An inspirational look at a diverse group of popular American sports figures and how they found success in sports and life.
Young athletes all dream of what they might become. They might see themselves as a soccer player racing through defenses at the World Cup, as a hockey player scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final, or as a figure skater in the Winter Olympics. But to get there takes hard work, dedication, and passion.
In The Reason We Play: American Sports Figures and What Inspires Them, Marc Bona profiles some of the nation’s top athletes and sports personalities from the past several decades to reveal what it takes to make it in the world of professional sports. Along with fascinating accounts of the sports figures’ lives and careers, Bona includes, in their own words, what motivated them, what obstacles they overcame, and even what books they loved to read when they were young.
Featuring athletes such as soccer icon Kristine Lilly, basketball star Victor Oladipo, and softball phenom Cat Osterman, The Reason We Play has something for everyone. From football to rodeo, baseball to racing, the front office to coaching, the subjects all share a common trait of excellence on and off the field.
Marc Bona is a journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in newspapers, the last eight as a features writer for cleveland.com, the digital arm of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s daily paper. He has roots in sports writing, having edited and covered a variety of sports. He is the author of The Game Changer (2018) and has assisted other authors on several nonfiction sports titles.
1. Brian Boitano, Figure Skating: A California Kid Learns to Skate
2. Bobby Bowden, Football: Born to Coach
3. Dave Burba, Baseball: An Ohio Homecoming
4. Todd Christensen, Football: Big Player, Big Words
5. Frank Deford, Sports Writing: A Born Storyteller
6. Tony Dungy, Football: Calm and in Control
7. Mike Eruzione, Hockey: Believing in Miracles
8. Gerry Faust, Football: A Dream Fulfilled
9. Tony Granato, Hockey: Basement Dreams
10. Tim Green, Football: A Busy Man
11. Janet Guthrie, Auto Racing: Speedy Trailblazer
12. Lou Holtz, Football: The Upbeat ‘Do Right’ Coach
13. Tom Kurvers, Hockey: The World Traveler
14. Vern Law, Baseball: The Deacon on the Mound
15. Kristine Lilly, Soccer: The Caps Queen
16. Kim Mulkey, Basketball: Champion Player, Champion Coach
17. Ty Murray, Rodeo: The Record-Breaking Cowboy
18. Victor Oladipo, Basketball: More Than a Player
19. Cat Osterman, Softball: The Untouchable Tall Texan
20. Lyn St. James, Auto Racing: From Student to Teacher
21. Dick Schultz, Sports Executive: The Man in Charge
22. Andre Thornton, Baseball: Keeping the Faith
23. Mike Veeck, Baseball Executive: Director of Fun
About the Author
Bona personally corresponded with and/or interviewed each subject to gather his material. Each profile includes an illustration of the luminary, a biographical synopsis, some quoted "words of wisdom" from the subject, and a brief list of the person's favorite books. Bona does a fine job of highlighting the hard work that these people have put into achieving their ultimate accomplishments. Because the book is aimed at young adults, in the course of his narrative, Bona deftly offers textual elucidation...about people (e.g., Nelson Mandela), places (e.g., China's Forbidden City), and concepts (e.g., stigma) with which readers may not be familiar. These athlete profiles would make good introductions to the distinguished careers of people who are not now typically prominent in the news. Because some of Bona's subjects have published autobiographies, engaging with this book could encourage additional reading. Recommended. General readers.
Marc Bona goes beyond the performances and careers of iconic figures in sports to uncover the person and their purpose in The Reason We Play. Written with revealing detail and expertly researched, Marc brings sporting greats into focus with a storyteller's touch that highlights why they inspire us -- then and now.
Marc Bona is a detailed and thoughtful reporter and writer and all of his experience is on display in this book. The array of athletes, personalities and power brokers presents a kaleidoscope of the sports world that any fan will both learn from and enjoy.
This nonfiction title is more than a collection of athletes’ biographies: it also inspires the reader with in-depth stories, obstacles, and motivations of each story.
12/19/21, Akron Beacon Journal: The book is featured in a roundup of new titles.
5/31/22, Choice: This book was featured in a roundup of top community college titles.