How are sports fans supposed to fill our time in this new sports-less world? Obviously there are bigger problems in the world right now, but everyone needs to find ways to keep themselves entertained while we’re taking a step back from socializing. So, if you still need sports to keep yourself entertained, we here in the sports section have compiled a list of some of our favourite sports related books for everyone who’d rather read than re-watch Game of Thrones.
Before the Lights Go Out: A Season Inside a Game on the Brink
By Sean Fitz-Gerald
This book is a personal favourite and I recommend it at every opportunity I get, it’s brilliantly crafted and equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking. Fitz-Gerald manages to paint a moving, funny, but sobering picture of hockey as it exists in Canada today. He examines the culture of the junior hockey leagues that feed directly to the NHL through the eyes of the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. As a team struggling to market the game to a shifting demographic of Canadians, they’re the perfect entry point. Fitz-Gerald is scolding this national pastime while also writing a love letter to his favourite sport. Youth registration rates are falling, children are more likely to buy a basketball than a hockey stick and Before the Lights Go Out is a touching exploration of exactly why a country once known as a hotspot for hockey is slowly falling out of love with the sport on the back of its five dollar bill.
By Fredrik Backman
This is the story of a fictional town in the Swedish wilderness, it’s cold, it’s dark, work is hard to come by, but at least they have hockey. Beartown is a story of an entire town that is rocked by allegations of sexual assault against one of their young talented hockey players. It is told from the perspective of every single resident. There is no shortage of relatable characters and quotable moments. It’s a book for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Everyone I’ve recommended this book to has come away with a different experience and that’s what makes it so good.
My Shot: Balancing It All and Standing Tall
By Elena Delle Donne
This book is pretty average as autobiographies go but Elena Delle Donne’s story is so interesting that this one’s worth a read. The book is marketed towards teen and young adult audiences so it makes for a quick and easy read. The two time WNBA MVP tells her story in her own words. She recounts stories from her childhood, everything from coming to terms with her extraordinary height (she was 6’0” by eighth grade) and caring for her older sister who is physically disabled. It’s short, easy and a good story of a woman who overcame circumstance to be the best in her sports.
The Book of Basketball
By Bill Simmons
I touched on this in Sidelines a couple weeks ago but it really is the perfect blend of basketball history mixed with pop-culture. It is a bit outdated now as it was released in 2009, but still holds up extremely well. Simmons has now started a podcast called ‘The Book of Basketball 2.0’ which attempts to cover all the madness that has happened since the book released — I have yet to listen to it (saving it for a long drive or flight eventually) but if you prefer listening to your books rather than reading, Simmons has got you covered.
The Jordan Rules
By Sam Smith
While it has been a while since I’ve read this, it is one of the quintessential Michael Jordan books out there. Nobody has covered the Bulls longer than Sam Smith, who has done so since 1987, so you’re getting incredible insight throughout the book. The book is specifically about the 1991 Bulls season — the first of six championships — and all the struggles that often go unseen. Smith got a lot of backlash from Bulls players, as he didn’t exactly paint them all in the best light, which makes the book all the more intriguing. Especially with ESPN’s upcoming 10-hour documentary about Jordan and the Bulls’ sixth and final championship, this book is the perfect appetizer before the doc drops.
Getting to Us
Davis details the processes of various college and professional football and basketball coaches (Geno Auriemma, Mike Krzyzewski, Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney to name a few) on how they take a collection of individuals and turn them into a coherent ‘us’. Each chapter looks at the way these coaches have attained greatness — stories that will make you laugh, some may bring you close to tears and others that are simply inspirational. Take note of the four core requirements that Davis has deemed all great coaches must have to get to ‘Us’ — persistence, empathy, authenticity and knowledge.