In middle school I played soccer. I was the benchwarmer because the best person on the team was the coach’s son, and I happened to play the same position as him.
That was one of the first tastes of sports in my life, and since then I just haven’t been able to understand why so many people like and talk about them.
However, in the last couple of weeks I came across two books that have helped me learn how to get into sports by letting me see them from a different perspective. These books are sports as seen through the eyes of the people playing them.
The first one is the Andre Agassi biography Open. Agassi, if you haven’t heard about him, was the number one tennis player in the world, but he hated tennis the entire time.
He thought the sport was the worst thing in the world, and the only reason he got good was because his father forced him to. He ended up being so great at it because it was the only thing he knew how to do well.
Then he became number one in the world.
His story is an interesting take on the “I hate something but I’m going to do it anyway” mindset. It’s a path to success I never really thought about before reading the book.
The second one I really liked is called Low Collision Crossers. It’s about a guy who spent a full year inside the New York Jets locker room. After reading this, I feel like I could fake a football conversation for 5-10 minutes without being found out, which is an excellent business skill.
If you’re somebody who hates sports, reading things written by the people who play them is a great way to learn the language and get into it.
One of the best things about books is that you can read one on anything, and since someone with a lot of passion for the topic sat down and poured their thoughts onto a page, you get to see what it’s like to enjoy even a completely boring subject from the point of view of someone who loves and thinks about that thing constantly.
Then, if you read close enough, some of that passion can wash off on the way you talk and think about what you do.