6 Inspiring Sports Books For the Active and Active-Minded
By: Emily Leff | firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year, so many of us add “reading more” to our list of New Year’s resolutions that, even with our best efforts, can be long forgotten by early February. We are constantly busy with work, social obligations, and maintaining our fitness regimens that fitting in time to read for fun can seem impossible. However, reading has the ability to inspire us to reach new heights and broaden how we think about ourselves and others. These books are perfect for active individuals who are looking for the right story to make them excited to read again.
1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Haruki Murakami)
He may be better known as the author of countless off-beat sci-fi novels such as 1Q84 and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but Haruki Murakami is serious about more than just writing; he’s also a dedicated runner with over 20 marathons and 1 ultramarathon under his belt! In this collection of personal essays, Murakami weaves in personal stories about his work as a writer with memories of different runs over the years with philosophical queries about life itself. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is perfect for runners, Murakami enthusiasts, or anyone interested in catching a glimpse into the more “relatable” side of one of the most anomalous writers (and runners) of our time.
2. Women Who Tri: A Reluctant Athlete’s Journey Into the Heart of America’s Newest Obsession (Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.)
Alicia DiFabio is not a professional athlete. But her book Women Who Tri: A Reluctant Athlete’s Journey Into the Heart of America’s Newest Obsession that documents her personal journey from signing up to completing her first triathlon as a “normal” woman shows that any of us have it within ourselves to accomplish great athletic feats. DiFabio has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and her book examines the triathlon through psychological, journalistic, and personal lenses. If you are curious as to why the triathlon has become such a popular race, or if you’re maybe interested in trying one yourself, this book is perfect for you.
3. The Push: A Climber’s Search for the Path (Tommy Caldwell)
Tommy Caldwell is the first person to free-climb the Dawn Wall, one of the steepest summits in Yosemite. But the path leading up to that nearly-impossible accomplishment was one of intense hardships, including being held hostage while abroad, separating from his wife (and climbing partner), losing a finger, and more. The Push is a memoir about resilience, overcoming the impossible, and finding oneself amidst tumultuous circumstances. This is a great read for adrenaline junkies or for anyone seeking inspiration during a tough time.
4. Kicking Up Dirt: A True Story of Determination, Deafness, and Daring (Ashley Fiolek)
Any story of a woman breaking the glass ceiling in a male-dominated sport is one that we all want to hear. Not only is Ashley Fiolek one of the most outstanding women motocross bikers in the field today, but her journey to the top has an added layer of difficulty; she did it all as a person with life-long deafness. Kicking Up Dirt‘s message of overcoming obstacles and defying others’ expectations of her abilities while training to become an extreme sports athlete is one that we can all learn from.
5. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Christopher McDougall)
Christopher McDougall did not expect his trip to the doctor’s office in 2001 after injuring his foot during a training run to result in a life-changing journey to Mexico and the chance to learn about the Tarahumara, a tribe of people known for their extreme running abilities. But in pursuit of the answer to his question, if humans are natural born runners, McDougall’s life took an incredible turn. “Soon, I was setting off in search of the lost tribe of the Tarahumara and Caballo Blanco — who, I would discover, had a secret mission of his own,” he writes in the book’s opener. Born To Run is a sports story that reads like a travel adventure novel, perfect for any thrill-seekers and globe-trotters.
6. Dust Bowl Girls: The Inspiring Story of the Team That Barnstormed Its Way to Basketball Glory (Lydia Reeder)
Dust Bowl Girls is the story of the unlikely success of the Cardinals, the women’s basketball squad at Oklahoma Presbyterian College. The story takes place during the Great Depression in the Dust Bowl. Amidst the economic hardships and migratory struggles taking place during this time in American history, this book tells the story of Sam Babb, a remarkable coach who led a group of women basketball players to unexpected victories in two American Athletic Union national titles, the North American championship, and the 1933 Women’s World Championship from 1931-1934. This is more than your typical feel-good underdog story; it gives you a deep perspective on each player on the team, the efforts that Coach Babb went to for the team’s success, and how sports give individuals the ability to transcend societal expectations.
So the next time you have time to relax, consider cracking open a book. You never know how the words will inspire you and remind you of your life’s potential.