Sports & Fitness Steve Rushin Road Swing

ISBN 13: 9780385482295

Road Swing

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9780385482295: Road Swing

On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Steve Rushin decided he wanted to revisit the twin pursuits of his youth: epic car trips and an unhealthy obsession with sports. He had a desire to see French Lick, Indiana, the boyhood home of Larry Bird, to attend a Texas high school football game and to watch Louisville Sluggers being "Powerized"--whatever on Earth that means. So he got into his Japanese car and drove to American sports shrines for a year. "I was going to put my finger on the pulse of American sports, and I wanted that finger to be one of those giant, foam-rubber index fingers worn by pinhead fans across the land. So I joined Interstate 35 and traveled south out of Minneapolis in a cold gray mist. It was like driving into a sneeze. The radio reported ninety-four-mile-an-hour winds in southern Minnesota, as well as golf ball-, baseball-, and softball-sized hail. It was raining sporting goods, and I was following the perforated yellow line of the highway, like a trail of dripping ballpark nacho cheese, that would lead me to the soul of American sports--or whatever I was looking for."

Like a sports-addled Blue Highways, Road Swing is a hearty chunk of Americana, a travelogue about the places that are the soul of sports, and a reflection of those themes that are unique to the American character.

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Review:

On the cusp of turning 30, Steve Rushin, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, sets out for a year on the road to scope out the odd and not-so-odd shrines that America's built for its fun and games. "I have no doubt," he writes in preparation for his journey, "that one can, through the keyhole of sports, see an entire culture, even one as far-flung and diverse as American culture." He didn't just want to see, though. "I wanted to put my finger on the pulse of American sports, and I wanted that finger to be one of those giant foam-rubber index fingers worn by pinhead fans across the land." His wit sharpened to a point, he sets out to scour the landscape with only the barest of necessities: 36 compact discs, a set of golf clubs, and a dozen rank cigars.

By the time he returns, he's visited basketballer Larry Bird's boyhood home in French Lick, Indiana; paid a nocturnal visit to the "Field of Dreams"; looked up and called Cleveland Brown in the Cleveland phone book; had lunch with Lou Groza; played real golf at Tam O'Shanter in western Pennsylvania and miniature golf down South; and immersed himself in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If his journey--and there's much, much more to it--seems like a lark, it isn't. The trip changes him and his appreciation of the sports world he toils in. "I had set out to test the Shakespearean assertion," he writes, "that 'If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.' ... In short, all my year was a playing holiday." It's also a marvelous series of pit stops recounted with real verve. "And I could now say, with absolute certainty, Shakespeare should have been so lucky." --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

As Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, Steve Rushin has written dozens of articles, including the centerpiece for the magazine's fortieth anniversary issue. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
From the Trade Paperback edition.

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