Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Life Lessons and Values from Sporting Chance Press Books

All our books at Sporting Chance Press convey positive values. The idea behind Sporting Chance Press is to produce books that do convey something worthwhile, something that will make the world a better place even if it is in a very small way. It helps to connect the dots from the various sports activities to the values to get the benefit.

In our book, The 10 Commandments of Baseball, the connection is very direct in that the book is about Joe McCarthy's baseball principles that can easily be applied to life. The author, J.D. Thorne, has given dozens of presentations on the baseball commandments and the fascinating people whose lives illustrate these principles. He's been to schools, community groups, clubs,  churches and synagogues with his entertaining message.

Perhaps even more easily seen is the value proposition in Patrick McCaskey's book, Sports and Faith. Unlike the other Sporting Chance Press books, Pat's slant is specifically Christian because it is entirely personal to his life and religious commitment.  Pat's subjects demonstrate value in their lives, from Coach Wayne Gordon who founded the Lawndale Community Church to Father Ignatius McDermott, the "Skid Row" Priest. He often features people doing their best for those who are the least fortunate around us.

In Public Bonehead, Private Hero, Mike Cameron examines Fred Merkle's "character assassination" in 1906 when he was labeled 'bonehead" by the press after his performance on the baseball diamond in a critical game. It may have been 1906, but the story couldn't be more timely when we look out a world that continues to haze, bully, and unjustly criticize others. The harm is especially wrong-headed when it is done for a kind of perverted entertainment value. Mike Cameron's fascinating story of good man who faced endless unfair criticism, discloses the harm that we do when we pass along unjust criticism of others and engage in name-calling.

You have to get into Maddie Takes the Ice a little deeper to appreciate the positive messages from this middle grade book.In this way the book avoids turning its highly sensitive audience off. We all know stories about "misfit" kids who are maligned by their peers. In Maddie, Nicolette House explores the world of someone who is not odd or an ugly duckling, foolish or forgetful. In fact, Maddie is a good student, an excellent athlete, and she comes from an excellent home. She is hard working in both figure skating and schoolwork. But the author shows that even in such a positive environment, a young athlete opens herself up to certain pressures, petty jealousies, and other challenges when she attempts to achieve something exceptional. The pressure Maddie puts upon herself is oppressive and it starts to impact her in unhealthy ways. In the end, she learns to seek help from those who are closest to her. She opens up to her mom and her coach, and it makes a big difference in her life.

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