Any books about sports teams and their particular season are always on my list, and there is nothing that can beat a well-written sports biography or autobiography.
With David McCullough’s “1776” tossed in, the last three sports bios I have listened to were from former Atlanta Brave Chipper Jones, former Red and Cub David Ross, and at the moment, former Yankee Jorge Posada (I seem to be on a baseball kick). I love reading the inside stories of what goes on in the clubhouse and on the field, such as Jones being very up front about how the temptations on the road broke up his first marriage, or Ross hinting that he wasn’t a big fan of Dusty Baker. In Posada’s case, it is his story of how he handled his son’s birth defect,his memories of 9-11, or how great a teammate Derek Jeter was.
My reading habits began at a young age, encouraged heavily by my parents, who made sure that I had plenty of reading material available, 99% of it sports related. The two Cincinnati papers every day, where I dissected every box score, the Sporting News and every sports guide they published every year, and any book I ever wanted, thanks to baby shoes and the weekly trips to Higginsport of the Bookmobile.
In my younger days, some of my favorite titles included “Walt Frazier” (my favorite basketball player at the time), “First Down, Lifetime to Go” by Roger Staubach, “Catch You Later” by Johnny Bench, “The George Foster Story” and “A Life in Baseball” by Joe Morgan (no explanations needed), and “Third Base is My Home” by Brooks Robinson. There is even a biography on my shelf titled “Trump”, it’s not what you think. Anyone recall a movie based on another in my collection, “Brian Piccolo: A Short Season?”
How about “Maravich” or “Shooting Star”” Anyone remember Bevo Francis? There’s “Me and My Dad” by Paul O’Neill, or one of the best I have ever read from one of my favorites, “Wins, Losses, and Lesson” by Lou Holtz. And of course, you can find a book on my shelf with the intriguing title of “Inside Mayberry”.
Life tends to get in the way sometimes and it has certainly gotten in the way of my reading habits. I envision the day in the future when I have time to sit back on my front porch and pull out a good bio to read. I’ll have the sweet tea handy and if I last that long, maybe some grandkids distracting me. You never know.