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The Tao of Sports
Cover of The Tao of Sports
The Tao of Sports
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If you find sports today to be poisoned by greed, incivility, and violence, The Tao of Sports may be just the antidote you've been searching for. It offers a refreshing look at the mysteries and...
If you find sports today to be poisoned by greed, incivility, and violence, The Tao of Sports may be just the antidote you've been searching for. It offers a refreshing look at the mysteries and...
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Description-

  • If you find sports today to be poisoned by greed, incivility, and violence, The Tao of Sports may be just the antidote you've been searching for. It offers a refreshing look at the mysteries and challenges of athletic competition. Part philosophy, part poetry, part common sense, The Tao of Sports is an athlete's spiritual roadmap to self-discovery and to understanding the great paradoxes of the Game: defeat and joy, struggle and serenity, anarchy and peace, fear and confidence.

    This little book has been used extensively by high school and college coaches and teachers, professional athletes, and anyone who has an interest in what sports has to teach us about life.

    Witty, passionate, and thoughtful, The Tao of Sports is at once a Zen guide, a coaching manual, and an athlete's playbook.

    "If Lao-tzu, who wrote the original Tao, had seen DiMaggio and Griffey, Wilt and Michael, Jim Brown and Joe Montana, he might have been moved to compose a sports version of his classic. Bob Mitchell has seen them and has done it. The Tao of Sports will improve your game—and your mind."

    —Dick Schaap, legendary sportscaster, ABC, ESPN, etc.

    "Sports is the defining metaphor of our time. In The Tao of Sports, Bob Mitchell shows with intense clarity and humor how sports can be a doorway for spiritual awareness and transformation."

    —Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Eat More, Weigh Less

Excerpts-

  • From The Text Some things were just meant to be.

    Take this book.

    Simply put, two phenomena that occurred during my lifetime have conspired in the conception and writing of The Tao of Sports. The first has been happening since the initial trimester of 1944, when I was just a fetus. It was to that period that I have traced my unwavering, unquenchable passion for sports. (Although I didn't begin my baseball-card collection until eight or nine years later, I'm convinced that I was reading box scores over—or through—my mother's shoulder during the early stages of her pregnancy.)

    The second happened when I first laid eyes on my brother's brilliant translation of Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching. Prior to that reading, there was only a handful of other writers who had elicited in me the same profound feeling that can only be characterized by the word astonishment: Shakespeare, Poe, Dostoevsky, Mallarmé, Rilke. During my first reading of the Tao Te Ching (and my second and third and hundredth, for that matter), I was struck by the utter simplicity, beauty, practicality, and wisdom of language and message.

    Further, I realized that at some point, I had begun reading the text through the prism of my own personal sporting experiences. With some surprise, I began to see that it all fit, that the lessons from the Tao that could be applied to life could equally be applied, beautifully and with almost uncanny consistency, to all the nooks and crannies of sports. That every chapter of this ancient text corresponds to problems, challenges, and situations confronted by the modern athlete. (I have, in fact, replaced the original "numbers" with specific chapter titles.) And that many of the questions I had posed while following and participating in sports during my fifty-one years (plus, of course, the fetal period) were answered, thanks to Lao-tzu and my brother.

    What has resulted from the confluence of these two passionate experiences is a book that takes the basic themes and rhythms of the Tao Te Ching and transposes them, in my own language, to the specific arena of sports. A book that, as an antidote to all the recent attention being showered on the underbelly of sports (grandstanding, violence, incivility, greed), can have us all thinking instead about issues like humility, respect, balance, and compassion. And also ideally, a book that human beings intensely involved in sports and life will find helpful, perhaps inspirational, in their continuing pursuit and understanding of self-knowledge and excellence...

About the Author-

  • BOB MITCHELL is the author of six nonfiction books, a collection of poems, and the acclaimed sports novels Match Made in Heaven, Once Upon a Fastball, and Everything on the Line. He studied at Williams College and Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in French and Comparative Literature. He has had careers as a French professor, an advertising creative director, and a novelist. Passionate about sports, as both spectator and participant, he has followed all major and minor sports since 1951, lettered in three sports at Williams College (soccer, squash, tennis), and has taught tennis professionally. Bob has lived in Paris, Brittany, Morocco, Montreal, London, Florence, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv and currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife, Susan Love (an artist), and his dog, Koslo (a Yellow Lab).

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