Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from Around the World by Dhani Jones

I am not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination.  I was introduced to American football player Dhani Jones through an article in the August 2011 edition of Muscle & Fitness magazine (which also featured an excellent article on actor Terry Crews).  I've been borrowing and reading Muscle & Fitness recently as an alternative to women's fitness magazines which spend way too much time, in my opinion, talking about hair and makeup tips.  The workouts in those magazines are light and are usually about firming up with 5 pound weights and losing weight "by eating these 5 foods".  Since I have very little hair, wear no makeup, and enjoy lifting heavy weights, I really have no interest in them.  There are some magazines akin to Muscle & Fitness for women but my library doesn't subscribe to them.  Anyway, back to Dhani Jones.  

Dhani Jones is a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals.  He also had his own show, Dhani Tackles the Globe, which is available as a "play now" on Netflix and wrote a book The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from around the World which is part memoir, part chronicle of his time taping the show.  

I enjoyed reading The Sportsman.  I guess because I have finally started to consider myself to be an athlete, I just identified with a lot of what he had to say.  I also liked the conversational style of the book: I felt like Jones was honest and open and that after having read it, I really had a good sense of who he is.  And I really like him.  He can be cocky and then humble.  Quirky and then very regular.  I liked how he was really conscious of everything he was doing--the effects it would have on his body, his mind, his spirit but also on how folks would see others like him, namely Black folks.  He speaks more than once about busting myths about Black folks like how Black folks don't travel or swim.  So he understood that when he went to places where there were no Black folks, that he had a lot riding on his shoulder as "the representative" but he doesn't bristle at being that--he embraces it which is not always easy to do.  

It was just really interesting reading about all the adventures he had and all the things he got to do.  All while balancing a demanding football career.  Sounded like a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of challenge.  It was a nice read.  Pretty easy.  In fact, I started to get a tad bored at the end and then I learned that the show wasn't renewed for a third season.  I could see why . . . you can only do it so many times before it's completely done.  I'm not sure if I'll finish watching the show on Netflix now that I've read the book because I already know what's going to happen but I might . . . it might be good to see the pictures that go along with the words.  Anyway, I recommend both the show and the book.  Very enjoyable.  

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