Monday, June 16, 2008

Touchdown for Tommy!!





I guess I'd have to say that my big reading "renaissance" came between the ages of 6 and 10 years old.


Quite the world was opened for me when I discovered that:

1. I was decent at sports
(and)
2. That there were books written about other people who were decent at sports.

I remember quite clearly my second grade teacher, Miss Kennedy, approaching me while I was reading Basketball Sparkplug.
Very sweetly she said to me,
"You like sports don't you Brent."
Way too cool to acknowledge my sweet teacher,
I said.. nothing.
Just kept my eyes on the pages.

Yes, I read lots of books during those years. Perhaps....dozens.
None more exciting to me than Touchdown for Tommy.
Here was a grand book:
-Boy's has no parents.
-Boy's life has no meaning.
-Boy discovers football.
-Boy's life starts to have meaning.
-Boy hopes foster parents adopt him
-Boy....I won't give it away unless you want to read it.

Absolutely Thrilling!!

True Story:

I remember sitting around a "semi-influential group" of folks during my junior year at University of Utah . The conversation drifted to "Hey what's your favorite book?" Everyone answered and oooohs and ahhhhhs were the typical response, as in oooohhhhh I love that book! and ahhhhhh YES that's a good book!

Saved for last, with all eyes on me I was asked ,

"Well, whats your favorite book?"

I froze.

"Er, uh...Touchdown for Tommy?" I blurted.

Silence was met with blank stares.

Awkward silence.

Deafening silence.

Want to get away silence.

DANG! OK I'm not a reader!! I get it, was my thought as I shrank and sneered at the same time.

I'm not a total clod. The story ends happy.

A few short months later I received an academic scholarship that paid for my tuition the following year. Several people in the "semi-influential group" were part of determining who got the scholarship. Was it a coincidence that I mentioned "Touchdown for Tommy" to this group and a mere 2 months later received a full tuition academic scholarship for my senior year, at the prestigious University of Utah?

I don't think so.

In fact, based on this experience, I've been conditioned into believing that it's not how much you read but what your read that matters (in my case no matter how little). Obviously for me that book was "Touchdown for Tommy."


(Did I mention that I read all the books listed above?)

4 comments:

jeremy said...

You ding-dong. That was a funny story. That's another thing we have in common though. When I was a kid I also read a lot of sports books. It was the only subject that could keep me attention long enough! I enjoyed Jim Thorpe books as well.
The difference is I can't remember the title of a single sports book I read. Hmmm...maybe I just imagined it all?

Brent Hope said...

These books were a springboard for me. After reading the works of Jim Thorpe and Gale Sayers I was able to transition immediately to the Charles M. Shultz collection: Snoopy Go Home, You're a brave man Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

jeremy said...

Yeah, after I read those sport books everything went downhill from there. I soon discovered Hostess Twinkies and fruit pies. I binged on them for years which usually resulted me lying in the corner of my bedroom floor with my pants undone, hostess residue on my face, and me sucking my thumb. I still fight this battle today.

jessie said...

Those comments are funny! I didn't know you loved those sports books so much. the part i liked best was when you were too cool to say anything to your teacher. that made me laugh.