Amari Cooper Gained a New Fan

AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!

Oh my god. I can’t stop saying that stupid phrase on here! Haha!

But the new fan is me. And I know what you’re thinking. I do. Who the hell is Amari Cooper? He’s an NFL player. But I’m not a new fan of his because of his on-field abilities. It’s because of something completely unrelated to football.

Recently he had a pickup game of basketball with some of his teammates. There was a friendly wager on the game. If one team.lost they’d have to wear clothes from the opposing captain’s clothing line for a week. If the other team lost they’d have to read books from Amari Cooper’s reading list. Cooper’s team won and he immediately began passing out books!

I think you may be wondering which books happened to be on the list, which is understandable. But that’s not the correct line of thinking! Does it matter what’s on the list? Really. Does it? I don’t think it does. He’s encouraging his teammates to take an interest in books. That’s what I believe is most important here.

For the record, I glanced at his reading list. It’s full of books discussing a wide range of topics. Nonfiction and fiction.

Bravo, Amari. I can’t root for any player on the field against the Texans. But the rest of the season I’m a fan of yours.

In Defense of Books

Some things are said much too often.

“Books aren’t what they used to be.” “Books are boring.” “I’d rather do any thing other than read.”

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that books and reading aren’t for everyone. Much the same as NOTHING is for everyone. But in recent years I feel like books have been given this odd labeling. 

Cable TV. Smartphones. Blockbuster movies. Social media. All things vying for our attention right alongside books. But since when is variety and choice a bad thing?

The first thing I usually tell new acquaintances is that I’m a die hard Houston sports fan. I could move to Tokyo and that wouldn’t change. It’s simply a part of who I am. The second thing I mention is how much I love books. I’ve gotten a lot of “Really?” responses because I guess people don’t think those two can coexist within a single being.

Do you see my point here? People find it surprising that I can be obsessed with baseball and also with The Hunger Games. But so what? This is the same thought I have when I hear someone speak negatively about books. SO WHAT? I won’t suddenly hate books because someone else doesn’t find them important.

Libraries and bookstores are the printed versions of the internet. Knowledge and stories everywhere. Bound in BOOKS. Some may not believe in the importance of books, and that’s okay. But there’s nothing wrong with filling them in on how important they are to you.

So fill me in! What makes books so important to you?

It’s Super Sunday

The eyes of the sports world shine on Houston today. No annual event can attract the number of eyeballs this game will, though with ratings declining this year could be a bit down.

I know many of you don’t care for sports but I also know this game isn’t really about sports fans. People watch even when they have no idea which teams are playing or who is favored.

I’ll take the Pats. Because I’ve learned that you simply don’t pick against them in this game when Eli isn’t on the other side. Who ya got?

Also, I’ve already seen several commercials I thoroughly enjoyed.

2017 Reading Challenge: Game of Shadows

I know what you’re thinking. You have never heard of this book. Not surprising. It’s about a company that provided elite athletes with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs right around the turn of the century. If there is any sports fan deep inside you, then perhaps you might find this book worth reading.

If you’re curious at all to learn more about one of the other things I’m immensely passionate about, then give this video a watch! Baseball is way more important to me than most people realize, and that’s exactly how I want it.

This was the fifth book I read for my 2017 Reading Challenge. It fulfilled the requirement to read a book about baseball.

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Something fun Today

I wrote recently about who I’d like to see write a book. My choice was Katie Nolan. I think people would call her a sports personality, but I said before that she isn’t afraid to express her opinion on a wide range of topics.

Turns out the week before the Super Bowl has some perks. Sure there’s music, the NFL Experience, and other festivities going on this week in Houston. But Fox is also broadcasting several of its shows live from Houston. 

I’M GOING TO SEE GARBAGE TIME WITH KATIE NOLAN LIVE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY.

I’ve attended three concerts in my life and dozens of sporting events. This will be the first time I watch a taping of a show in the audience. And I’m excited!

Which show would you like to see from the audience if you could pick any one?

Who I Want to Write a Book

KATIE NOLAN.

I bet you have no idea who she is. I’ll tell you. She started just a few years ago on YouTube. Then she hosted a web series for Fox Sports. She then began hosting her own weekly show on Fox Sports 1. But I’m not clamoring for anyone else to write a book, whether they’re in sports or not.

Let me tell you why I’d buy her book. She’s funny, witty, loves sports, and doesn’t back away from her opinion. She has no problem calling out athletes or officials who act badly. And I mean she really calls them out. We need more of her not just in sports media, but in general. We need people to speak up and speak out whenever a wrong is committed against another person or a group of people. Sometimes it may be an athlete against another person, but it also may be a political candidate talking about one of us “regular” people. The notion that “celebrities” should not have opinions or speak out about issues they’re passionate about is ridiculous. And Un-American.

