It’s How You Play the Game: The Powerful Sports Moments that Taught Lasting Values to America’s Finest and The Games Do Count: Americas’ Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports / Two books written and read by Brian Kilmeade. (Harper Audio, 2007) Abridged on 5 compact discs. ISBN 9780061256677
It’s How You Play the Game and The Games Do Count both demonstrated that sports, more than mere entertainment and fun, can provide participants with lessons that last a lifetime. Of course, not everyone who takes up sports in school becomes a professional athlete, or even necessarily continues to pursue it after high school. On the other hand, that means that many people who become known as business people, artists, politicians, etc. were shaped in part by experiences in athletics, both successes and failures.
In the earlier of the two books, The Games Do Count, Brian Kilmeade points to the inspiring examples of people who never succeeded as professional athletes. Some of them never even succeeded in school athletics. Richard Nixon’s old coach, for example, recalled that he was the worst player on the team. In practice, he would always get stomped into the ground, but he always got back up and never quit. Mostly, he sat on the bench during the games, but because of his persistence the coach decided to put him in one game so he could earn a letter.
Other subjects include Gerald Ford (an excellent college football player), Condoleeza Rice, Jack Welch, John Bon Jovi, Pat Williams–men and women who became successful and well known in a variety of fields. Kilmeade interviewed more than seventy leaders who were shaped in part by their involvement in sports. Each point to some game, some coach, or just the regular routine of staying in shape and learning their position that had an impact on their lives.
It’s How You Play the Game continues in the same vein, except its more than ninety stories also include those of professional and amateur athletes that reached the pinnacle of their sports as well as historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and George Patton. Potentially sports can teach getting along with others, working with people you don’t necessarily like in order to reach a common goal, graciousness in both victory and defeat, attention to small details, learning from setbacks and much more.
Both The Games Do Count and It’s How You Play the Game will appeal to sports fans and to anyone who enjoys personal vignettes of well-known people. Parents of teenagers and pre-teenagers may also want to interest their children in enjoying the audiobooks together in order to experience important life lessons without the appearance of parental preachiness or lectures. The All-Purpose Guru Alert features one carefully selected title every day. Be sure to visit regularly.
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