The point of the Love-A-Thon Mini-challenge #2 is to mash up non-bookish interests with our bookish lives. How we do that is up to us. Of course, I chose photography as my medium At first I wanted to feature book photography but that would’ve been too straightforward. Haha. So, I chose sports: what it means to me, plus my thoughts on sports in books.
Always Been into Sports
Both books and sports have been with me practically all my life. My parents used to read to my sister and me all the time when we were little. Then when I could read by myself, I carried on. Same with sports. My parents ran a gym when I was younger, so that’s where I spent a lot of my time after school. When I was done with my homework, I’d crash whatever classes I felt like that day.
In third grade I joined volleyball but my family moved the year after, so I ended up joining handball for a while. Then I changed schools, where I joined basketball. And then we moved again. At my new school only table tennis still had vacancies. I played and competed for six years before I changed to floorball in eleventh grade because I wanted to join a team sport. I’ve been playing it competitively ever since.
End of eleventh grade my teachers persuaded me to join the cross-country team, and so by default I was also registered to run for track. In university I picked up field hockey, which I continued to play for two seasons with a local club after graduating. Recently I’ve gotten into trying lacrosse for fun.
Sad State of Sports in Books
As you can see, sports has always been a huge deal for me. I’ve been on school and varsity teams for the most part, and joined clubs when I could. Reading about athletes in books therefore means a lot to me. Sadly, I’ve not found all too many that I’ve enjoyed. I came across one for the first time in sixth grade. Even though I borrowed it from the library, it remains erected in my mind — Break Point by Rosie Rushton. It was about a young tennis player whose coach encouraged her to work towards going pro.
It took years before I discovered more novels involving sports. Being Sloane by Lauren Morrill was a cute contemporary book focused on ice hockey and figure skating. I thought the plot wasn’t all too realistic but I took that in my stride just because of the sports camps that the characters were at. I know there’s the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally but I found the first two that I read too heavy on the romance. For all the supposed focus on sports, the actual sports aspects were severely lacking.
Wing Jones by Katherine Webber is the most recent book involving sports that I read. It was marvellous! I loved reading about how Wing got into running and the effort that she put into bettering herself. There were also instances that made light of her thoughts and goals, which added more depth to her athleticism.
Another book I really liked was The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. This one’s about Jessica who was shattered that she couldn’t run anymore after losing a leg in a car accident. You guys, injuries are absolute nightmares for athletes, especially when there’s no telling how long it’ll take to recover, if at all! To read a book that dealt with that was amazing.
If you still haven’t had enough of runners, I also enjoyed Converting Kate. While the book’s major theme was about grappling with religion, I was so happy to learn she was a cross-country runner. You could tell that she enjoyed it as she went for runs even by herself.
My last book recommendation is The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas. In this case, rather than the main character, it’s the love interest who is on the ice hockey team. Instead of leaving it at that, Freitas chose to include detailed descriptions of what went down during matches. I almost felt like I was in attendance myself.
Jen @ Habitat for Happiness says
Very interesting read! I’ve always loved horse back riding, but surprisingly don’t really care for books about the subject. Well, I like the informative ones, but not so much the novels.
Alexa S. says
I’m definitely not a sporty person in general. The closest I’ve come is being interesting in badminton and swimming! But otherwise, I’m content to watch and be the water girl ;) I’ve always admired people with athletic abilities though! I think it’s really awesome. And I really hope there’s more YA in the years to come properly featuring sports!
I was an athlete for years, I played soccer year round on club teams an my high school and university teams and I really enjoyed martial arts. However, I’m not typically a fan of sports books at all. As a school librarian this is a genre that I struggle with because I generally don’t like it, but there is a huge demand for it and it’s so hard to find good sports stories or stories with a mix of sports. And then it’s even more difficult to find good books with female athletes, especially for the middle grades crowd. It’s like publishers forget that girls like sports too. I haven’t read WING JONES yet, but I’m hoping that one will be a good pick for sports minded readers.
I used to play sports when I was in elementary to high school but I was never interested in watching it. I recently discovered that I seem to love reading sports books and watching sports anime though! I’m not sure if you are into anime or manga but I would very highly recommend Haikyuu and Yuri on Ice! As for novels, I’m looking to start the new adult Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy. I’ve heard good things about those!
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I’ve never played sports but I do like them in books! I’m not too far into Wing Jones but I’m really liking it.
I loved the Dairy Queen series. The MC is a female football player. It’s a really fun and underrated series.
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Alyssa @ pucksandpaperbacks says
I’m not an athlete, but I do love hockey. It’s my favorite sport and I love watching it. Though, ice skating terrifies me. I agree, there should be more athletic characters! I love finding books about characters who also love hockey. I really love Not if I see you first by Eric Lindstrom because it does not focus on romance, it’s about a blind female protagonist who loves to run and she’s awesome at it. I would say On the Fence by Kasie West, too. The romance isn’t as built up, but it’s a good story about a tomboy type of girl!
Chantale E. says
Great idea! And I agree, sports aren’t really reflected in a lot of books. I’m not a sports fan at all, lol, I think it would also influence people to get more active, especially now when binge-watching TV shows and video games are very popular. #LoveAThon
Such a great subject! I’m not a fan of sports (I’m so lazy!), but I really enjoyed your blog post.
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