Today is the Day!

Today is the day that only comes around once every four years. A day anticipated by millions of people and thousands of athletes. It’s the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics!

I know there has been tons of negative publicity surrounding the city’s preparation for the Games. And it’s mostly warranted, but sport is more important to me than any person I know who isn’t paid to know sports. And that’s no different today.

I remember the absolute elation that I experienced when I saw this relay. In my opinion, the greatest call in Olympic history. Even greater than the miracle on ice. 


I remember the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Games in Beijing. I remember Gabby Douglas making history in 2012. And Usain Bolt dominating every Olympic track he’s stepped foot on. There’s so much I love about the Olympic Games I simply don’t have enough room to put it all here.

The thing is that it’s the one chance I get as a sports fan to root for these elite athletes in sports I may not get to see on a regular basis. And it isn’t because they’re playing for my hometown team, it’s because they share something with me that goes far beyond that. We’re American.

I mentioned in one of my DC videos that I got emotional when I saw the flag that inspired our national anthem. I’ll get emotional again over the next two weeks every time I see one of our athletes standing atop the podium with a gold medal around their neck and our national anthem playing. It is our chance to realize how important it is to them to get to represent this country. They may have money or fame or fancy cars or none of that, but in that single moment none of it matters. It’s about their journey to become the absolute best at their craft, and the people who helped get them there.

Happy Olympics!

What’s your favorite Olympic memory? Mine is the race in the video above. Jason Lezak doing the impossible.

Saturday Selects: Ali

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the first Saturday of each month to discuss something outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today’s topic is Muhammad Ali.

He died last night, which I’d been expecting for a few days. Too many vague statements about his health situation. There’s been an outpouring of support in the hours since the news broke. Many people have been praising Ali the boxer while others praise Ali the humanitarian.

But for me it all comes down to one thing. The boxing doesn’t matter and the humanitarian efforts only came after his career was over. I’ve looked up to him for neither. But I’ve looked up to him for speaking out against war and the military draft. He gave millions of people a voice by standing up and sticking to his beliefs. He did something that we now take for granted. Imagine if every person who spoke out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was suddenly unable to find work for more than three years. That would leave us with no presidential candidates left.

Ali has been great on several fronts, but what I appreciate the most is his unrelenting resolve to stand up for what he believed in. We could all take a page from him in that regard.

Rest easy, champ.

A Wish

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four was just in Houston. And by all accounts it was wildly successful. There was a huge music festival and an “experience” for every member of the family. Those things happen around every sporting event.

But I’d like to see something for books around these things. Can you imagine if the NFL hosted the Super Bowl Festival of Books in each host city every year? They’d be promoting the game and literacy. I mean, who wouldn’t want to attend that? The NBA or MLB could host something similar during their respective All-Star breaks.

These events bring thousands of people into one place. I think they could potentially bring books and people together. What do you think?

Saturday Selects #21: My problem with football

There isn’t enough being done to make the sport safer. I couldn’t be more blunt and straightforward.

Let me give you a little background here. It is all but certain that I know more about football and sports in general than you do. I love sports. If I could live a life entirely surrounded by sports I would. I do my best to live that life now.

The Houston Texans debuted in 2002. They’ve been my favorite sports team since that first game. But my favorite sport has always been baseball.

Back to the topic. Injuries happen in all sports. That’s the first thing people say when I bring up the safety of football. But baseball players suffer mostly from shoulder injuries. And of course knees are torn up and legs even broken. All very serious in nature, absolutely. But none life threatening. Basketball players often suffer injuries to their lower bodies and although quite serious, still not life threatening.

Then someone will bring up how hockey players have blades on their feet and a puck that often does some real damage, and hard collisions that are rarely matched in any other setting, besides football. But still, with the even more serious nature of the injuries sustained by hockey players I’ve never heard of a player dying because of what happened on the ice. Please do correct me if I’m wrong.

But then we get to football. We have these analysts who are often former players talking about how the game isn’t played the way it used to be. And how it’s becoming more soft. As a longtime fan of the sport, this is outrageous to me. We’ve had former NFL players commit suicide due to the head trauma they endured. We’ve had them kill other people.

There is no injury that hasn’t happened on the football field, except for a player actually dying right there. Broken necks. Torn ACLs. Broken arms. Broken legs. Collapsed lungs. Torn Achilles. Broken collarbones. Concussion after concussion after concussion. It’s all routine now. And everyone uses the excuse that the players are rich and know what they sign up for. But using someone’s salary as a means to justify very real health concerns is a damn joke.

