Whenever I am met with times of strife, I find solace in sports. From lacing up my own hockey skates and taking a spin at my local ice rink, or locking my feet into skis for a few miles of flying down a mountain, to just going for a run, it’s a mental retreat for me to lose myself in the world of sport. What follows are the books that I think capture this feeling so well.
A Team of Their Own by Seth Berkman
I’m in the middle of A Team of Their Own right now and I absolutely love it. Seth is a Korean-American journalist who was assigned to cover the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics. What started as a small story grew into this beautiful book, a beautiful biography and sociological commentary on the unique situation the South Korean women were in going into and during the Olympics.
The Boys of Winter has been my favorite sports book for a very long time, but may be unseated by A Team of Their Own once I’ve finished it. I will, however, always love the story of the 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey Team who defeated the Russians during the height of the Cold War and served as inspiration for my favorite sports movie, Miracle. It’s a wonderfully uplifting story and one of the best feel-good sports books.
I bawled my eyes out while reading Women in Sports because the stories of the women Rachel includes are just such incredible tales of mental fortitude and perseverance. The inclusion of my personal sports hero, Manon Rheaume, ice hockey goalie extraordinaire, brought me such joy. Rachel’s artwork accompanying each women’s story is incredible as well.
My father has always loved sailing and had his own Sunfish sailboat when we lived on a lake in south central Pennsylvania. He was always so happy to take it out, boating permit or no, and delighted in flipping it over as well. When I found Nathaniel Philbrick’s memoir about his own time as a sailor of Sunfish, I knew I had to get a copy for my father, and for myself as well.
The Sports Gene by David Epstein
David Epstein is one of my favorite writers and The Sports Gene is a fascinating look at the science behind modern day sports and performance. It’s the most scientific book on the list, but also includes stories about various athletes to support David’s hypotheses.
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through IndieBound or your local independent bookstore, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.