As a publisher who produces books that promote the good in sports, sometimes it seems awkward to get down the “million dollar” question: Is the book worth the money.
Perhaps the most difficult book we produced was Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three of More Championships by Patrick McCaskey. This was an outstanding book to work on and I think it should be in every engaged-NFL fan’s library. In examining the football lives of the most successful coaches, McCaskey provides quite a bit of NFL history. In some ways, much of what he was doing was unique. For example, covering the life of Guy Chamberlin required much research and we also connected with his family. At the time, I also believe we helped resurrect his legacy. Chamberlin coached in the first decade of the 20th century. The teams that won championships under Guy Chamberlin are all teams that went our of existence. No NFL team is carrying on his legacy. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and as a former star at Nebraska, the Nebraska Chamberlin Award highlights his deeds, but he was definitely an underdog in the minds of most NFL fans and many sports writers. How do I know that? ESPN produced a webpage about the Greatest Coaches in NFL History just as we were working on our book. In much of the articles and posts written on the program, it was obvious that many people had no clue who Chamberlin was.
Our Pillars of the NFL covers: Halas, Chamberlin, Lambeau, Brown, Ewbank, Lombardi, Noll, Walsh, Gibbs, and Belichich (through 2014). For football fans, they might be more interested in their home-town coach, but it wouldn’t do them any harm to read about any of the others. I do think this is a book should become a standard reference. Is it worth the money? You tell me.
Patrick McCaskey is a Vice President of the Chicago Bears and the grandson of George Halas. He is a popular speaker on the Chicago Bears, the NFL, and sports and faith (see Poems About the Gospel for example). Once we had Pillars done, we set about creating a kids book (middle grades) that told the story of George Halas, the Bears, and Halas’s winning ways–his habits of success or virtue that made him successful. Our Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways was the result of that effort. As a potential consumer, you might ask: “Is It Worth the Price?”
I belong to a church group called That Man Is You (TMIY). TMIY often looks at statistics that show just how well parents are doing at raising their kids in a faithful decent way. One of the painful points that is made is that fathers often spend on average a few minutes with their kids each day. On other hand, a parent and a child will likely spend hours each day on entertainment and social media. I don’t think I have to make the case here that much of that time is wasteful or a bad influence. Good books, good movies, good articles, good posts can help to counteract those influences. Doesn’t it make sense to get the good stuff into the hands of your kids and grandkids?
We quickly followed Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways with Baseball’s Winning Ways (young adult–upper grade school and HS). Both books include sports that will appeal to young readers, they include some American history, they include Ben Franklin‘s system for creating habits of virtue, and both have learning aids to see that readers potentially get the most out of their experience.
The Winning Ways books includes sports history and history together. It encourages kids to read and learn a little history. They are excellent books for the home, for school, and for libraries. Are they worth the price?