Because I haven’t even gotten to the worst part of all of this. It isn’t from the NFL or NCAA levels of play. It’s from high school. Eight players have died this year as a result of football-related injuries. Eight. Eight high school kids. And that number is right in line with the average number of football-related deaths in each of the last few years.

How has it become acceptable for kids to die playing a game that is utterly meaningless? To me, if one player had died this year it would be too many. The number should be zero. But no one seems to care.

The thing about it is that I’ve played football. And I’m near certain that I suffered at least one concussion during my playing time. And guess what happened immediately afterward? I got up feeling very dizzy and my coaches and teammates were fired up because of my “big hit”. I could barely get back to the bench. And it’s on me for not saying anything. Absolutely.

But there are kids playing football at the high school level who shouldn’t be. They’re too small, not strong enough, or just lack the skill set needed. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But these kids are at great danger when they enter games. They might go in thinking they’ve got something to prove or that they aren’t good enough, and that’s how injuries happen.

I understand that the NFL doesn’t oversee every school district or youth football league. But they have a duty to every player playing football today to do whatever they can to keep them safe. Whether that be through seminars or coaching clinics or TV ads promoting safety on the field. In my opinion, enough is not currently being done and kids are dying every single year. It’s unacceptable. And I’m sick of it.

In years past I’d watch every Texans, Sunday night, and Monday Night Football game. But no longer will that be the case. I will continue to watch the Texans through the end of the season, but I will not watch any other games. If the NFL isn’t willing to address legitimate safety concerns, then I’m not willing to watch.

FYI: I also don’t watch UFC or boxing because I find it quite difficult to see how either can be legal in today’s modern society.

Tom Brady Creates a Bestseller

If you know anything about sports, then you know the NFL season starts tonight. And you also know that Tom Brady’s suspension from Deflategate has been vacated.

But you may not know that he’s been reading a self help book to get through the legal and appeals processes. That book is now a bestseller.

We know this happens. If a well liked, well known celebrity becomes interested in or attached to something, then their fans typically will too. Just think Oprah.

There’s nothing wrong with this phenomenon. And it’s to be expected. And I’ll never have an issue with an author reaching a greater audience. And I think deep down we’d all like to have that kind of influence. Imagine writing your little blog post about something and knowing there’s a high probability that hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people will not only see it, but will immediately become interested in the topic because of your words.

What do you think? Heard anything about Tom Brady’s new favorite self help book?

Sorry for the late post again! I was distracted once again today. Whoops.

Some Randomness About Moi

Today is Saturday and sometimes I just don’t feel like wasting what I think are great ideas for posts on weekends. Even though other times I try writing posts that I anticipate many people will at least read because of the topic. So in reality, this is me being a little lazy. Hehe.

Anyway, last year sometime I wrote some awards posts and at least once published a post of random facts. Well today I wanted to do that again because we’re all friends here, right? *crickets* I guess I’ll start listing them before you run away from me.

1. I have crazy dreams. I’m not kidding. I’ve been the writer for a dinosaur movie. I’ve met Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve played baseball in front of thousands of people in an open field in the middle of nowhere. (did I experience Field of Dreams?) Oh, and I’ve also been chased by an old lady with an ax who was definitely out for blood. And I’ve also dreamed about meeting other bloggers, but I can’t say who because I may or may not have already told them and what if they think I’m crazy and get scared? Nah. Not dealing with that.

2. I suffered two injuries last year as a result of my training. I’ll now likely forever have two bad wrists and a bad shoulder. But I wouldn’t change anything after that 365 pound bench! I also have a bad back that randomly acts up after months of being okay.

3. I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. I know people are obsessed with the whole series, but I’ve never felt the need to join them. I highly doubt I’d be interested in the TV series, slightly more likely I’d be interested in the books. Slightly.

4. I might have a need to be famous. I think if people got a taste of the real me that I’d have more friends and people to interact with on a regular basis. My goal in life is to become Vine famous. Or on YouTube. Or WordPress? Seriously, no blogger has any idea what I’m like in person and that’s no good. Honestly, I imagine that many of you would want nothing less than to never meet me. BUT I know several of you would be great acquaintances. I’m imagining a meet up in which we meet in a sports bar (no need to be formal) and we end up having a small crowd of people around us cause we’re so damn interesting. And I’d be the only guy in there who knows anything about the sporting event taking place at the time.

