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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Book Review-National Lampoon: Balls!

Book Review-National Lampoon: Balls!

By Eric Spikes/reporter

BallsIf Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he’d undoubtedly insist that fans of Steve Hofstetter’s book Balls! form a governing body.

He would deem them “Roosevelt’s Rapscallions” and ride through the countryside defending the book’s honor.

This scenario, adapted from the text, should tell readers all they need to know.

Balls! offers a read that stacks hilarity heartily.

Compared by Jay Leno to a certain Jerry Seinfeld, Hofstetter, also from the Bronx, has packed this wonderful book with wit, sneaky comedy and his resigned hopelessness for the New York Rangers (ink in every copy is smudged by his tears).

He takes an intelligent, though side-crackingly immature, look into the world of sports we thought we knew and knew we loved.

With a strange and great sort of humor, readers run around the diamond, touching every base from Barry Bonds’ ever-growing melon to the NASCAR driver’s incomparable athletic skill of turning left.

If learning about sports can be considered educational, then Balls! is what teachers would have snatched from students to read in the lounge.

It is edgy, nontraditional and fun.

Taking its readers on truth-be-told journeys from almost every sport’s beginnings to present day, the book can help anyone become sort of an expert.

It even touches on obscure events and semi-sports such as bobsledding, bodybuilding and hockey.

An example of Hofstetter’s unique, out-of-the-box-humor:

“In 1920 a rule change prevented pitchers from scuffing baseballs.

“After Ray Chapman was killed when he was hit by a hard-to-see pitch that fateful year, umpires actually started enforcing the rule.

“They wanted to prevent anyone else from dying, and also chicks dig the long ball … stars of the era include Jimmie Foxx, Hack Wilson and Lou Gehrig (who eventually died of Jimmie Foxx disease).”

While certainly catering to the field’s enthusiasts, the book also has much to offer the sporting layman.

It will not wow with majestic prose of any sort, though that aspect will soon be forgotten.

It would be advisable for anyone to go with Hofstetter hand-in-hand, tongue-in-cheek, through the world of sports and over the hills of the frontier with the ’Scallions.

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