Her show is sports comedy, but not everything is related to sports or comedy. And I’d be eager to here how she feels about a number of different things, whether we’re in agreement or not.

So write a book, KATIE! I’ll buy!

Who do you want to write a book who hasn’t?

Simone Byles to Write Memoir

Of course she is. She’s one of the most known athletes in the world right now. What better time to publish a book? I mean, Gabby Douglas did it after becoming a household name. And no one was calling her the greatest gymnast ever.

I imagine Byles getting a seven-figure advance for her book followed by at least a handful of endorsements. Likely more. I’m also beginning to doubt whether she actually attends UCLA. She won’t be competing in gymnastics at the school because she’s already turned pro. Which means she’ll be sacrificing A LOT of hours in the gym for school work. Which makes the prospect of repeating her 2016 performance in 2020 a bit less likely. Not to mention that the world championships will be here before we know it.

Simone Byles has plenty to think about in her new post-Olympics world. But who wouldn’t want to be in her shoes?

What the Olympics are Supposed to be About

I imagine you’ve watched at least some Olympic coverage over the last week and a half, but there’s a story I want to share if you haven’t been keeping up as closely as I’ve been.

This isn’t a story of Team USA winning gold. It isn’t about the dominance of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps. It actually isn’t about any medal or close finish. It’s about that mysterious thing that only pokes its head out a few times (if any) at the Olympic Games we know as the Olympic spirit.

It can be easy for us to forget that these athletes are human beings just like we are. They might have more notoriety than we do, they might have more money than we do, and they have the athletic ability we simply don’t. But we’re all human. Every one of us.

And two athletes put that on full display yesterday. Abbey D’Agostino from Team USA and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand. The American clipped Hamblin and both fell to the track during their 5000M race. Abbey got to her feet first, but rather than proceed with the race she leaned down and encouraged Hamblin to get up and finish because it’s the Olympics. And Hamblin did. She got up. But then D’Agostino went down again. She’d injured her knee in the fall. This time it was Hamblin encouraging her to get up and finish.

They finished in the last two positions in their heat. Both would later be advanced to the final even though they didn’t qualify. But only Hamblin will compete. Abbey D’Agostino tore her ACL in the fall and collision. She ran more than a mile with a torn ACL. And the first person to meet her as she crossed the finish line was Nikki Hamblin.

I imagine the story is being shared more by the US media and in New Zealand, but there’s no doubt that these two women both gained millions of new fans and supporters over the last 24 hours. Not for being elite athletes. Not for winning gold for themselves and their country. Not for their personal stories that most viewers don’t know about. But because even in the midst of the highest athletic competition these two women forgot that they’re competing against each other. In those trying moments on the track it was more important to both of them to look out for their fellow human being rather than at their own standing in the race.

I love sports more than any person I know. But these women show how small sport really is. No one would have questioned either of them had they gotten up and continued on without looking back. But they didn’t.

Suffice it to say I’m a fan of both Nikki and Abbey now because they are the embodiment of what the Olympics are all about.

You can see what happened here, although the video won’t play if you’re not in the USA.

2016 Reading Challenge Book #4: Friday Night Lights

I know we’re in August now and I’m only four books into my 2016 reading challenge, BUT I’ve actually read two more I haven’t talked about just yet. Hehe. I’ll finish. Because it’s so easy.

Anyway, the requirement I fulfilled by readingĀ Friday Night Lights was a book I’d already seen the movie for. Which you definitely should have seen the movie by now since it was released in 2004. I can’t tell you how great this book really is. This might sound stupid to you, but I believe it should be assigned reading in any sports-related class in Texas high schools and universities. Because if you’re studying to go into the Texas sports market you should understand how important sports can be. This book gives the reader incredible insight into the world of Texas high school football, but more importantly it gives the reader incredible insight into small-town Texas life. It is simply a remarkable work.

Now take just a few minutes for my complete thoughts!

What’s the best sports book you’ve read? The best one for me (just narrowly) is stillĀ Moneyball, but boy this book couldn’t be any closer.

Saturday Selects: The First is out of the way

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss a topic outside the general bookish theme of the blog.

Early this morning the first gold medal of the 2016 Rio Olympics was awarded in the women’s 10m Air Rifle competition. It was awarded to Ginny Thrasher, a 19-year-old American from West Virginia University. I watched the medal ceremomy live. I also watched her win. I’ll never grow tired of seeing my fellow Americans on the podium at the Olympics. 

Now that the first medal is out of the way the medals will be awarded in quick succession.

PS: I’ve already watched five hours of coverage and it’s not even 1:00 yet. Can you tell I love this?