June 18, 2014
Hello sports fans! It’s been a long time.
I know a lot has happened during this period. In fact, it’s still going on right now.
We had the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup championships end in five games each. The World Cup has returned, featuring a plethora of amazing moments. And we haven’t even gotten to the semifinals yet. Let’s also acknowledge that it’s baseball season.
We’ve also had tragedy, with the recent baseball passings of Don Zimmer and Tony Gwynn. Plus, baseball is going through an epidemic of Tommy John surgeries. The latest victim is none other than Orioles C Matt Weiters.
I decided to recap these events to show that I’m still watching, despite my absence from the Update. For the past eight months, I’ve read three influential autobiographies. Each book opened my mind differently. The following books challenged my thinking process in ways I didn’t imagine. It became an unplanned trilogy. I experienced these books in the order I read them. I was challenged philosophically, psychologically and spiritually.
1) Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Phil Jackson
2) As Good As Gold, by Kathryn Bertine
3) The Closer, by Mariano Rivera
These books challenged me in the order presented. They recalled stories of their trials and tribulations while bringing new insight to their journeys to their point.
In Eleven Rings, Jackson discusses his basketball career before becoming president of the New York Knicks. He uses philosophy to strengthen his leadership, all while trying to find the soul of success. Jackson writes so many great quotes, but he truly saved the best for last. I won’t spoil it, but you should read it especially if you’re a basketball fan.
In As Good As Gold, Bertine is a triathlete trying to make the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She tries every way possible, with her trip taking her across the world. She was funded by ESPN as a pet project, but it turns into something more for Bertine. Her writing is top-notch, and she makes you join this roller-coaster ride along with her. You feel for Bertine in both her victories and her losses.
In The Closer, Rivera shatters his mystique and gives readers an in-depth look through his life. He gives his honest opinions on everything from controversy to glory. Rivera also writes how his faith in Christianity helped him throughout his tough times. It’s a personal account, and his writing reveals that.
As I stated earlier, each book challenged me in ways I didn’t think were possible from real-life accounts.
Jackson’s novel gave me a new lease on life and made me think at a philosophical level. The ending alone is enough to change anyone’s way of thinking in life, let alone a sport. I questioned how I could use Jackson’s beliefs in my life.
Bertine’s tale made me relate as an athlete. The psychological trauma would be enough to topple any athlete, but she carried on until there was nothing left. I asked myself if I was strong enough to go through what she did, and I’m not so sure.
Rivera’s journey reminded me about how we put faith in an athlete. He constantly put his faith in God to get through his traumas and troubles. It’s a true account of a religious man whose beliefs still help him in his life today.
Each book challenged me in different ways, and each book is a must-read for any sports fan. Why these three? The best sports stories transcend sports and relate more into life. That is the equivalent of a sports story. Beyond the stats lies the struggle of humanity. Without heart, sports are nothing.
Well, that’s it for today. Remember to check out the Facebook page for the Update. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and keep on reading. Until then, see you next time sports fans.
*Photos taken by me posted on my Twitter account
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