Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Reviews: The Reason for Sports and Season of Life

Since football was over, opening day hadn't arrived, I was neck deep in UM History and Polity and Biblical Interpretation, I've been finding escape in some sports books when not reading for school.

I recently finished both the Reason for Sports by Ted Kluck and Season of Life by Jeffery Marx. (Working on Ball Four by Jim Bouton and starting The Long Snapper by Jeffery Marx; reviews forthcoming).

In the Reason for Sports, let's say 3 1/2 stars out of 5, Kluck presents a series of essays or longer blog post type writings of his sports experiences and observations about the professional sports ethos. The strong point is his humor and he brings an authenticity and honesty that is refreshing. The theology of sports isn't heavy handed but could probably be more thorough but that is probably intentionally beyond the scope of the book.  A good, quick read for fans of sports, particularly those interested in exploring lightly how Christianity and sports are, and can be, interrelated.

Season of Life was recommended in a booklist by the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding as one of their favorite books. I wouldn't necessarily add it to my favorites of all time but it's pretty close to a must read; say 4 out of 5. The book chronicles the journey of Marx as he re-encounters Balitmore Colt Joe Ehrmann in his later adult years as a pastor and football coach. Marx embeds himself with the Gilman school football team in the fall of 2001 and chronicles the teams' journey as well as his own journey learning about how Joe is investing in helping young guys "become men for others." I would say this is a great, maybe even must read, for all teen guys who are athletes and even anyone who coaches. It presents what is best about participation in sports and transcends sports to what is ultimately more important without demeaning sports for the value it holds. Maybe the reason I only give it 4 out of 5 is because I don't have the option to experience the refreshed relationship with my dad that is held out as vital throughout the book. Sorry if my sitz im leben brings down the impact of the book. I'd say unequivocally, pick it up and read it. Maybe in mid to late August on vacation as we approach high school football season.


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