Less than one percent of high school athletes go pro.
I don't mean to be a buzz kill, nor do I mean to discourage participation in sports. My own daughters are avid athletes in several sports, and you can't argue with the physical, emotional, and social benefits of organized recreation.
But what hope is there for the 99% of those students who love sports, continue to play them through high school and even college, but don't make the cut for the pros? And what of those students who have an interest in sports, but never had the talent or opportunity or desire to play?
Those questions are answered compellingly in Game Day: Meet the People Who Make It Happen, by Kevin Sylvester. This Annick Press title spotlights twenty sports related careers by profiling professionals in the fields of auto mechanics, journalism, music, medicine, choreography, and more.
Scott Lowell, for example, is a doping control officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). To state his role more clearly, Scott keeps sports clean by watching by watching athletes pee. In his own words:
It can be tough for them. Sometimes I knock at their door at five in the morning and they have to give a sample for me. Sometimes I show up at their training site and they have just been working out for two hours. It's not easy to pee when you're dehydrated and exhausted.
Patrick Reynolds was a stock car racer until his passion for engines and performance took him from behind the wheel to under the hood of some of the fastest cars in America. When his money ran out and his own driving career was put on hold, Patrick decided to take his experience and knowledge of engines and find work as a race car mechanic. But he soon discovered it wasn't easy:
I had common sense and experience, but I really could have used a better understanding of geometry. So many of the newer crew members have a degree in engineering or computers, and that's how they are finding their way into the modern NASCAR world. It gets the doors opened for them ahead of guys like me.
Game Day blends narratives, interview segments, photos, and informational text boxes to create a reading experience that is equal parts instructional and entertaining. You can get a sense of its format from this sample page about horse trainer Ian Black.
I can see this chapter book being used in a number of ways:
- As pure pleasure reading, for students who are interested in exploring the wide range of sports occupations;
- As a read-aloud, for teachers to incorporate career awareness into reading, math, social studies, and science classes;
- As a nonfiction classroom text, for vocational students whose reading interests may lean more toward fact than fantasy;
- As a transitional text, for students who tend to skim rather than read in depth (skimming leads to more careful reading when the topic interests the reader); and
- As a an entertaining, inspiring, and informative pick-me-up-and-just-read-me-now title.
Athletes aren't the only ones with a passion for the game.