Inspirational sports book out

THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco - The Philippine Star

The Philippine publishing industry is not really conducive to writing books, more so since printing is somewhat expensive, and the market is small. Authoring a book is more of a passion than a livelihood in this country, and a bestseller title is not really indicative of massive readership. In addition, big publishing houses take the vast majority of profits, and the larger bookstore chain can give authors as little as six percent of what their books are worth after all of that effort. So you have a proliferation of cheap trivia book or romance novels, which provide small, steady supplemental income to writers, who often get no more than a fifteen percent share of book sales each year.

Self-publishing is another way to go, but it has its own risks. There’s the possibility your book may be ignored by the reading public or, on the other side of the fence, photocopied relentlessly if it is of any value to students. Often your product also suffers in comparison to foreign books of the same genre or topic, and heaven help you if you write about something topical. Your book may be drowned out by larger, better marketed books of the same subject by well-known, international journalists or authors, until such time that it is no longer pertinent to the reading public. You’ll also have to compete for placing it on prime display shelves with more revenue-generating young adult or kid-friendly titles. At the end of the day, you may just be taking on a project where you have all the risk and little or no reward.

Fortunately, there are still brave souls who feel compelled to share powerful messages with their countrymen, and take on such a challenge as their advocacy. One of them is fellow sportswriter Richard Dy, a former pastor and campus minister who has self-published “Sports Icons: Gleanings from the Lives of World-class Sportspersons”, a new book that mines the faith, hope and love that has buoyed the lives of the world’s greatest athletes. This smallish book, published with the help of Richard’s wife Ava’s family’s publishing company DesignPlus, talks more about the challenges they faced on the way up and even falling from the peak of their professions, and how God and the spirit provide a silver lining to every dark cloud in the form of lessons and reminders from His word.

“None of these heroes are perfect, which is why they are such an inspiration to people,” says Dy, currently a contributor to www.philstar.com. “But we can see that there is always someone guiding them, especially during their most difficult times, these are experiences that relate to me, that I feel many people can relate to.”

Richard has been a sportswriter for 19 years, and has always had a strong voice behind his writing. He writes as he speaks, in a soft firm tone that has a power behind it that is rare in Philippine sports writing. He is succinctly direct to the point, and always reliant on his strong spirituality to talk about right from wrong. He and this writer first worked together in 2000 on www,philsports.net, the first all-Filipino sports website in the world. We were later reunited as I launched The Basketball Show in 2002. Richard has always been principled, reliable and holds himself to the highest standards. His book is reflective of that, and sheds light on many life questions we find ourselves facing regularly, but now shining through more brightly through the lives of people we admire, our sporting heroes.

In the 25 chapters, we are introduced to another side of legendary basketball personalities like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Phil Jackson and Caloy Loyzaga, history-making boxers like Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, James Braddock, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Rolando Navarrete and Manny Pacquiao. The book also features Olympic immortals Jesse Owens and Michael Phelps.

“As a devotional material, this book will encourage you to press on regardless of the obstacles that may come your way,” says UAAP champion National University’s basketball coach Eric Altamirano in his foreword. “What I like about Richard is his passion to motivate and inspire people with God’s word, especially the athletes. ‘Sports Icons is filled with life-changing nuggets that even a non-athlete can learn from. No doubt, hard work, persistence and refusal to quit are important qualities in life, but of greater importance is the daily decision to fix our eyes on Jesus, ‘the Author and Perfecter of our faith.’ (Hebrews 12:2).”

The format of each chapter is divided into four parts. START is an introduction to the sports person being discussed, and their ascent to the zenith of world sports. This is how they are most known to the public, their most popular face. CROSSOVER talks about a particular challenge or fall they have encountered, and how they have been able to embrace it as part of life, and eventually get past it. HOME PLATE is a list of questions to ponder on, perhaps in meditation. What are some of the things we may take away from this person’s experience, some of which we may find surprising. Lastly, GAME PLAN takes those questions and answers one step further, and helps you craft a definite course of action, spurred on by the life story of these heroes in the book.

As one of Manny Pacquiao’s favorite Bible quotes says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) This new creation will definitely inspire another generation of Filipinos, sports fans and non-sports alike. How the book itself came together is already an inspiring tale of love of and devotion to one’s faith.

“Sports Icons: Gleanings from the Lives of World-class Sportspersons” will be out in Christian bookstores beginning February.












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