Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book Review: A Boy and His Balls

By Todd Rutherford

A Boy and His Balls: Growing Up in a Sports-Crazy World, by Chuck Wanninger, is a passionate account of the impact that sports had during his childhood in the 50s and 60s. The book is an autobiographical account by Wanninger, who grew up in Macomb, Illinois. More than anything else, A Boy and His Balls is a story about a boy's first love (sports) and how sports contributes to the process of growing up.

This book will strike a chord for people of all ages and eras, but particularly with those Baby Boomers who grew up when sports was making its appearance on television and enjoying unrivaled popularity. A Boy and His Balls is built upon memories shared by the entire sports world--from playing sports with childhood friends to coaching in Little League. This story is a reflection and reaffirmation of a bond that lasts for a lifetime.

From bouncing the basketball in the house to watching his kids do the same, Wanninger demonstrates the cyclical nature of sports and its power to tie generations together. The fascinating aspect of the book, however, is its delicately detailed images. In fact, Wanninger's descriptions are so precise and rich with content that each chapter can essentially stand on its own.

Ultimately, the purpose of this book is to create a sense of appreciation for sports, both past and present. It also hints at a more filtered era of sports, where it was not viewed as the end-all, be-all as it is today. Ultimately, sports, Wanninger reiterates, has a positive and lasting influence on the development of young men.

This is a must read for anyone who has ever played ball, as it is sure to extract precious memories and remind everyone of the importance of sports in an individual's life.

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