Wave of sports books under review

With just a few precious shopping days left before some major holiday (Boxing Day), here’s a few gift ideas for the sports fan on your shopping list. – Ed.

“Tuesdays with Morrie”by Mitch Albom

The book begins and ends the way the way it should.
“The class of my professor’s life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink flowers. The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experiences.”
Albom, an award-winning sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, was living a high-octane, highly successful life in 1995. In addition to writing his column up to five times per week, he was doing a radio show and a TV gig on ESPN.
One night he caught a glimpse of Morrie Schwartz, his old Brandeis University professor with Ted Koppel on “Nightline.”
Morrie had ALS.
“Lou Gehrig’s Disease was crippling him, eventually taking his life,” Albom wrote.
When Albom graduated from Brandeis, he promised to keep in touch with Morrie, who had been instrumental to him.
It never happened.
Now he was given another chance, and he began flying to Boston every Tuesday to visit with Morrie and taping their final conversations.
The circumstances are depressing (it got me choked up on several occasions), but there is also a sense of happiness from celebrating life and the things that should be important to human beings. Albom’s eloquent and captivating descriptions makes “Tuesdays” shine, and his ability to paint vivid pictures touches the heart in a meaningful way.
“You know Mitch,” Morrie says, “now that I’m dying I’m much more interesting to people. I’m on the last great journey here and people want me to tell them what to pack.”
Frozen Memories
by Ross Bernstein
Nothing breathes hockey like the cold air of Minnesota, and nothing is as long-winded as Bernstein’s history of Minnesota hockey.
On the national scope, 100 years of Minnesota hockey doesn’t get the attention that 100 years of baseball in Boston does. Still, the 20th century of hockey here in the land of 15,000 lakes refuses to go unheeded by the hockey faithful.
This exhaustive compilation is perfect for the extreme die-hard fans of now and of yore. For those who don’t reminisce over the American Amateur Hockey Association or the short-lived Western and Central Hockey Leagues it might be dull and overwhelming.
Bernstein doesn’t miss much in more than a year’s worth of research and writing. It’s all there. The origin of hockey in the state, through the Minnesota Rangers is there. And don’t forget the Minneapolis Millers, John Mariucci, the North Stars, all the college programs in the state, “The Miracle on Ice” in 1980 and even high school hockey.
Nary a detail is spared in this encyclopedia, including many interesting and rare feats.
“On Dec. 4, 1946, Mariucci and Detroit’s Black Jack Stewart fought toe-to-toe for more than 20 minutes is one of the NHL’s longest-ever brawls,” the book says.
This book isn’t for the casual skimmer, but is more suited for the die-hard, 50-year fan of Minnesota hockey. This state holds hockey and its traditions far beyond any other state. Bernstein thoroughly shows us why.
“Why Good Coaches Quit-And How You Can Stay in the Game”by John Anderson and Rick Aberman, Ph.D.

University baseball coach Anderson did the smart thing — rather than write about coaching issues from a sports perspective, he and a doctor help confront serious mental issues coaches face.
The book touches on unhealthy relationships between players and coaches, values and cocky players.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing — if you’re a coach.
Make sure the person you’re buying this book for is — or wants to be — a coach or they may not be too happy with the selection.