Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will I Ever Get Over 1969

I was reading Ron Santo for Love of Ivy by Ron Santo and Randy Minkoff as part of some research I am doing on a new Sporting Chance Press title (www.sportingchancepress.com). It's a pretty breezy read and I was intrigued by what Ron had to say about 1969. I came away with a basic message of Santo looking fondly on the year and appreciative of being a part of the Cubs in such a great era. It made me think back to my own recollections of that late 1960's Cub era - occasionally taking the Western Avenue bus all the way from the south end of the city through every kind of neighborhood imaginable to watch the Cubs play and then back again. Most of what we did in those days though was listen to the Cubs on the radio while we played our own game of "off the steps." But occasionally we would get to Wrigley and it was something special.

What I remember of Santo was his total disregard of his own body. He was constantly expanding his range at third base by diving at balls -- and more often than not, snagging them and throwing the batter out. Santo was a fighter, a boxer with a baseball mitt. I am glad that he not only enjoyed those times, but looks back at them unapologetic. He was a man then and he is a man now.

For me it was really not 1969 that stings, but it was the absence of 1969 in the following seasons. 1969 was a great year, I just wish it could have been followed with a bunch of others like it. But that's like expecting Paul McCartney to write another White Album or Harrison Ford to still be the kind of Indiana Jones today that young girls would write secret messages to on their eyelids.

Santo is right, 1969 was a very good year. And maybe I will never get over 1969 because I don't want to ever forget it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maddie Takes the Ice

At Sporting Chance Press we are all about publishing books that bring out the best in sport. Maddie Takes the Ice is our first middle grade novel for ages 8-12.

As our compelling cover copy reads:

Madison Albright is one of the most confident skaters at the Arctic Circle Figure Skating Club, but the pressure builds as she prepares for the regional championship. A jealous skater is prepared to do whatever it takes to knock Madison from the competition and an old friend turns against her just when she needs her the most. Strangers and classmates alike suddenly make her the center of attention. Her stern coach seems incapable of understanding her worries. Her best friend is preoccupied with boy problems. At home, her family expects a big win. In the final days before the event, her confidence begins to unravel and she struggles to succeed in spite of the stress and strain that is competitive figure skating. Come along for an unforgettable journey as Maddie Takes the Ice.

The book is getting very high marks from our readers and it carries several very strong positive messages without hitting kids over the head with them.

Author Colette House who competed herself at the very highest levels in figure skating, wants readers to understand how to get through the pressure of the sport in healthy ways -- keeping communication open with supporting parents and maintaining a positive demeanor all the while working towards one's personal best and goals.

Most people who have seen the book simply buy it--it's that attractive. The cover illustration was created by Laila Kimball. The book layout was designed by Don Torres with special silhouettes to liven up the chapter openings.

See more on Maddie Takes the Ice at www.sportingchancepress.com