Category Archives: Sports

My First Book of Hockey by Sports Illustrated

Almost everything you need to know about hockey.

My First Book of Hockey
A Rookie Book: Mostly Everything Explained About the Game
Designed by Beth Bugler
Sports Illustrated
September 2016

This children’s book contains cut outs of photos of real players that are used to describe action and how the game is set up. There is a cartoon little boy who shows up occasionally to allow your child to connect and see themselves in the game. It covers very basic information, like how many players, what happens at face offs, scoring and some fouls. Exactly what a young person needs, in my experience.

My youngest guy, who is 7, is taking part in our local NHL team’s training program for new and have never played kids and so this book was my attempt to help acclimate him to that and to his first visit to watch a game live. It was very easy for him to follow along with and to get an idea of what he was watching and what he would be doing. The pictures had just enough visual appeal to keep interest (although as an adult, I found the pictures boring and sometimes out of context, but it’s not for me.)

I recommend this to others who want to introduce their children to the basics. I found it helpful.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

WWE’s Roman Reigns Q&A Video #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville highlights from WWE’s Roman Reigns Q&A from Wizard World Nashville Comic Con 2015 on 9/26/2015.

A star defensive tackle at Georgia Tech, Roman Reigns wrecked offensive guards for both the Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars before becoming a WWE Superstar. The hulking powerhouse brought his smash-mouth gridiron style to WWE’s developmental system, NXT, where he left a long line of tough opponents in crumpled heaps. But it was at the 2012 Survivor Series that Reigns made his greatest impact.

In the heat of a Triple Threat Match between WWE Champion CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback, Reigns hit the ring alongside fellow WWE NXT competitors Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins and unleashed a merciless attack on the mighty Ryback. Tearing at the beast like a pack of hungry jackals, the young competitors ruined Ryback’s opportunity to win the WWE Title and drove him through a ringside table.

Rumors that the group was working in collusion with The Straight Edge Superstar quickly spread, but those ties were strongly denied when Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose sat down with Michael Cole for an interview. Branding themselves “The Shield,” the band of upstarts in black tactical gear claimed that they weren’t in WWE to aid Punk, but to halt injustice. From then on, the group targeted anyone and everyone they saw as an example of said injustice, with Reigns slowly emerging as the trio’s juggernaut. At Extreme Rules 2013, Rollins & Reigns bested Team Hell No to win the WWE Tag Team Titles, later targeting Daniel Bryan on multiple occasions on the orders of WWE COO Triple H and his corporate Authority.

Reigns didn’t even suffer his first pinfall until nearly a year after The Shield debuted when he was eliminated by The Usos in the first-ever 11-on-3 Handicap Elimination Tag Team Match that pitted The Hounds against Bryan and his locker-room supporters. Despite losing the WWE Tag Team Titles to Cody Rhodes & Goldust, The Shield remained a dominant unit until CM Punk attempted to turn the three Superstars against each other and nearly succeeded.

Reigns’ next and potentially greatest step came in the 2014 Royal Rumble Match when he eliminated a record 12 Superstars from the contest, including a mutinous Ambrose and unsuspecting Rollins, and came in second before he was last eliminated by a returning Batista. The next night, though, The Shield were prevented from earning their way into the Elimination Chamber Match and challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Title when The Wyatt Family interfered in their qualifying bout, handing the DQ victory to Daniel Bryan, John Cena & Sheamus. WWE COO Triple H later granted the enraged Shield a request to face The Wyatts at Elimination Chamber. After a couple of weeks of circling each other, the two factions finally came to blows at the end of the Feb. 17 Raw.

But at Elimination Chamber, The Hounds of Justice fell in a hard-fought battle to The Wyatt Family. Further infighting cost them a rematch eight days later when Rollins abandoned his teammates to make a statement, but once The Authority was revealed to view The Shield as “expendable,” The Hounds turned on their handlers and unleashed hell, destroying WWE Director of Operations Kane and The New Age Outlaws in one of the most dominant showings in WrestleMania history at the 30th Show of Shows – one that saw an unbelievable double-Triple Powerbomb on the Outlaws.

Despite Triple H’s efforts to stop The Shield by re-forming Evolution, The Hounds prevailed again at Extreme Rules in an incredible battle between two of the most dominant factions in WWE history.

So persistent was The Shield’s resistance that The Game re-formed Evolution with Randy Orton & Batista to combat them, but at Extreme Rules, The Shield emerged victorious, thanks in no small part to a gravity-defying effort by Rollins. Even then, however,The Hounds weren’t done with Evoluton, as Reigns, Rollins & Ambrose went on to shut out all three members of legendary faction in a brutal No Holds Barred Elimination Match at WWE Payback. Even though Batista quit WWE the next night, the evening still threw the future of The Shield into question, however, when Rollins attacked Reigns and Ambrose with a steel chair and seemingly allied himself with Evolution.

The next week, Reigns and Ambrose vowed revenge and proved their continued strength by teaming with John Cena to defeat The Wyatt Family, but it was on June 16 that Reigns made his biggest statement yet, maneuvering his way into, and winning, a Battle Royal that entered him into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match at Money in the Bank.

Reigns would come close multiple times to retrieving the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but to the Authority’s delight did not come away with the championship gold. He would, however, get another chance when The Game placed him into a Fatal 4-Way for the title at WWE Battleground, but came up just short when John Cena retained.

**Details taken from Wizard World press releases. See

Goose by Siragusa and Yeager

Tony Siragusa, “Goose,” is all over the place since retirement. He’s got Man Cave on TV, is on the sidelines for Fox for football games, and now he’s getting in to books. The question is whether we want this much of the guy. The answer is likely, “yes!”

