I HAD A HAMMER by Hank Aaron with Lonnie Wheeler
THE LAST HERO by Howard Bryant
“…in most company though, the popular argument back then was Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle, and the popular choice was either of them. Hank Aaron had nothing to do with pop culture; he was just the best guy at swinging a baseball bat, whether or not they appreciated it on the coasts. He was a hitter for the heartland.”
This is an excerpt from the introduction to I Had A Hammer and it perfectly explains why, for most of his life, Aaron’s name was often mentioned after Mays and Mantle in the eyes of casual sports fans when ranking the best of all time. Legend? Yes. Icon? Yup. But somehow just not as big of a star… that is, until the last 10 or 15 years, when he’s been embraced by the new breed of analytics guys as a baseball marvel and by the new generation of socially active athletes as the consummate role model.
If I Had A Hammer is the unflinching, first-hand account of how Aaron dominated his sport for 20 years amidst a climate of horrific racism and societal upheaval, then The Last Hero is Howard Bryant’s expertly told story of how Aaron was perceived by the outside world, and how his dignity, his character and his accomplishments made him one of the most important athletes of the last 75 years. In the wake of Aaron’s recent passing, both of these books are worth a look.
I’m a little biased on this one because I’ma swimmer, but if you are at all interested in what it actually takes to compete on the level that Phelps did for as long as he did, then you will find this fascinating. This goes beyond tracking calories and logging workouts… These guys’ attention to detail is astonishing. From recording lactic acid levels in their muscles after every workout to measuring lung capacity and even altering how they sit and walk to maintain and increase hip flexibility, to training for 600 days straight, the lengths to which these men had to go to achieve greatness is inspiring. If you want to be the best at whatever you’re doing, listen to this interview. It’ll open your eyes as to how much more you can really do.
Make America Burpee Again by Matt Crossman
This isn’t the exact title of my friend and fellow writer Matt Crossman’s article, but this piece he wrote for Success Magazine is about how a group of people, longing for their exercise communities that have been shut down from the pandemic, decided to ban together to Make America Burpee Again. What does that mean? Simple: You commit to doing 100 burpees a day for a month. Read the piece… Then get rolling on your burpees.
KICK ASS QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Luck has nothing to do with it, I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” - Serena Williams on hard work versus luck.
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