Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Athletes Can Write Too. Apparently.

I picked this topic up about a day ago. A lot of you might have heard that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo has just recently released a book about her life, struggles, career, and some of the dirt she has had to put up with in the world of sports. Yesterday, it was announced that U.S. striker Alex Morgan just got a book deal, not to write a story about herself, but a three-book series directed to teenage girls about friendship, values, and soccer.

Gee, they all write now, don't they? That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Excuse me while I step into my childhood for a minute.

Books are cool things. I often hated to read them, but when it became absolutely necessary to do so in high school, I had to start finding things I liked in order to peak my interest in reading. Three guesses and the first two don't count on what kinds of books I like to read. The answers are sports and the media, in case if you were stumped.

The first book of the sports-genre I read and liked. Supposedly there could be a movie about this in the near future.
It's a usual thing for big-name celebrities and athletes to write about their lives (sometimes with the help of another author). Heck, they might even write more than one book during their time. You expect a lot of retired people to do this, especially if it was public knowledge that there were problems (i.e. drugs, alcohol, abuse) during one's career. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick are examples of some of the athletes going that route. Some may even write about the hardships they have overcome to get to where they wanted to be. Recently, retired pitcher Jim Abbott released a book called Imperfect: An Improbable Life talking about his disability--he was basically born with only one full hand--and how he beat the odds by making it to the majors and eventually throwing a no-hitter in 1993 against the Cleveland Indians. In my opinion, books like that will sell very easily. In a case such as Michael Vick's, the controversy surrounding him was huge. After the dog-fighting ring and his court case and his sentencing, he just pulled a 180 and came back to football. PETA still might not like him, but he's regrown his fan base and has gained respect from people due to his turnaround. In Jim Abbott's case, he's giving the chance for young people to take a look inside of them and see themselves as something special instead of something imperfect. [Side Note: I've found out that many schools around the country have his book on their summer reading list this year.] In reality, Abbott himself is a motivational speaker, and his book is a way to reach the other people that might not have heard him talk before.

You see, those uses of [auto]biographies are efficient and excellent tools of sending out a message to readers. There are other ones that are quite questionable and not so cool when it comes to sending a message. Most may have the values thrown in there, but there may also be a monkey wrench slathered in controversy thrown in there too.

There have been books released over the past ten years that included the athlete's problems and automatically pointed fingers and going "this is why I'm like this" or "I was never at fault." It's almost as if athletes are writing the books as the be-all-end-all "stop picking on me because you know the truth now" deal. I'm serious. It feels like it's the "ultimate response" to the media since the athlete's book leaves little room for interpretation. Here's looking at you again, Jose Canseco. Ooh! Here's another example:
O.J. Simpson's book...You HAD to see this one coming.
I'm not knocking the whole idea of athletes writing a book about their lives, but it should be done responsibly; it shouldn't be done to make a statement about something or to end your side of the argument with a "SO THERE!" of sorts. I'm not the biggest fan of athletes that know they'll make money out of dirt they've experienced because people will want to read the truth about controversies that they've experienced. It's a dirty marketing tactic that works because the media will pick it up and will lead to more money on that athlete's end. That's almost like saying I'm going to write a book on how I allegedly saw some hockey players pushing pills at a bar one night and expect to get exposure out of it. [Note: This was an example. This never happened.] These guys who release dirt like this give the other athletes a bad name that with good intentions of releasing a good autobiography.

Are you guys fans of these books? Do you even read at all? I'm curious.
Comment and continue the talk. I've said my piece..what are your thoughts?