The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP: Miracles, Memories, and the Pefect Marriage of Sports and Television By Al Michaels, L. Jon Wertheim

Publisher:  Wm Morrow
Release Date:  11/18/2014
Pages:  352
Genre:  Biography
Reviewed By WC

Book Description:  One of America's most respected sportscasters--and the play-by-play voice of NBC's Sunday Night Football--gives us a behind-the-curtain look at some of the most thrilling games and fascinating figures in modern sports.

No sportscaster has covered more major sporting events than Al Michaels. During the course of his forty-plus-year career, he has logged more hours on live primetime network television than anyone in history, having covered all four major sports championships--the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup final--as well as the Olympic Games, the Triple Crown, and many more. He has witnessed firsthand some of the most memorable events in sports, and in this highly personal and entertaining account, he brings them all vividly to life.

Michaels's stories cover unforgettable chapters over the past half century--from the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics' "Miracle on Ice" to the earthquake that rocked the 1989 World Series to the drama of what many consider the most exciting Super Bowl ever--Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and the Cardinals. Some of the biggest personalities on and off the field are here--Pete Rose, John Wooden, Brett Favre, Tommy Lasorda, O. J. Simpson, John Madden, Cris Collinsworth, Roone Arledge, Bill Parcells, Tiger Woods, Doc Rivers, Dennis Miller, and many, many more. Complementing access with insight, Michaels adds to the stories you thought you knew: Michael Jordan's eyesight; Howard Cosell's prickly, bombastic personality; even Peyton and Eli Manning's sibling rivalry.

From start to finish, Al Michaels gives us an up-close portrait of an industry that is--today more than ever--a vital part of our national culture.

WC's Review: 
"Do you believe in miracles?", Al Michaels exhorted nearly 35 years ago seated in a rickety hockey rink in Lake Placid, New York. The professional, thoroughly objective announcer, whose mentor was Curt Gowdy, let his demeanor slip for a moment and now is still recognized throughout the world for that brief moment in time.

Miracles, memories, and the perfect marriage of sports and television is the wording after the colon in the title. Perhaps. After Super Bowl III, at which the iconic Gowdy presided and at which Joe Namath not only predicted a Jets victory over the Johnny Unitas led aging Colts, but guaranteed it, why would anyone continue to watch?

Truly, the only tree upon which Gowdy could hang his hat was his public statement that the upstart Jets of the newly formed AFL had a chance. Other than that, Gowdy rambled and would have been better off pursuing Cape Buffalo on the Serengeti.

This book is not about Gowdy, who encouraged and admonished Michaels to never get "jaded." It's about the meteoric rise of the young Al Michaels whose chess pieces seemingly moved into place on their own.

Parts of his biography are tawdry and incomplete. Others are fascinating for the insight of the many folks Michaels got to know and always befriended. Although not so with aggrandizer Al Davis or alcoholic Howard Cosell, who at least knew enough to choose Muhammed Ali to support his hat.

"Dandy" Don Meredith is briefly mentioned as part of the original Monday Night Football crew. Michaels fails to inform us that Meredith is the author of the best sports quote of all time. "You know, Howie, there is more to life than football." He's right. There is baseball.

A readable book this is, as most sports biographies are. Most readers, supposedly, will figure out what Michaels made up.
Quotes By Al Michaels -
“was rooting for drama, a close game—and excitement. I loved the ebb and flow. I wanted extra innings. I wanted overtime. I wanted controversy, strategy, anything you could talk about with your friends for days afterward.”
Al Michaels, You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television
“Frank,” I said when I reached him late that afternoon, “do you remember in 1978 when you told me that Bill Walsh was the most impressive young coach you’d ever met?” “Did I?” he replied modestly. “And then you told me how impressed you were with that young attorney general in Arkansas, a guy named Bill Clinton?” “Well, I remember thinking highly of him,” he responded, still trying to play it down. “Yes, you did,” I reminded him. “So Frank, now that Walsh is headed to the Hall of Fame, and Clinton is headed to the White House, I’m calling you for only one reason. “Who do you like in the fifth tomorrow at Santa Anita?”
Al Michaels, You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television