Athletes can’t write

16 12 2009

I was browsing through sports books at the public library on 40th and 5th the other day when I came upon Johnny Damon’s autobiography. It’s titled Idiot, which I suppose is a reference to the 2004 Red Sox team for which he played, collectively knowns as Idiots for their underdog nature and myriad of outgoing personalities. Little did I know how aptly named the book would be.

  If you’ve ever heard Johnny Damon speak in an interview, then your expectations for Johnny Damon the author would already be tempered. But, my goodness, flipping through and reading a passage here or there made me want to poke my eyes out with the corner of the book.

There’s a reason I’ve never enjoyed athlete autobiographies: they all read like the author hasn’t picked up a book since 7th grade. (That actually might be true in some cases.)

Furthermore, athletes aren’t real interesting people. They might have interesting stories, sure. Sexcapades with actresses, stories about creepy girls (my favorite is the one where Troy Aikman came home one day during the Cowboys’ heyday and found a naked blonde waiting for him in his swimming pool) and outlandish claims to bagging tons of women (Michael Irvin, Magic Johnson, Wilt, etc.). They might have especially notable insights into their teammates and opponents. There could be funny stories about pranks they pulled on one guy or another. But they are not interesting people, by and large.

So when I was browsing through Damon’s bio, reading about how everyone thought he was so good as a star athlete growing up in Florida or how his wife didn’t want to move with him to Oakland when he was traded to the Athletics from the Royals before the 2001 season, I was able to pinpoint roughly 93 things I’d rather be doing than reading about his life.

And it was at that moment that I wondered if Damon not only is able to spell ‘ninety-three’, but if he even has the attention span to count that high without a break.

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