You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:
First: Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?
And, Second: Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
(Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
Yes, I consider myself a sports fan, but I'm not rabid about the subject. While I'm not very athletic myself, I enjoy watching all sorts of sports. The only sport I absolutely can't stand is volleyball. I think that's probably because of Mrs. Butler's gym class in junior high, but I'm not going to get into that now.
And although I'm not crazy about sports movies in general, there have been some that I've liked. Yes, "The Natural" is a great movie – also one of my husband's favorites (but then, baseball was one of his youthful passions – I think he actually wept during "Field of Dreams"). Others I've liked include "Chariots of Fire," "North Dallas Forty," "Downhill Racer," "Bull Durham," "Hoosiers," "Breaking Away," "American Pastime," and "Rocky I."
But although I like to watch sports, I'm not likely to read books about them. At the moment, the only ones I can recall reading are Malamud's The Natural (read it because of the movie, of course), Larry McMurtry's Moving On (not about sports exactly, but it has a lot of rodeo cowboying in it), and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (olé!). And I think I once glanced through a biography of Larry Bird.
I did, however, once write a poem called "The Christmas Quarterback" that was rejected by Sports Illustrated. But that's another long, sad tale for some other time.
Speaking of the Olympics, however, do you have a favorite? Summer or winter? I like them both, but I think I prefer the winter games because of the figure skating. When I was a child, I always wanted to be an ice skater. Probably because of all those old Sonia Henie movies I watched on TV – those outfits she wore, with the little matching caps, were to die for when I was seven or eight.
Related post: TV Musings: Olympics Watch