Monday, December 21, 2015

The Keeper

Book 75 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from October 14-15

The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them 
by Tim Howard

Summary (via Goodreads)
"I believe that we will win."
In the summer of 2014, Tim Howard became an overnight sensation after more than ten years as one of America's leading professional soccer players. His record-breaking 15 saves for the United States national team against Belgium in the World Cup electrified a nation that had only recently woken up to the Beautiful Game after decades of hibernation.
An estimated TV audience of 21 million viewers in the U.S.—larger than those of the NBA and NHL finals—watched Howard's heroic performance against the heavily favored Belgians in which he repelled shots with his hands, feet, legs, knees, and even his signature long beard.
Suddenly an athlete who had toiled in relative anonymity for much of his career became the star of his own Internet meme ("Things Tim Howard Could Save": from Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" to the Titanic), and fielded personal calls from the likes of President Barack Obama ("You guys did us proud. . . . I don't know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home, man. You'll have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are").
In this inspiring and candid memoir, the beloved U.S. and Everton goalkeeper finally allows himself to do something that he would never do on the field: he drops his guard. Howard opens up for the first time about how a hyperactive kid from New Jersey with Tourette Syndrome defied the odds to become one of the greatest American keepers in history. He recalls his childhood, being raised by a single mother who instilled in him a love of all sports—he was also a standout high school basketball player—and a devout faith that helped him cope with a disorder that manifested itself with speech and facial tics, compulsive behavior, and extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and touch.
The Keeper is also a chronicle of the personal sacrifices he's made for his career, including the ultimate dissolution of Howard's marriage—a casualty of what he calls his "addiction to winning"—and its most painful consequence: his separation from his two children.
A treat for soccer fans, The Keeper will even captivate readers who are unfamiliar with the sport but want to know what makes a world-class athlete different from the rest of us—and where that difference gives way to common ground.

My Opinion
I could have read this cover to cover in one sitting.  It had a nice flow; a hook from the present to start off and then going back to start from the beginning.  He's easy to root for because his love for the game and respect for others comes through.

It helps to have an interest in soccer (I was able to picture most of the World Cup plays as he talked about them) but the message of overcoming obstacles and meeting milestones is universal to any athlete.

Putting it all out there makes for a very engaging read but, as with any biography I read, I always put myself in the shoes of the other people in his life.  Was it necessary for his ex-wife to have it in black and white just how long he prayed and struggled with his waning feelings for her, or to read how he put off being honest with her as she tried to draw him back in?  I know it's his story and he was definitely honest but that section was painful for me to read.  However, he redeems himself before and after with his glowing praise of her as a mother and their abilities to co-parent together.

I noticed there is a junior version of this and I would definitely pick it up for my soccer-loving son because his message of perseverance, both as an athlete and as someone with Tourette Syndrome, is a good and strong one to hear.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"I can't know what's coming. I can only know how to make myself feel ready for it."

"I was 18 years old. I had a Superman tattoo, and someone was paying me to play a sport I loved.
 My senior quote, in the yearbook that would come out after I'd already started playing professionally, was based on a lyric from Public Enemy: It will take a nation of millions to hold me back."

"It's hard to juggle it all week after week. It's hard to go seamlessly between Family Man and Professional Athlete, back and forth, without missing a beat. Sometimes, you just want to lock yourself up in a room somewhere, get your head into the space that pushes you to win. Or - if you lose - allows you to snap out of your funk.
  And that's hard enough to keep up every week straight for nine months.
  Then you get a break. Just a few days off, long enough to fly home in time to watch your wife give birth to your second child and get them both home from the hospital before you walk out the door again. Because you have to. Because your manager might make you the starting keeper. Because you're pushing 30, and you've got five years left - maybe ten if you're incredibly lucky - before it's over.
 Five to ten years. To accomplish everything I've ever wanted. And then - well, frankly, I had no idea what would happen then."

No comments:

Post a Comment