We all love jumping in in pickup games or even throwing a ball around the yard with our kids. But how can we get our sports fix when the rainy season is upon us? The grass turns muddy, so our carefully selected team is slipping all over the field while trying to catch those perfect passes, not to mention the damage done on our new sneakers. Surprisingly enough, the best way to keep on top of our game is by cozying up with our loved ones with a sports-themed book. There are endless options to choose from, so check out a few of our favorites!
1. Pocket Money, by Gordon Burn
Gordon Burn made waves in 1987 when he spent a year documenting the fascinating world of billiards. In the style of Hunter S. Thompson, the revolutionary author mixes fiction and non-fiction to create a piece worthy of our undivided attention. Burn avoids the clichés and faux-pas that are so common of sports writing, to instead tell it like it is. The blisters caused by hours on the practice table, the many terrible hotel rooms endured all over the world, the shady endorsement deals…nothing got passed Burn’s watchful eye.
2. Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough, by Duncan Hamilton
Based on the favorite sport of our friends across the pond, Provided You Don’t Kiss Me provides an excellent memoir of top soccer player and team manager Brian Clough. Duncan Hamilton paints the picture of Clough’s relationship with the press, his team, and the general world around him. A compelling character, the author does his best to tell the story with a faithful and intimate perspective worthy of a binge read on a lazy Sunday. Clough and Hamilton clearly knew each other well, which makes for an especially unique and satisfying read that sticks to the reader for years to come.
3. Laughing in the Hills, by Bill Barich
This 1980s horse racing classic continues to charm us even 30 years after publication. Exemplary author Bill Barich explores the world of the race track from the backside to the backstretch. Focused on a multitude of personalities and their stories, Laughing in the Hills builds a suspenseful yet endearing read that is bound to keep you entertained until the very last word. In a rather unique twist, Barich’s inspiration was primarily caused by a mid-life crisis that left him to move near the Bay Area’s Golden Gate Fields. The author was then convinced, and rightfully so, that his future lay in the heart of racing.
4. Open: An Autobiography, by Andre Agassi
The avid reader is lucky enough to explore the story of Andre Agassi, top tennis player of the naughties. The legendary athlete tells the story of his rollercoaster of a life, complete with the uncomfortable truths and unpleasant stories. But with this unusual compilation comes a refreshing perspective away from the usual praises of the world of sports. Groomed to be a champion by a father with obscenely high expectations, Agassi wound up being quite resentful of the sport despite his skill and recognition. The tennis player tells the story of the contrast between his time as a player and that of his personal life, with a particular focus on his relationship with the fame that comes with such accomplishments. Particular praise should be given to his ghost, who received 250 hours of interview instead of the typical 30 in order to create the most gripping of reads.