Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review - Shot and a Ghost by James Willstrop (World #1)

It was okay. I give it 6.5 stars...(out of 100) just kidding - out of 10 of course. I wouldn't call it a literary masterpiece, but definitely worth the read, so you can know how awesome James Willstrop is, but not in a cocky or pretentious way, seriously the dude is pretty awesome. There aren't many squash players who have taken the time write a book, so maybe this will spark some interest. Maybe Jonathon Power will write a book(yeah he's more of video guy). Or better yet Ian Power, that guy is off his rocker, or so I've heard...I've met him twice and he seemed normal, except that he drinks scotch. And if you look into his eyes, it's like the first time you listened to the beatles (on acid), just kidding - I don't listen to the beatles.
Seriously, if you're into reading autobiographies about people who have persevered through hardship, show diligence in their everyday life and are pretty much better than you are in every way... this book may inspire you. I myself could not relate to James Willstrop, but could appreciate how he has dedicated his entire life and the life of everyone around him to the game of squash. I could not however agree with his life choices - mainly to be a non-carnivore. (I am currently eating bratwurst, a very meaty chilli and some roasted chicken, oddly enough there is squash on my plate as well). I will also conduct some research and interview scienticians (dietary experts with no real education, except the local community college course on the Canadian Food Guide), and come up with the real answers on fueling your body. Just remember elephants, cows, hippos, wildabeasts and all grotesque animals are all vegetarians. Cheetahs, lions, cougars, wolves and pretty much all bad-ass predators eat meat almost exclusively. Anyhow...back to the book.
James brings us on his journey as a professional squash player touring the world, sharing stories of defeat and hardship alongside gripping play by plays against the worlds top players and some shitty players. This book gives us a very simple recipe to creating a world number 1. He could have called this book Squash Dad, Poor Dad or they could make this movie with Julia Roberts (or the English gentlemen equivalent Hugh Grant) and call it Eat Squash, Pray Squash, Love Squash. You can't help but be a bit inspired by Willstrop after reading his book, cause he really seems to be a genuine nice guy who has done all the right things and through all the turmoil found success (and continues to find success). James flashes back to moments that help build his character, some very personal stories and some that you could probly find on youtube.

What was lacking for me was the craziness and immaturity that I expect from celebrities. James compares himself to Andre Agassi which may be a bit premature. We've all been there thru the "Image is everything" times with Andre and loved him wig and wigout, we loved him thru Barbara, thru Brooke, and most especially with Steffi Graf. We love the guy because we watched him grow up from an obnoxious, cut off jeans wearing marketing ploy into a legit tennis champion. I read Open by Andre Agassi in one sitting and it took me 3 days to get thru Shot and a Ghost, which is a third the length. That is not to say, that Shot and a Ghost was boring, it's more like "I just don't relate to James". I know he isn't writing an article in the enquirer, I just want a little more. I wanna know what he did last summer, I wanna know what it is he fears and loathes, I'm not asking for his basketball diary, just a little hint of a hangover.

Anyhow, buy the book, read it and be inspired, or not.

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