Rated Reads

Sports from Hell

by Rick Reilly

Rated: High

Not content with just being a writer for Sports Illustrated or ESPN — or perhaps he was bored with being a writer of normal sports — Rick Reilly decided to go on a quest: over the course of three years, he (and his lovely researcher/girlfriend, TLC) searched the world over for the World’s Dumbest Sport.

And because he’s a journalist, he felt the need to share it with the world, as well.

The sports range from the pretty cool (women’s football), to the retro (the Jart; remember those? If not, you didn’t grow up in the ’70s and ’80s), to the weird (ferret legging; in which you put ferrets down your pants while you’re not wearing underwear) to the “I wanna try” (Zorbing; seriously looks like fun), to the eye-rolling (his chapter-long rant on baseball), to the certifiably insane (bull poker). Not to be outdone, there’s a chapter on drinking games (did you know there’s a world series of beer pong?), the world championship Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament, and the Finnish “sport” of Saunaing (or whatever they call it).

It’s a completely useless book — there’s really nothing of value in here, unless you want to impress people with your synonyms for vomit — but it’s entertaining. Or, at least, it tries very hard to be.

See, Reilly’s use of similes drove me completely batty. Literally. I laughed at them at first, but as the book wore on, I grimaced and eventually rolled my eyes. I wish I had the actual book in front of me, so I could write a few of them down; they were literally that bad. And all over the place. Which I found highly distracting.

Still, it wasn’t enough for me to give up the rubberneck value of the book: the sports were so bad, I had to see what Reilly would find out next.

Oh, and for the record, the dumbest sport? Chess boxing.

Rated: High for language. It was going OK, but then about halfway through, he drops (quoting someone) about a half-dozen f-bombs. Killed a milder rating. Also: naked biking (the less said about that, the better).

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • Sports from Hell
  • by Rick Reilly
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: