Sports in Books: A List

This is post 2/2! I published my first post of this extremely short series a few days ago, and that was a discussion of sports in books. You can find that post here. In this post, I’ll be sharing some books I know that are about sports. These are books that revolve around sports or at least have sports as a large plot in them. All of these books are either queer or center around female characters (or both). I’ve read almost all of them, but not one of them, because it’s not out yet, so please forgive me if it’s not as much about sports as I think it is! (the summary is giving very very very strong clues that it is about sports, however).

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

This is actually an adult book and so for me at least I found it really slow but it’s a great story about a girl’s field hockey team in Massachusetts in 1989. There’s a bit of a paranormal theme going on it, so it’s not a realistic fiction book, but it’s nonetheless very enjoyable. I loved the way it chronicled the entire team, and yet I was able to keep track of the characters, and I loved the way that the girls were super close and super loyal to each other.

Michigan Vs. The Boys by Carrie Allen

Anyone who’s been following my blog for about a month knows how much I love this book. It’s a story about a girl who, when the girl’s hockey team at her school gets cut, tries out for the boy’s hockey team. Michigan is such a strong character, she goes through so many things, and yet she just keeps going, because hockey is the sport she loves. This book is so empowering for anyone who’s been told they can’t do something because of their gender and I hope it inspires girls to continue with sports AND to speak out when they’ve been wronged for years to come.

A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

This book literally changed my life.
A High Five for Glenn Burke is about a sixth grader, Silas, who loves playing baseball. Silas also does a school report on Glenn Burke, the major league baseball player who invented the high five–and Burke was also the first openly gay MLB player. It’s Silas’s way of beginning to admit the truth about himself to others.
This book is absolutely amazing. First of all, Glenn Burke definitely deserves more attention and I’m glad that this book can teach people about him. But also, this is just a middle grade book that is SO well written, with such a great story and a great character. This book means more to me than I could say, it’s an extremely special book to me, and I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for a book about sports.

Fence by CS Pacat

The Fence series is several volumes of graphic novels about, well, fencers. It follows the main character, Nicholas’s journey of getting onto his boarding school’s team, his (possibly one-sided) rivalry with his roommate Seiji, and the entire fencing team! Also, basically everyone is casually queer. It’s really nice to see a book about fencing because it’s not a sport you see as much as others, and for those who don’t know I actually fenced two years ago (the school year before the pandemic). I wasn’t very good at it, but it was still fun and I learned a lot about the sport.

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

My original draft of this post said that I hadn’t read this book but I quickly remedied it and this book is AMAZING. It’s about a trans boy who’s just moved to a new school and gets on the soccer team and it’s so sweet. I love the team dynamic in this book so if that’s something you enjoy, pick this up!!! It’s also very good to see trans kids in sports because that’s not something that there are books on very often.

Icebreaker by AL Graziadei

Long story short, I kinda flipped out when I learned this book exists.
It’s not actually out yet, and I haven’t read it either, but seriously, it sounds so good. It’s about two boys fighting for the top draft spot in the NHL draft but then they fall in love. I’m really excited because this is a book that it’s queer and deals with PROFESSIONAL sports, which I’m really interested to see how it goes.

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

I read this book pretty recently, and it’s a fun graphic novel about a college hockey team. The characters are really fun and it’s just an overall fun, easy book. There’s a great relationship between all the people on the team and you can tell that the author did a lot of research on college hockey, given all the little hockey lingo and the Haus, and everything else.

It was absolutely not my intention but four of these books are about some form of hockey and why are hockey books more often than anything else? (or maybe they’re just more POPULAR)

Have you read any of these books? What are some other books that you’ve read that follow sports? What did you think of this post? Please, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you so much for stopping by, and as always, stay safe and keep on reading!

