Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

I went to my son's basketball game today and there up on the stage keeping track of the books was Landon.  I have a special place in my heart for the now 7th grader.

  • Landon, who this time two years ago, would rather read The Crossover than watch a football game. 
  • Landon, who during the 2015  Super Bowl worked on creating a poster promoting The Crossover to win the Newbery award, rather than root for The Patriots or Seahawks (or even watch the commercials!)
  • Landon, whose favorite 2014 Christmas gift was The Crossover.  When it got eaten by his dog he made his mom search far and wee on the likes of ebay and Amazon for an original copy (sans gold sticker) so that when Kwame Alexander visited our school that May he would know that Landon was behind him from the beginning.
  • Landon, who like me, was so upset the morning of February 2, 2015 to find out that it was a snow day that we both cried.
  • And Lucky Landon, who when Kwame did visit Castleton Elementary School in May 2015, got to go on stage and interview him as a guest on "The Landon Show", a moment in time that none of us will ever forget.
So, when I pulled out my arc  (that I just happened to have in my bag of tricks) of The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life, Kwame's newest to hit shelves on February 14, 2017 and showed Landon the shout-out to us and Mr. Reischer in the acknowledgements and told him how much he will love this book, Landon just grinned and Mom clearly said, "I know what you're getting for Valentine's Day!"  Love is love is love.

How cool is this???!!!! (Sid's name is spelled wrong but should be fixed by 2/14!)

Here are 52 rules of basketball translated to life.  Although I was never a basketball player myself and only became a fan when I went to graduate school in Terp country and met my husband, these rules still apply. Several even have references to leaps in them--oh yeah!

Rule #8
When you find
On a fast break
And slam dunk
The opportunity.

or (and I love this one)

Rule #12 
You can always

Do better than you did
Work harder than you worked
Leap broader than you leapt


Dig deeper
Claw harder
Rebound better

Than ever before.
Then there's Rule #17 that says that "Sometimes, we need/Others/To motivate us..." Sometimes?  For me it is All. The. Time.

And as motivating and inspiring the poems are, it's the prose that I really love in this book.  Kwame's personal journey from basketball to tennis.  The short biographical sketches on Venus, Serena and Pele.  Wilma Rudolph and LeBron. All people who have beaten the odds.  Yes, they had talent but they also may have abided by the 10,000 hour rule and worked pretty darn hard to get to the stardom that they can claim as their own.  There are also quotes sprinkled throughout by people as current as Steph Curry (my son's idol) to Mia Hamm to Michelle Obama, Arthur Ashe and so many more.  They should have made this a book with one sided perforated pages--all you want to do is cut out and hang up every poem and quote and plaster your wall with wisdom and inspiration.

When Kwame came and visited us back in May 2015, Mr. Reischer gave him a book of rules written by our students (Landon included), influenced by The Crossover.  We like to think we inspired Kwame as he continues to inspire us.  In his Pele essay, Kwame writes, "His dream had become a reality. But sometimes reality becomes even bigger than our dreams."  I had to stop and think for a moment here. Any chance you know this first hand, Kwame?

So we know what Landon is getting for Valentine's Day.  What about you?

I'm always trying to leap broader!

The first time I read this book I snapped a picture and here it is--August 2015

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