The Outrageous Life & Times of a Football Guy
by Tony Siragusa and Don Yeager
Crown Archetype
September 2012

Goose goes through the obligatory upbringing stories and how he overcame challenges to get to the NFL from college. But what you and I want to know has everything to do with the behind the scenes stuff in the NFL. We want to know what really goes on. And frankly, we get it. To the point where I wondered if the author understood the bridges he was burning in sharing this info.

For fans who want the dirt, you’ll get info on how players would pass urine testing in the NFL with clean urine and a catheder, and you’ll get what really goes on under the pile fighting for a fumble. You’ll also get a ton of Siragusa’s wit, charm and (unfortunately) his pride and arrogance.

In fact, it is in these “I’m so awesome I can walk in to the workout room and pick up 400 lbs just to show I can” stories that the book really bogs down. This author is hilarious and doesn’t need to tell us how great he is, and when he spends time doing it I can’t help wonder if he is simply bragging because that’s the kind of person he is or if he is trying to “build his brand.” He also had a full chapter on cheating and seemed to relish in how he took advantage of the refs and other players by pushing the boundaries as much as possible to win. It seemed like the same rational was used by those who used steroids (which he never did): Everyone else is doing it so to compete I gotta do it. I’m not sure why he put so much into these parts of the book. Whatever the reason, I skipped over these after a while and got to the more funny parts.

Like what? I laughed out loud when he told the first story of when he lined up and messed with the offense by yelling out “Hut!” How he played pranks on people. Basically, the parts that showed that this man’s true brand is the funny, John Madden-light (if you can say that about him) guy on the sidelines. Not the cheating, self agrandizing guy he wrote about in the book.

With all the faults, I have to say that I was surpised by how much I enjoyed reading this book. I intended to pick it up for a few minutes and ended up reading it in one sitting. It was insightful, well written and very funny at times. NFL fans will want to grab this one.

Note: This book has a ton of cuss words in it ranging from basic all the way to F-bombs. It also has some derogatory terms that I won’t repeat. If this is something you are sensitive about you may want to avoid it.

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Playing With Purpose by Mike Yorkey

Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow are last years rookie quarterback phenoms in the NFL. That isn’t the only thing they have in common though: they share the same faith in Jesus Christ as their saviors. This book sheds light on how these three friends came to have that faith and how they grew up and ultimately became the NFL stars that they are.

Playing with Purpose
Inside the Lives and Faith of the NFL’s Top New Quarterbacks
by Mike Yorkey
Barbour Books
Sept 2010

Each of the sections in the book are dedicated to one of the players and delves into their childhood, their careers in high school and college, how they came to faith and how their faith informs their playing. Each section is filled with information that NFL and NCAA fans would find interesting but the book shines when it comes to the players’ faith and how it impacts them on and off the field.

Since there are no first hand interviews in this book, the author relies on previous interviews, quoted liberally, and news clippings. Yorkey does a good job piecing together the biographical information on each of the three quarterbacks for the reader. This is however the biggest failing of the book: this information isn’t new; if Mike Yorkey can find the info we can too.

Another problem that I had with the book was that it seems at times to be so uncritical as to be almost a puff piece on the players. Almost a Saturday Morning special of sappy, happiness.

That said, this book does a very good job at what it says it will do and doesn’t go any further. An introduction to three of the rising stars in the NFL and their common faith. As such, Yorkey delivers an easy to read, entertaining account of the players that I enjoyed.

Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on anything he finds funny and Christianity, which sometimes overlap.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The Eastern Stars by Mark Kurlansky

This is a very complex book! – Is it a history of the sugar mills and the town of San Pedro de Macoris … or a history of baseball and its players? Yes to both.

San Pedro de Macoris is a small town in the Dominican Republic. For centuries their main industry has been sugar – exporting it to Europe and the United States. The great mills are no longer being operated, just abandon empty rusty buildings. The few left employ very few for four to six months per season. The town is extremely impoverished. Each ruling government party has bought in European and American developer to build large hotels to encourage tourism, but few tourist have come. San Pedro is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the Dominican Republic and one of the poorest.

The main mill is controlled by the existing ruling government party and at the start of the sugar season, a big banner goes up over the mill which reads “Gracias Presidente por ina nueva zafra” – Thank you President for a new cane harvest, as if he has anything to do with the good or bad harvest.

The second industry in San Pedro de Macoris is baseball. “Baseball is not just a way of life – it’s the way of life.,” says the author. Make shift stadiums are everywhere – boys of all ages play baseball in dirt filled lots with sock balls and cane stick bats. Their dream is to make it in the United States big leagues – becoming rich and famous, returning to San Pedro to build big mansions and drive SUVs. The town is overrun with scouts from all leagues – sorting through all the promising candidates. Boys as young as 14 years are signed with a major US teams to be groomed to their full potential. Some never make it to even the A league, being released and sent home. But a select few have made it to the big leagues, keeping the dream alive for all the other boys.

Seventy-nine boys from San Pedro have made it to the Majors – Jose Cano, Alfonso Soriano, and Sammy Sosa to name a few. Sammy is the only batter to hit 60 or more home runs for three consecutive years. He is one of only five players to hit 600 home runs.

The book is a story of many who sought freedom from poverty through baseball. However,the total failures are almost the same as successes. When one asked the question – Why does the town of San Pedro produce so many baseball players? The answer – Because we don’t have anything else to do and we aren’t tall enough for basketball.

Good book for baseball fans and historians. They will thank this small impoverished town for turning out such great players in a sport that has become America’s pastime. The Dominican Republic may be a challenged nation, but it sure turns out some great baseball players who have the dream of making it in the Big Leagues.

Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.