Always By My Side: A Father's Grace and a Sports Journey Unlike Any Other

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In the bestselling tradition of Big Russ and Me, America's most visible sports commentator tells the stories of some of the most dramatic moments in American sports and pays tribute to the man who inspired him to pursue his broadcasting dream— his beloved father, who has fallen victim to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.

Vividly written in exciting, you-are-there replay, Always by My Side gives readers an insider's look into an unprecedented sixty-three-day stretch from ...

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Overview

In the bestselling tradition of Big Russ and Me, America's most visible sports commentator tells the stories of some of the most dramatic moments in American sports and pays tribute to the man who inspired him to pursue his broadcasting dream— his beloved father, who has fallen victim to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease.

Vividly written in exciting, you-are-there replay, Always by My Side gives readers an insider's look into an unprecedented sixty-three-day stretch from February to April of 2007 when Jim Nantz became the first broadcaster to call the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the Masters. Because Nantz was unable to share the voyage with his dad, however, this remarkable journey through America's premier sporting events took on a bittersweet tinge. Nonetheless, the devoted son felt his father's presence every step of the way, and used this championship odyssey to celebrate the people, venues, and moments that tapped into all the goodness that his dad—and his dad's generation— represent.

In recounting the highlights of more than two thrilling decades with CBS Sports, this broadcasting hall of famer recalls the legends of the industry—Dick Enberg, Curt Gowdy, Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Pat Summerall, Jack Whitaker, and others—who sparked his imagination and shaped his style.

Always by My Side traces Nantz's career, from creating his own imaginary studio as a boy to his college days rooming with future PGA Tour golfers Fred Couples and Blaine McCallister to his successful network audition at age twenty-six. Along the way, readers are treated to an array of memories, including Nantz's special relationship with the former president George H. W. Bush, as well as his friendships with such sports royalty as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Mike Krzyzewski, John Wooden, and many others. Poignant stories that explore the theme of fathers and sons who have bonded through a common love of sports complete this sparkling narrative.

Always by My Side promises to be the most cherished Father's Day gift of the year.

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Editorial Reviews

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During one 63-day period in early 2007, Jim Nantz made sports television history, becoming the first broadcaster to call the Super Bowl, college basketball's Final Four, and the Masters. For Nantz, though, this unprecedented achievement had a bittersweet tinge. His beloved father, with whom he shared so much, had slipped into the clutches of Alzheimer's. Always by My Side thus serves as both a son's memoir of hard-fought victories and a valedictory tribute to a father and mentor now mostly beyond reach.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592403615
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/6/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Nantz is the signature face and voice of CBS Sports, who has covered nearly every one of the network's sporting events since 1985.

Eli Spielman, Emmy Award—winning senior studio writer at CBS Sports, has been collaborating with Jim Nantz for more than twenty years.

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    Interesting, but not what it could have been

    If you are not a sports fan, the name Jim Nantz probably won't mean much to you. If, however, you have been watching sports at all during the last twenty years, you have almost certainly heard him. Jim Nantz has been the voice of The Masters, the NCAA Final Four, NFL Football and the Superbowl during his long tenure at CBS Sports. In Always by my Side, Jim has compiled stories spanning his entire sports broadcasting career, from his youth when he would call games in his home until 2007 which saw him do what no sports broadcaster had ever done - call the Superbowl, the Final Four and The Masters in the same year. Throughout all of the stories, he ties everything back to his relationship with his father, the example and advise his father gave him and the unfortunate downward journey his father has taken as he has been consumed by Alzheimer's disease.

    The stories include a staggering number of famous sports luminaries including Dick Enberg, Curt Gowdy, Jim McKay, Chris Schenkel, Pat Summerall, Jack Whitaker, and his friendships with people such as former president George H. W. Bush, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Mike Krzyzewski, John Wooden, and many others.

    The book paints a picture of a man who has worked really hard and had a lot of great breaks to become one of the most well known and respected sports announcers in the world. Jim spends a great deal of time tying together the relationships between all of these people and his relationship with his father. I would have preferred it if the stories had gone much deeper. In many cases the stories are barely touched upon and leave a lot of questions. Also, the chronology of the story really jumps around. At times it is difficult to figure out where he is going or what period of time he is talking about. The narration jumps back and forth between events in different decades without any really compelling reason to do it. The book has the feel of being patched together out of a pile of disjointed stories through the miracle of cut-and-paste word processing.

    In spite of this, it is still a quick and compelling read. For sports fans, it is a look inside what goes on behind the microphone at the biggest sporting events. For everyone else, it is a lament by a devoted son to a wonderful father that is both heartwarming and painful. There are plenty of things to nitpick about the writing, but it is still well worth the time to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    All sugar that leaves the reader empty

    Nantz has the chance to give us a real in sight into the events and participants he has encountered and except for a gray recounting of a Bobby Knight incident Nantz has nothing but smooches for everyone. He walks Pebble Beach each year to assess his life...don't we all wish we can do this. I came away thinking Nantz is a middle of the roader who doesn't want to offend anyone. I was looking for insight, I didn't get it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2008

    Jim Nantz gets it so right again

    This book is a wonderful book, just the kind of inspiration that anyone could learn and benefit from reading. His life is just fascitnating. It should be required reading for all fathers. With all that Jim Nantz has achieved his incredible sense of gratitude and humility just shine through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    Sharing the Dream

    I'd guess that the life Jim Nantz lives is probably one that many young boys, and even grown men who admit it, wish they had.....major sporting events, playing with the greatest, being an eyewitness to some of the most historic and memorable shots, hits, putts, catches, ever to be made. Even more than that 'dream' Jim shares how his father was such a vital part of his dream life......his wisdom and guidance, his encouragement to never give up and his advice to always treat people 'right'.....even now, now that his dear father has passed on, Jim, no doubt, evokes the voice of and memory of his father each and every day. Was it a literary masterpiece like some who have reviewed have expect it should have been....no, it's not. What it is though is a great story to be read and enjoyed and inspired by....maybe to love someone a little more deeply, to appreciate one who has given guidance and mostly to never forget the parents who were always by your side!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    I really thought this book would be interesting, but it wasn't. I found this to be nothing but a boring read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    Good Stories From A Good Man

    This is a solid read. You can hear Jim Nantz' voice on every page. He's the same guy I knew in college, and in his early years of broadcasting. You get nice insight into great sports personalities, and at the same time, you learn about some of the behind-the-scenes action of network TV. I enjoyed the anecdotes about Jim being part of an outing at President Bush's (Bush 41) summer home in Maine--an outing that included Bill Clinton and Tom Brady. There are many reflections--good and some sad--about Jim Nantz' father. And they remind you to cherish the times in life that a son or daughter has with his or her Dad. Something that resonates with Father's Day just ahead....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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