Four Days to Glory

When I was a little kid I was a gym rat. Partly that was because my father was a teacher and spent a lot of time supervising sporting events, and partly because when I was young the school was still the center of the community, and the town would turn out for school events. So in the winter Friday night was the basketball game and Saturday was the wrestling meet or tournament. I haven’t seen a wrestling match since I was young, and frankly I find it a hard sport to fathom, and really, to support with its ridiculous diets, dehydration, weight loss techniques, it just seems unhealthy. But there is something to say about a sport that when you walk on to the mat the only person responsible for your success is you. I am pasting in my review of Four Days of Glory below. I don’t do this very often as the review is for an entirely different audience than the blog, and has a bit of a different tone but I think it says it pretty well.

In most of the country wrestling is a dying sport, evidenced by the drastic reduction of Division I college wrestling programs. However, in Iowa thousands still turn out for the State Championships, and wrestling still captures a community’s attention, particularly when a chance at greatness presents itself. In 2005 two wrestlers had that chance, the opportunity to become only the fifteenth and sixteenth wrestlers to be four time state champions in the long history of the state tournament. Despite wrestling for different high school teams Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere have known each other since youth wrestling and as seniors in high school faced similar pressures and road blocks to establishing their legacy as exceptional wrestlers.
Mark Kreidler introduces the novice into their world, if not into their hearts and minds. He treats the sport with respect, which is essential to the outsiders of the wrestling world. Wrestling, a sport of deprivation that thrives on an ethos of pain is a difficult sport to understand. And at times LeClere and Borschel are the embodiment of the difficulty of understanding the passion and commitment the sport demands. They are enigmas. But the world of Iowa wrestling, and the communities that embrace it are painted both in their glory and in the head shaking dismay that wrestling can induce. The occasional lapse of grammar can mar a section, but it is hardly a commonplace occurrence. Your wrestlers will appreciate a book that speaks to them, and respectfully about them, and your sports fans may find a new sport to appreciate.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say upon finishing this book I have a lot more respect for the sport.


Another McSteamy muse

so why all the sudden interest in McSteamy?  – a one sentence entry written months ago is getting the most hits.  And the thing is he has proven to be rather despicable in recent episodes, although how great was Addison’s “I am decidedly not thinking about you.”?  I mean I love Eric Dane as much as the next woman, and I have a bit of a bad boy complex myself.  But still – why all the sudden interest the past couple of days?

Homage to Forever

When I was in high school I had a friend, Jennifer, with whom I used to swap books. More significantly we swapped books with the pages that had the steamy scenes marked. We were big fans of Sydney Sheldon (which is more than a little embarrassing to admit.) Of course Forever by Judy Blume was one of those shared books, not that the sex was steamy in that book. I mention this because apparently this was a common shared experience for my generation. And now there are books that reference Forever, or are dedicated to Judy Blume, or are the direct descendants of Forever. One of these books is A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, in which the characters leave messages to one another about a boy in the back of the library copy of Forever (by the way I do not recommend this.) It is one of those things that is just known at school. Not that anyone actually heeds the advice but that is another story altogether. There are other ways in which Stone’s book reference Forever, in that it is a descendant of the frank, honest approach Blume takes to her character’s romantic and physical experiences.

Another title that echoes Forever (known for being the first teen book where the girl has sex and doesn’t get “punished” for it by getting pregnant, a disease, or dying) is Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky. Snadowsky dedicates the book to Judy Bume. Dominique is a senior in high school, has never had a boyfriend is absolutely convinced that boys just get in the way. Then she meets Wes, and well, things change. I am not sure how authentic the course of the relationship really is, but the end of it is well, pretty typical in my experience. And I guess that is kind of a spoiler, but really it is about getting to the end that is the story, and what is important anyways. So this is one of the books Jennifer and I would have swapped, and discussed in this overly analytical, psuedo-mature manner. Which is to say the physical experiences, run the gamut, and are described in a fairly frank manner. And, unlike Syndey Sheldon, not even remotely romanticized.

I’m not big on books where I see what is coming and it is cringe-worthy embarrassing and this book has a few of those moments. I like Dom, like her best friend, not so fond of Wes (not sure I am supposed to be but he just seems, well, kind of dumb and not so nice – I never trust him.)

You know there are some other books that kind of fit in this whole homage to Forever thing but off the top of my head not sure what they are.