Sports in Books: A Discussion

There are a lot of sports going on right now.
Essentially, there are always a lot of sports going on at the professional level, at least where I live in the USA. There’s hockey and basketball in the winter, and then baseball starts in the spring and goes through October, and football heads through fall and into winter (my knowledge on sports other than baseball is rather lacking). And that’s just men’s sports, there’s even more if you count in women’s (which, unfortunately, people rarely do). Right now, the Olympics are happening, meaning that EVEN MORE sports are happening, these ones world-wide. The Olympics these year have several new sports join the mix, including rock climbing, and are seeing the return of a few old ones, like baseball and softball (!!!!!).

Because of all these sports, I wanted to write a discussion post about them, and their place in books. Let’s begin!

Sports are practically a story themselves. This is a team, or just a person, who goes out there, plays this game with certain rules that are specific to that sport. They win, or they lose (or in some cases, tie), they might get injured or they might lead their team to this great, unassuming victory. After that game, they have a road trip to the next one, or they’re attempting school on top of this sport, or they play professionally and they do…whatever professional sports players do after a game. And sports have so many elements of a great story. There’s suspense, there’s stakes, there’s people working together (in some sports), there’s thrilling comebacks or heartbreaking losses. So why aren’t sports in books more often?

The main reason I think that this is the case is just because there are so many rules, and this mostly goes for sports books focused on professional sports. In professional sports, you have all the rules of a regular game of sports, the way to play the game is the same, and more often than not you have to explain this to a reader, but you also have things like trading players, and how many different teams there are, and standings and the farm system and the draft and the trade deadline (literally all my knowledge of this stuff comes from baseball so I’m simply assuming that other professional sports have these things). Professional sports come with a whole lot of numbers, a lot of which people just don’t understand, and so therefore it can be hard to write a book about them that allows someone who doesn’t know what those numbers mean to read it.

But what about high school sports and rec leagues? You’re able to eliminate basically all those numbers, as statistics just aren’t kept track of as much in the lower levels. But I think that these level sports are just harder to write an interesting story about. And I know, I literally just said that sports are basically perfect for stories. But unless you’re giving a play by play of a game, in which case you might want to consider having a sports blog instead of writing a book, or even become a radio broadcaster, there’s a lot of empty space in that book. You can’t just write, “I went to baseball practice, I went home, I went to sleep, I went to school, I went to baseball practice,’ etc. To be able to write a story that really hooks people, you need to write different things happening in each of those baseball practices, each baseball game that is played, and you need to do it in a way that people who are not sports fans can actually understand.

But here’s the thing–it is possible to write a book about sports, and these books are important to have out there. First of all, they can show people that people like them can play sports, and can do well in sports. In professional sports, there are so few out queer people (especially and mostly in men’s professional sports) and for a young queer kid to read a book with someone who is queer and playing sports can be really inspiring. Also, books with girls in sports are incredibly important. Did you know that by the age of 14, twice as many girls drop out of sports as boys? That’s a fact that I learned from an ad from the Olympics so thank you, ad. Women’s sports also get so much less media coverage than men’s do–women’s sports get only 6% of all sports media coverage, so it’s harder for girls to see themselves in sports. That’s why we need to have books about these things, to show girls that they CAN play sports, that there ARE other women who play sports.

Sports are a part of a lot of people’s everyday life, so why shouldn’t they be a part of books? There’s a lot to unpack in sports, there are so many stories out there that haven’t been written. In my opinion, this is an entire genre that we’ve only really skimmed the surface. People love sports, and people love books, so why aren’t there more sports books?

There are a lot of sports out there. Like, a lot. Some of which I’d never heard of until the Olympics (dressage, anyone?). Some that I still don’t know of. There are sports that aren’t popular here in the US but are really popular other places. I mean–I recently read a book about the sport of muggle quidditch of all things! (And it was super queer). So why don’t we show the world about those sports, show the world that girls play sports, that queer people play sports. Sports are such an amazing way to connect with other people, to find common interests, to have fun and find something you’re passionate about. We should show that to people in books, because there are so many more sports and people in sports than books talk about.

I’ve decided that this post will be one of two, and the next one will be a series of recommendations about sports in books!

What did you think about this post? Do you play or like any sports? Do you agree with me about this, or do you have different opinions? Please, talk to me in the comments!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by, and stay safe and keep on reading!