Friday, July 11, 2008

A Little Summer Reading

These are truly the dog days of summer. With apologies to Arena Football, baseball and cycling (Tour de France) are the only major sports going on right now, and we're waiting until late summer/fall when the sports calendar will really get busy again.

With this in mind, I'm sure you, like me, have an abundance of free time on your hands. Instead of wasting your lives away sitting indoors doing nothing, perhaps eating too much, sitting on the couch all day, or playing virtual games of some kind (which I do as well, so I'm not knocking it) for hours and hours, do something constructive.

If you're a college basketball fan like I am, then here's the perfect suggestion. Pick up a copy of Michael Litos' "Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball", which chronicles the 2005-2006 season and focuses on the Colonial Athletic Association, whose headquarters in Richmond are right in my backyard and a conference with teams stretching up and down the Atlantic Seaboard from Massachusetts (Northeastern) to Georgia (Georgia State).

There's a great foreword written by former Duke player and current lawyer and ESPN analyst, Jay Bilas, discussing the general state of mid-major programs in this country. Litos picks up specifically on the CAA as he's from Richmond and is a fan of VCU, one of the top two or three basketball programs in the conference in recent years. The '05-'06 season, of course, was the year of George Mason's miraculous run to the Final Four and Mason is part of the CAA as well, so there's plenty of ink devoted to the Patriots.

This book isn't just about games and on-the-court action, however, it's about more than that. It's about perseverance and dedication, trials and tribulations, the thin line between failure and success in a so-called "small" conference like the CAA. It's truly a fascinating, firsthand account of what was a special season in college basketball and for the CAA, so I recommend you head to your local bookstore or library and get your hands on this book. You won't be sorry.

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