Sports have become a huge part of American culture: football; basketball; baseball; softball; soccer; volleyball; tennis and golf. The list goes on and on. Regardless of age, there is a love for watching and playing sports, both recreationally and competitively.
According to medical experts, sports offer physical activity, health benefits, socialization, teamwork and even an escape from day-to-day life.
While we wait for sporting games and events to return to a more regular schedule, our staff is recommending some athletic titles, which were recently featured in The State newspaper, to get your adrenaline going.
Who Got Game? Baseball, Amazing but True Stories! written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by John John Bajet
Available in hoopla
Recommended by Heather McCue
“Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd.” If you’re missing the stadium and the energy of the crowd, or you’re just looking for a really fun read, check out “Who Got Game? Baseball, Amazing but True Stories!” written by the author of “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” Derrick Barnes. Sports fans and reluctant readers alike will devour this whirlwind tour of baseball greats and not-so-greats. From Pivotal Players and Sensational Stories to Radical Records and Colossal Comebacks, each chapter will introduce you to amazing moments in sports history. Did you know the record for the most career home runs is held by Sadaharu Oh? That Hughie Jennings, not only holds the record for being hit by the most pitches in a season, but he also dove into an empty Cornell University swimming pool? That a baseball player was actually killed by a spitball? Learn about Kim Ng, the highest-ranking woman in baseball and Dr. Jobe, who developed a surgery that saved pitchers’ elbows, and meet the Queen of Baseball herself, Lizzie Murphy. Engaging illustrations by John John Bajet and text that feels like your best friend telling you a really good story will leave readers wanting more. This title is recommended for children ages 8-12.
Fence (Volumes 1-3)
Available in hoopla
Recommended by Thomas Maluck
The story of Nicholas Cox and his rise through the ranks of the King’s Row private school fencing team is rife with friendships, rivalries and romance. Nicholas’ reflexes elevate his rookie skills and make him a prime target for the prodigal expert of the team, Seiji Katayama, who nurses a bruised ego after a recent tournament loss. Readers will enjoy entering King’s Row along with Nicholas, complete with the fraternal cast that alternately swoons over the heartthrobs on the fencing team and finds deep focus during intense duels. Series artist Johanna The Mad renders all of the characters with distinct faces and profiles, including smooth line work and accurate fencing posture for the different movements, from lunges to ripostes. Fans of anime series “Yuri On Ice” and webcomic “Check, Please” will find plenty to love here, with brooding loners and cheery softboys stealing scenes and contributing to an infectiously joyous (though competitive) tone from volume to volume. This title is recommended for teens.
Walk It Out: A Walking Playlist by Various Artists
Available in Freegal
Recommended by Lisa Gieskes
If you’re looking to take a step out of the house and get some fresh air, don’t forget the walking shoes. In fact, did you know that walking is an Olympic sport? Walking is a great way to get in shape and lift your mood. One way to get motivated to walk is having the perfect playlist to listen to. Playlists are an excellent way to build strength and confidence. You can shuffle songs around to mix it up and even use them as a source to explore more tunes. On “Walk it Out: A Walking Playlist,” there’s a mix of old and new artists from a variety of genres that will put a pep in your step. There are 77 songs with more than five hours of music. There is a wide span of styles, everything from Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions” and Jack White’s “Corporation.” It even includes tracks from Columbia’s own Toro Y Moi (“Rose Quartz” and “Still Sound”). So, check it out and get moving!
Infinite Football (2019)
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
Available in Kanopy
Recommended by Keith Brinkmann
I thought while watching the first 63 minutes of this Romanian documentary, I understood what director Corneliu Porumboiu was up to, but its final six poetic minutes transform everything about what comes before, as though through divine reeducation.
We’re introduced to Laurentiu Ginghina as he’s recounting his traumatic accident while playing football (AKA soccer), which left his leg broken and his promising career finished. More than a year later (New Year’s Eve, 1987), another bone in this leg breaks, having been damaged and decalcified as a result of the first injury. That night, Ginghina had to shuffle home alone, suffering along on this broken leg for six kilometers. “I kept thinking that the accident hadn’t been the fault of those around me, nor was it my fault,” he explains, “It was the fault of imposed rules” of football itself. Over the years, he experiments with innovation after innovation to improve the beautiful game, including changing the rectangular shape of the playing field into an octagon.
At one point, Ginghina, at his local bureaucratic post, compares himself to Superman and says, “in my double life, I revolutionize sport.” One may laugh at the hubris, but be prepared for surprise.