Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games - Book Review

Book Synopsis:

Sports is much more than a win-lose, physical battle between combatants but when properly understood is a way to discover a higher consciousness that leads toward peace and joy.  This new paradigm about sports is discovered by looking at the original and true meaning of words and applying them to athletes and athletics. This shift begins when learning that competition actually means to “work with” rather than “against.” This is the message given by nationally renowned volleyball coach Jeanne Hess, author of Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games.

Sportuality redefines words, and therefore changes ideas, hoping for a change in attitudes and behaviors. The key words examined by Hess are Competition, Community, Communication, Spirit, Education, Humor, Enthusiasm, Religion, Holy, Sanctuary, Sacrifice and Victory. The words’ new meaning can lead to a reconsideration of learned dualism of sport into the empathic joy of playing the games.

“Springing from seeking the true meaning of words, Sportuality continues a conversation about the role of sport in the cultural life of America,” says Hess. “The book really explores sport as a vehicle for personal transformation that causes us to work together for something greater than ourselves. This idea becomes very clear when we discover that the word ‘competition’ actually means working together rather than against.”

Sportuality crosses disciplines of sports and spirituality to help readers -- athletes, fans, parents, officials, and coaches -- evolve to a higher consciousness within sports and competition. Using questions for self reflection in "time-outs" and "box-scores," the reader can reflect upon their own sportual stories, bringing greater meaning and purpose to their games. Ultimately, the reader can grow beyond the dualistic thinking of "us vs. them" toward peace and joy.

About the Author:
Author Jeanne Hess is a nationally renowned volleyball coach whose Kalamazoo College team has finished third or higher in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) ten times, ranks in the top 30 all-time among NCAA Division III colleges, and won her 500th career victory in 2011. She is a professor of physical education, was the associate college chaplain from 2001-2008, and has also been an assistant coach in both the women’s basketball and softball programs at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo MI. She played four years on the varsity volleyball team at University of Michigan.

My Review:

Sports generally aren't my thing.  I rarely watch sports on TV and will usually only watch them when my children are competing.  With that said, I was interested in reviewing Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games because I usually enjoy uplifting, positive books and because I knew my son would want to read it as well.

I first read the book and learned a few positive lessons from it.  There are teachings on being whole, healthy, and generally happy.  Some of the sports language was over my head but it didn't mud up the objective of the book.  My son, Logan, has become interested in sports within the last year and read the book as well.  His focus was more on the statistics and stories about sports figures.  Whether you are looking for inner joy or want to know about how to connect joy into your sports performances, Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games is a faith-based book that will leave you feeling exhilarated.

I received book for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products.  Your opinions and results may differ.


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