Review: Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games by Jeanne Hess

sportualitySportuality: Finding Joy in the Games
written by Jeanne Hess
published by Balboa Press

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Why did I pick this book: I was asked by the publicist to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

Did I enjoy this book:
Not really.

Mrs. Hess seeks to add a spiritual context to sports and competition. She does this by redefining words and attitudes typically associated with athletic matches into more cooperative, compassionate terms.

This book is well-organized, well-written, and thoroughly researched. On each page she includes copious quotes and examples from every imaginable source from Lao Tsu to Jimmy Buffett.

For me, it just didn’t work. Imagine a cross between Oprah Winfrey and Ben Roethlisberger . . .  yeah, doesn’t fit. I really wanted to like this book. Her ideas are so idealistic. But I couldn’t reconcile all that “higher consciousness” with the daily doping and sex scandals on ESPN.

I’m not suggesting that sports offer no redeeming lessons in life; they can. But let’s be honest, the most exciting part of NASCAR racing is the crash. In hockey, the crowd goes nuts when two players pummel the daylights out of each other. And don’t even get me started on football.


Would I recommend it: Sorry, I just can’t imagine a good target audience for this book.

Will I read it again: I will not.


About the book – from Goodreads: Sportuality is an examination of sports at all levels from a Western perspective, focusing on how it reflects our cultural belief in separation and dualistic thinking, as well as how sports can grow peace, understanding, and joy. Sportuality crosses disciplines of sports and spirituality to help readers-athletes, coaches, parents, and fans-evolve a higher consciousness within sports and competition. Using a journal and questions for self-reflection-called a “box score” and “time-out” -readers can reflect upon and create their own sportual stories. By examining words traditionally used within sports, Sportuality helps the reader think critically about competition, community, communication, spirit, humor, enthusiasm, education, religion, holiness, sanctuary, sacrifice, and victory. Sportuality can also expose our learned beliefs in war and violence so we might be willing to choose the alternatives of joy and peace.