Book Review – The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento is the tale of a ballplayer who grew up surfing and playing cricket with his father who finds baseball. The player, Damian, turns out to be a fine player and signs on with an American team to play in the minor leagues.

It’s an interesting story of an Australian traveling to the USA to play ball. The story shows a young boy struggling to find his way in the world of baseball. Seen as an outsider, he has to work hard to impress and move up the ranks to reach his goal of making the major leagues one day.

The story takes place in the early 1990’s before the Australian Baseball League was formed. So Damian learns the ropes of the game through the tournaments around Australia. He rises fast in the ranks of the Australian players and is soon signed to a minor league deal with one of the fictitious Sacramento Sea Lions’ minor league teams.

Damion travels around the US playing in small towns in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, and others getting a good dose of small town America which is very different than what he is used to back home in Perth, Australia. You get to ride along with Damion as he learns a few new things in life like driving a stick shift.

The book focuses not only on the baseball side of life for Damion, but also the trials he has in his love life. He leaves a girl back home and the long distance relationship is too much to handle for the two of them.

There is humor in the book as well. Anytime you get a bunch of young guys together for long periods of time funny things are going to happen. Thrown in some alcohol and things can get out of hand for a few of the ballplayers. It’s a lighter side of the life of a ballplayer that the author shows here. Letting loose is something every player has to learn to do at some point to help deal with the stress of the job. Thus hilarity ensues as each player deals with the stress in their own way.

The story doesn’t stop with Damion in the minor leagues but follows his story to retirement and beyond. I don’t want to give away just how far he gets or how long he plays because I think it would take away from the story. However, I will say that he is not a one year flame out.

This is a story for any baseball fan. You get to see the game from the perspective of another country. The language used to describe certain parts of the game are different than what an American might say which makes it that much more interesting. Even a casual sports fan would enjoy the journey of this young boy because it’s about more than simply baseball. So go out and pick up a copy today.

Circle Change, a New Novel by Gabriel Busch – Book Review

In “Circle Change”, author Gabriel Busch attempts to fuse a love story with a profound tale of reflection and redemption. Luckily for the reader, he succeeds by connecting on several levels. Set against the backdrop of major league baseball dreams and aspirations, the novel has something to offer for just about any reader.

Make no doubt about it, “Circle Change” is a love story. What sets the novel apart is the allegories and layers embedded within the narrative. The recurring theme of love is prevalent on several key levels. The love of the game of baseball is something many fans can relate to and is an important setting for the story. The love between a man and a woman is a universal motif and firmly addressed. The love of the city of New Orleans is clear in the characters’ interaction between each other and the city in which they live. Most importantly of all, the novel fundamentally addresses the notion of self-love through introspection, grief, forgiveness and redemption. No easy feat but Busch seems up to the task.

The story begins with Traynor Hamilton, a minor league phenom pitcher in the Houston Astros organization fulfilling his lifelong dream (and destiny) to become a major league pitcher. Originally from the US Northeast, he toils for the New Orleans affiliate baseball team of the big league club and grows to love his adopted city. In the process, he befriends an older, wise mentor in the form of his friend Charles who is constantly espousing sage ideals and infusing Traynor with a zest for life. Upon seeing a beautiful woman outside of an art gallery, Traynor recruits Charles to assist in his quest to meet her. Once he is acquainted with Gracie, they fall in love not only with each other, but also with the city of New Orleans, with the notion of spiritual growth (attained through the practise of yoga) and with the idea of Traynor making the big leagues. And make the big leagues he does. Like any good morality play, tragedy befalls and sends the protagonist on a quest for answers, introspective reflection and, ultimately, redemption.

The novel leaves a great deal of things unexplained at its conclusion. This is clearly by design as Busch is ultimately challenging the reader to determine an answer to the question: Is redemption possible? One can seemingly be guided by others in the pursuit of this answer but ultimately Busch is telling us that we can only answer that question for ourselves. The reassuring factor lies in the knowledge that we are never alone in our journey. Be it friends, family or seemingly random strangers, our fellow companions in the human race share our experiences, grief, pain and love.

The novel has lofty ideals indeed and delivers on most levels. Numerous grammatical and punctuation errors have occurred in the digitization of the novel but this is a problem easily rectified. In regard to effort, Busch deserves an “A” for his delving equally into the worlds of baseball, love, joy, grief and loss as well as an almost supernatural turn to the story involving Native American culture and spirituality.

The style of the novel is heavily reliant upon conversation in place of detailed description and as such reads almost like a screenplay. This may be Busch’s intent as the story would play out very well on the screen. Regardless, Busch has positioned himself as an author with a unique voice with more stories to share. Time will certainly tell but his initial foray into storytelling with his debut novel seems to indicate he is well on his way.

Book Review – Golf Anatomy by Dr. Craig Davies and Dr. Vince DiSaia

There is an irreversible transition occurring in the world of golf.

Players are moving from golf technicians to world-class athletes. Greg Norman was perhaps the first in modern times to emphasize physical conditioning. Now there is a growing cadre of well conditioned athletes flooding the links and requiring new rules on balls and clubs and increasing distances and difficulties of today’s courses.

This is a healthy challenge for the average golfer and the book titled Golf Anatomy is helping to meet that challenge. It is unique in its approach by providing a visual understanding of what muscles are needed at each point of the golf swing.

This approach is critical to breaking through the wall of ‘information overload’ and endless instruction that the serious golfer finds to yield so little profit from so much effort.

Proper technique in your golf swing can best be developed through a qualified golf instructor along with a proper approach to golf fitness. It follows that golf fitness is best appreciated by an understanding of Golf Anatomy.

The authors of Golf Anatomy are Dr. Craig Davies and Dr. Vince DiSaia. Both are experienced trainers, researchers and clinicians bringing their wealth of knowledge to enhance their reader’s golfing experience.

While an infinite number of swing styles may end with the same result of hitting the ball squarely on the club face, efficiency is the key to a consistent golf swing whether you an amateur or an aspiring golf professional.

Mimicry of your favorite professional golfers is futile and can be counter productive. The key to efficiency is to make your body capable of producing an efficient swing.

The ability to efficiently mesh mechanics into an efficient and reproducible swing is not possible apart from attention to the detail of your own body’s unique capabilities.

Bringing out those capabilities is the purpose of golf conditioning. Golf Anatomy begins to show that mobility and stability are essential foundational elements for a body fit for golf.

However, it could do a better job showing the reader how stability and mobility in each segment changes throughout the golf swing to produce an efficiently sequenced golf swing.

Nevertheless, Golf Anatomy does a good job helping the reader to develop their understanding of their bodies and how it relates to the golf swing.

The following chapter topics helps the reader to logically build his or her understanding of how to build their own unique golf swing:

  • The Golfer in motion
  • Mobility for optimal swing angles
  • Stability for a consistent swing
  • Balance and Body awareness for a solid base
  • Strength for fatigue free golf
  • Explosive power for longer drives
  • Preventing injuries in golf’s five problem areas

The information in this book cannot be read and absorbed without becoming interactive with the exercises and motions described in each chapter.

As such, Golf Anatomy provides an essential learning experience for the serious golfer to not only swing efficiently but safely for a pleasurable, life-long golfing experience.