3 sports-themed books that educate and inspire
If you’ve been missing watching sports over these last few months, here are a few good sports-minded books that will entertain, educate and inspire.
“Diamond Ruby” by Joseph Wallace combines the excitement and lifestyle of baseball, boxing, and Coney Island, with the realities of the 1918 flu epidemic and life on the streets of New York City.
The main character, 17-year-old Ruby, is based on organized baseball’s first female pitcher, Jackie Mitchell, who struck out Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on only seven pitches in 1931, but who was eventually banned from professional baseball for not being a man.
Ruby loses her family to the epidemic and struggles to raise her two young nieces, earning an income from her baseball skills. She befriends Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth, two characters who come alive in the book, but soon gets caught up in a web of conspiracy and deadly threats from Prohibition rum runners, the Ku Klux Klan, and the gangster underworld.
This book will leave you inspired by Ruby’s perseverance and educated about the 1918 flu.
“Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall is a non-fictional account of an epic adventure in ultra-running. Whether you are a runner or not, you will get a thrill out of McDougall’s great storytelling, magical prose and a truly intriguing tale.
He weaves the story of the isolated Tarahumara Indian tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons – who can run hundreds of miles without rest and injury – with the growing sport of ultra-running. He explores history, culture, and medical explanations to help explain how these runners tap into their freakish ability to run such great distances.
McDougall brings to life unique characters from the tribe and the running world and tells the story of what may be the greatest race ever run as the best ultra-runners enter the canyon to race alongside the Tarahumara.
“Bleachers” by John Grisham captures the essence of a coach’s influence on his players. Unlike the typical Grisham crime stories, “Bleachers” is a tale about football, regrets, relationships, high school, forgiveness and moving forward.
The story takes place over just a few days as the town’s legendary high school football coach Eddie Rake nears death. As former players return to pay their last respects, including the town’s All-American Neely Crenshaw, they struggle to come to terms with their long-standing love/hate relationship with their coach. Rake himself acknowledges his role in the heat stroke death of one of his players as Neely struggles to accept his contentious relationship with his coach.