Daily Archives: March 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday ~ A Sense of Where You Are

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

Noting that book blogging often focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:

  1. Pick any bookish or literary-related media (or non-media item) released more than 5 years ago.
  2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
  3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
  4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton by John McPhee

Cover via Goodreads

When John McPhee met Bill Bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. A Sense of Where You Are, McPhee’s first book, is about Bradley when he was the best basketball player Princeton had ever seen. McPhee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made Bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. But athletic prowess alone would not explain Bradley’s magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself—his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense of responsibility. Here is a portrait of Bradley as he was in college, before his time with the New York Knicks and his election to the U.S. Senate—a story that suggests the abundant beginnings of his professional careers in sport and politics. (via Goodreads)

From my original post, February 24, 2011:

I’m not a big sports fan. I didn’t grow up with sports. Attending UNL made me into a mild Husker fan. I’ve never been to a Nebraska football game, and I had never watched a basketball game at all until Eric decided to take me to one on a whim back when we were still on campus in 1998-ish. Incongruously, I had picked up a slight interest in professional tennis before I met Eric.

Moving to Arizona intensified my sports fandom. Partly because sports are a means of maintaining allegiance to my home state. Partly because I now play a sport and am around more people who are sports fans, Eric included. And part of it is also because sports have become my seasons. The move from NE to AZ meant no more seasons as I knew them. No falling leaves, no snow, no thaw, no bloomin’ spring, but lots of what a Nebraskan might consider summer. It started with football season becoming my fall. Tennis (French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) became my respite from the heat of summer. And basketball has become my winter. I’m a newbie fan to all these things. My history/knowledge of these sports only goes back a few years, so I pick up a sports book here and there.

I have always enjoyed a good sports story. I’m a total sucker for overcoming the odds and triumphs of the spirit and all the associated tropes. A Sense of Where You Are isn’t one of those sports stories. It’s a profile. Bill Bradley was an outstanding player. While he himself might have downplayed his physical abilities, he was not particularly handicapped in any manner. Growing up, he had support for his ideas and goals. From McPhee’s profile, it seems that Bradley took what ability and talent he had, worked damned hard, and became an outstanding basketball player. While he obviously had passion for the game, it wasn’t his end goal and that’s an interesting story in itself, but not one told in my edition of the book.

My edition, published 1967, only includes Bradley’s collegiate career. It is assumed, at the end of this edition, that Bradley will go on to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, utterly leaving basketball behind. This older edition kind of leaves off in the middle of the story. But still, I came way with a slightly better understanding of basketball and bit of its history. That was worth the quick read.

It’s March. The Huskers won last night by two. It was a great game filled with the extra drama and excitement of senior night and the last game played at the Devaney Center. I’m in a basketball mood and digging this review from the archives seemed appropriate. It’s a good thing, sometimes, to read outside your box.