Living out of Bounds: The Male Athlete's Everyday Life

Living out of Bounds: The Male Athlete's Everyday Life

Living out of Bounds: The Male Athlete's Everyday Life

Living out of Bounds: The Male Athlete's Everyday Life

Synopsis

Despite some enormous differences in salary among professional athletes, most aspects of their daily lives remain surprisingly constant across sports and income levels. In "Living out of Bounds" author Steven J. Overman mines a wide array of sports biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and diaries to construct a representative picture of the athlete's life. In the course of the work a portrait emerges that transcends the individual lives lived. The shared experiences of devoted training, of travel and hotels, and of tension within and beyond the clubhouse or gym, force us to appreciate the often oppressive reality of the sporting life, at the same time that the individual lives lived also provide us with a glimpse of the rewards that make sports so compelling to audiences and athletes across America.

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Excerpt

My two consuming passions growing up were reading and sports. Typically, I could be found either propped up on my bed with my nose in a book or on the school playground with a leather ball in my grasp. Given that I grew up in Indiana, the object in hand was usually a basketball, but we also played hours of touch football in the streets and softball in backyards. When I turned 13, my family moved to a neighborhood near the city park and zoo. The animal house was located next to the baseball stadium. Sitting on our front porch on a summer evening, you could hear the lions roar when they were hungry and the baseball fans roar when someone knocked a ball over the outfield fence. This sound carried heroic overtones as local legend had it that future New York Yankee slugger “Moose” Skowron once hit a ball over the center field scoreboard and clear across Main Street onto the schoolyard where I routinely played basketball.

My love of sports came from my father. He occasionally took me in tow on Bowling Night where I watched him attempt to break 200 through a thick haze of cigarette smoke. But he wasn’t so much an athlete as a fan. My most cogent memories are of him stretched out in front of the television with the sound turned down, watching the televised game while listening to another game simultaneously on the old wooden radio. This meant the Chicago Bears and Purdue Boilermaker football in the fall, high school basketball all winter, followed by a summer of the St. Louis Cardinals on radio, and the Game of the Week on TV. Even now, to hear a vocal rendition of “The Wabash Cannonball” brings back vivid memories of commentator Dizzy Dean’s voice from the CBS broadcast booth.

My love for books was nourished by the public library, a good bike ride to the edge of downtown. A favorite haunt was the library’s juvenile room on whose far wall nested a shelf of orange-covered biographies written for young readers. My reading interests, like that of many boys, included the lives of famous people. I read of presidents, founders, and frontiersmen—Andrew . . .

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