Read the stories of sports champions
Fans love to reminisce about iconic coaches, championship seasons and unforgettable upset victories by their favorite teams. These books by sports insiders are sure to enhance those memories.
Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series, by Jesse Dougherty, 320 pages, Simon & Schuster hardcover, 2020, 336 pages Simon & Schuster paperback, April 2021
Nats fans who gave up on the season after the disastrous start of 19 wins and 31 losses, and those who jumped on the bandwagon close to the climactic World Series Game Seven win, will enjoy reading this chronological account of the 2019 Washington Nationals season.
Buzz Saw explores the elements that transformed the dream of winning the World Series into a reality and erased the pain of all the previous heartbreaking near-misses. The intangible mix of stars, veterans, a young phenom, timely trades, exceptional performances by average players, clutch hitters and previously lackluster pitchers forms a lively storyline.
The book also explores the “Baby Shark” phenomenon and the introduction of a Latin vibe in the clubhouse. Buzz Saw retells the fulfillment a decade later of the promise of a first overall draft pick (who was named Series MVP) and even the leave-taking of a high-profile former first overall draft pick.
Washington Post beat reporter Jesse Dougherty is a talented journalist who makes exciting and interesting, with fresh material and new insights, a story whose happy ending we already know.
I Came as a Shadow: An Autobiography, by John Thompson with Jesse Washington, 352 pages, Henry Holt and Co., hardcover, 2020
Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson died in August at age 78 in Arlington, Virginia. His posthumous memoir is candid and outspoken, a reflection of the man who led the Hoyas from 1972 to 1999.
A native of the District, Coach Thompson emerged onto the national stage and transcended the world of sports. His memoir not only describes Anacostia’s housing projects, the Boys Clubs and schools of African-American D.C., but the hallowed courts of the Big East, the NCAA, the Olympics and the NBA. Relive the exhilarating wins and heartbreaking losses.
Thompson showers with loving tribute his mentors, teachers and facilitators — especially his mother, a graduate of Dunbar High, and his father, who was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The book vividly describes prodigies, college stars who flamed out in the pros, and those whose skills were renowned only on neighborhood playgrounds.
Thompson reminisces about future superstars he nurtured — Ewing, Iverson, Mutombo and Mourning — rival coaches he admired and his Georgetown staff. His post-coaching career in broadcasting allowed Thompson to express then-controversial ideas that, in time, many in the mainstream have come to embrace.
This memoir is more than a book about sports. Thompson writes about confronting racism as a youth and through the ranks of professional athletics. He describes his lifelong fight to right the wrongs of discrimination. Thompson considers himself an educator, first and foremost.
In this parting gift, he teaches all of us about tolerance and understanding.
The Making of a Miracle: The Untold Story of the Captain of the 1980 Gold-Medal Winning U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, by Mike Eruzione and Neal E. Boudette, 288 pages, Harper paperbacks, 2021
The U.S. victory over the USSR on the road to the hockey gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., is remembered as the Miracle on Ice. The Making of a Miracle is an insider’s account from the perspective of a key player, Mike Eruzione, who scored the game-winning goal.
It is the story of the emergence of a young man from small town sports-loving, family-centric Winthrop, Massachusetts, to the pinnacle of athletic attainment at the Olympics. That uplifting victory was achieved against the background of the Iran hostage crisis, when the country was beset by malaise.
Eruzione did not play professionally, as did many of his teammates who joined the NHL; he turned to broadcasting. His charming reminiscences are told with an assist by a professional journalist, Neal Boudette, New York Times automotive reporter.
Read about the miracle and recapture the joy you felt more than four decades ago.