Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, December 12, 2002

5 sport books


The latest Sports Illustrated magazine has a list of the top 100 sports books. These books aren't necessarily among the top 100, but here are a few sports books I enjoyed reading:

Long Distance by Bill McKibben. McKibben is a writer who at the age of 30-something decided to see what it was like to live the life of an elite athlete for a year. His sport of choice is cross-country skiing. It makes for an interesting story and McKibben is a professional writer (not a professional athlete), so the writing is decent. While McKibben is working on his skiing, his father is dying of cancer -- so you get a bit of human drama thrown in for good measure.

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract James is a Lawrence resident and KU econ grad who has made a living writing about baseball. I find his approach to looking at sports interesting -- he thinks and does research like an economist.

Its Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins. If you participate in any endurance sport, you've got to be impressed by Armstrong. The book is not especially good or bad -- but Armstong is amazing.

Endless Winter by Luke Bodensteiner. Bodensteiner wrote about his life as an elite cross-country skier. The parallels between cross-country skiing in the US and orienteering in the US are obvious (both are Scandinavian "suffering sports" with few participants in the US). The first line of the book is, "I am an American competing in a European sport." The book is written as a diary, following his training and racing for about a year up to the 1994 Olympics.

Think to Win by Don Alexander. Alexander writes about how to drive a race car. While there aren't a lot of obvious reasons an orienteer would want to read about auto racing, there are some interesting similarities. Both O' and racing take a lot of concentration and are about going the right speed at the right time. An orienteer has to run fast when the terrain and navigation allow it, then slow down as needed. A race driver needs to go fast, but not so fast that they lose traction and control.

posted by Michael | 8:36 PM


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