5. I love Twitter. It’s the only social media site I really use besides this. I have Snapchat and occasionally use it, but the people I’ve added on there are just not interesting. I originally started using my Twitter account once I finished writing my book, but now I do not ever tweet about books. Okay, very rarely. My book stuff can stay on WordPress. I’d tell you to follow me over there, but I”m telling you now that I won’t follow you back if all you tweet is #amwriting or #amreading or something similar. I have no interest in that stuff. I mostly tweet about sports because they’re way more important to me than books. Find me here.

That’s it! One day I’ll do an Ask me Anything post and see what kinds of questions people might want to ask, but that isn’t today. So what do you think of my randomness? Maybe you’ve had some crazy dreams too? Or maybe you’re interested in my Twitter rants? Or better yet, you want to come down to Texas and buy me food?

If you comment, then I want you to tell me a random fact about yourself. I won’t reply if you don’t. Ha!


On this day in 2014 I published Are Bookmarks Dead?. The most popular post in the history of this blog. By far. And chances are you’ve already read it. It still usually gets a Like or a comment each day and I remember writing it just to get the idea out of the way because I thought it was stupid. I guess the only stupid one around here is me. So take a look if you haven’t already!

 

Ever Read Sports Books?

Fiction. Non-fiction. Sometimes there’s even a bit of mystery involved. I really don’t. Which is a little odd when you think of the fact that I can only be described as being obsessed with sports. But there are a few that I’ve wanted to read for some time now. Friday Night Lights is probably right at the top of that list. You know, the book that the great, great movie was based off of.

Now that I’m sitting here thinking about it, that might be the only one. Interesting. One would expect me to have a list a lot longer than one, right? Especially with the number of athletes who have “written” their own books. I might not be a fan of those particular types of books, but most are simply biographies.

I’ve only read a couple of sports books off the top of my head, which is surprising. But that’s just how things happen sometimes. What about you? Do you read sports books? Biographies. Fiction. No-fiction.

PS: this post was written to coincide with today being MLB Opening Night!


On this day in 2014 I published Saturday Selects: Blogging amidst your social media.

 

What Would you do if you Didn’t Have Books?

I’d just die. Okay, kidding.

Honestly, I’d pretty much be exactly the same. Shocker. I like reading and books and everything that goes with them, but I already spend many more hours in front of my TV than I do reading or talking about books. Y’all know I watch every single game of the Astros, Texans, and Rockets. That’s a lot of hours. And that doesn’t even include all the nationally televised games that don’t include any of my hometown teams.

Besides my obsession with sports, I like TV shows. I watch a million different shows. I usually have something set to record every day of the week except for Saturday. And there’s Bosch on Amazon and House of Cards. I just can’t get enough TV.

So if I didn’t have books I’d just find my entertainment elsewhere. Because at the end of the day that’s what reading is to me, entertainment. But what would YOU do if you didn’t have books?

An Important Question I Need Your Help With

I’m thinking of a complete overhaul of my blog.

Anyone who has read my blog for any period of time knows that I’m pretty strict about sticking to my theme. A couple of times a month I’ll write about something else, but if I were to look back at all my posts I’d bet that well over 90% are writing/publishing/book related. But I think there’s another topic that I’d like writing about just as much or more…sports.

I know you’re probably thinking “typical guy,” but no. I love sports more than I love books. And I can just about guarantee that the one guy you’re thinking about who tends to “know everything” about sports knows a whole lot less than I do. I had to come to realize how much I loved reading when I was younger. I didn’t have to do that with sports. There’s never been any doubt. I’ve only been to two Houston Rockets games (the second one happened yesterday) and I’ve never been to a Texans game, but I’ve probably attended 50 Astros games. And now that both the Astros and Rockets have a TV deal that allows me to watch them, I don’t miss games. It’s easy for someone to say they don’t miss any of their team’s games when it’s football season. But I’m talking about 82 + 162. It’s difficult to describe to you how seriously I take this stuff.

Simply put, I’ve never met someone who keeps up with MLB, NFL, and NBA like I do. I don’t just watch, I’m constantly analyzing. I used to think two of my older brothers knew more than I ever would in a lifetime, but I passed them long ago.

The thought has crossed my mind to just create a separate blog to write about sports, but that’s out of the question. There’s a reason this blog has a nice little readership and attracts new visitors every single day…time. The time I’ve put in to enable its growth. And I’m not going to do that a second time. But I know based on passed posts that y’all aren’t interested in what I have to say about sports. So I’m left with two choices…turn this into a sports blog because I want to, or don’t.

Tell me why or why not. And don’t say “do what you want.”