Chasing Rocky

( 18 )

Overview

Boxers do what the vast majority of us will never do: they stand toe-to-toe and try to inflict as much punishment upon each other as possible. In Chasing Rocky, J. P. Flaim, a suburban father of two and cohost of The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC, became a part of that small percentage of people drawn to become a boxer. What started as a crazy idea from the arena seats of a professional boxing match transforms into a personal challenge that the deejay cannot ...
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Chasing Rocky

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Overview

Boxers do what the vast majority of us will never do: they stand toe-to-toe and try to inflict as much punishment upon each other as possible. In Chasing Rocky, J. P. Flaim, a suburban father of two and cohost of The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC, became a part of that small percentage of people drawn to become a boxer. What started as a crazy idea from the arena seats of a professional boxing match transforms into a personal challenge that the deejay cannot ignore.

This memoir follows the journey of this average Joe who chases his dream and discovers there's more to boxing than what can be seen inside the ropes. Chasing Rocky narrates Flaim's foray into the boxing world, where he encounters a dubious boxing promoter who sees only dollar signs, a no-nonsense trainer who tests his resolve, an aspiring pro who longs for a title shot, and an icon who has inspired millions.

Chasing Rocky presents an inside look at the brutal training boxers endure. From facing fears to dealing with the pain of getting punched, Flaim tackles the sacrifices boxers make and explores the promotional aspects-from choosing the perfect heel to creating a grand ring entrance. He shows what happens when the bell sounds and a radio promotion idea becomes a boxing reality.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468507690
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 507,368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Read an Excerpt

CHASING ROCKY


By J. P. FLAIM

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2012 J. P. Flaim
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4685-0769-0


Chapter One

SLEEPLESS IN SUBURBIA

If I didn't wake up, I'd still be sleeping. —Yogi Berra

I get up at four-thirty in the morning five days a week, and I hate it. That's actually an understatement. There aren't enough negative words in the dictionary to describe my feelings about it. I detest it. I despise it. I loathe it. Some people like to wake up early to start their day. Not me. I'm not what you'd call a morning person.

I think it started for me in high school. I attended Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt, Maryland, a school known for two things. First of all, it was a science and technology magnet school. That meant there were a lot of smart people and a lot of achievers. Okay, I know what you're thinking. Nerds. Doesn't bother me. And I'm sure it doesn't bother most of the "techies," as Roosevelt students were known. Most techies are making bank now as doctors, lawyers, biophysicists, and engineers. Ask me where one of the cofounders of Google went to high school. Go ahead, ask me! Of course Sergey Brin went to Roosevelt! You think he cares if people think he's a geek? He's only worth an estimated 16.7 billion dollars right now.

The second thing my high school was known for—and this is what I loved—is being the latest-starting high school in the state. My younger brother, Eric, and many of my friends went to the legendary basketball powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School. They started at seven- forty-five. Other buddies went to the nearby public high school, Largo. They started at eight-thirty. I wasn't even up by then! Eleanor Roosevelt started at nine-thirty.

Damn, three paragraphs into my first book and I've already lied. Okay, here's the deal. Technically, I did get up before eight-thirty. In fact, I had a paper route for a couple of years and had to deliver before six-thirty. But the good thing about my route was that it was to a set of townhouses nearby, so I could finish in almost twenty minutes. The dagger was that I still had to get out of bed. And believe me, it was a struggle. Far too often for my own good, my dad would schlep into my bedroom, which was decked with Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray posters, and shake me out of a deep sleep. With the alarm ringing in the background, I'd hear his voice filled with exasperation barking out, "John-Paul!"

If there was one thing my dad did not respect, it was lack of work ethic. In 1946, just after World War II, Paulo Flaim, at the age of seventeen, left his tiny village of Tregiovo in the mountains of Northern Italy for the land of opportunity. To get ready for the journey, he began to study English, only to hear his father say that he only needed to learn six words: "Do you have job for me?" I guess the "a" was a waste of a word.

Years later, I would hear that tale and so many more about how difficult he had it and how lucky my brother and I were. I was proud of my dad, very proud in fact. He had accomplished a lot and that was great, but it also put a lot of pressure on me. I was a typical American teenager growing up in the lily-white suburbs of Bowie, Maryland. I didn't know any better.

But my dad would remind me. He had come to this country with nothing. After a stint in the US Army, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. My dad would start, "I only went to the fifth grade. That's all they had in Tregiovo." Then I'd hear how he took the GED after the army, and how he ultimately earned a master's degree in economics while working over forty hours a week of hard labor as a stone mason in Baltimore. Oh, he also learned how to speak six languages.

So every time I got a bad grade in school—and it was frequent at Roosevelt—I'd hear my dad shout, "John-Paul! I used to work hard every day and then, even though I was tired, I'd go to school at night because I wanted to go. Whenever I had time to study, I did. And I never got a C!" I did. Lots of them.

That's why I knew I better to get my ass out of bed when I'd hear him bellow, "John-Paul!" first thing in the morning. I didn't want to get my pops bitter. I didn't want to hear that voice filled with frustration. I wanted to sleep, believe me, but I didn't need my dad lecturing me about how easy I had it. So I'd suck it up, get out of bed, and deliver those dreaded newspapers. It sucked, but the beautiful thing was that once I finished, I could go back home and sleep for two more hours. Damn, do I miss high school!

Now, some twenty three years later, I'm getting up before the crack of dawn. It sucks. But it's what I have to do. It pays the bills. Don't get me wrong, I can't complain about the job. It's a dream job. When I was taking college-level microbiology in the tenth grade, there's no way I thought I'd be arguing about the Redskins and hosting Spring Break parties for a living.

This former techie is now known to thousands of radio listeners as JP from The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC. It all started with a goofy cable-access television show that my buddies and I started on a whim in the summer of 1995. That show, The Sports Junkies, aired in my hometown on Bowie Community Television. Maybe ten people watched it, and that included my cohorts John Auville, Eric Bickel, and Jason Bishop.

John and I had attended Roosevelt together and learned quickly that science wasn't our forte. John, who I dubbed "Cakes" during our many ping-pong battles, lived just down the street from me. We had been friends since elementary school, and during those high-school years, he would trek up the street nightly to "study." Most of the time, we'd end up playing pong or battling each other in one-on-one hoops until eleven o'clock at night. You see, Cakes and I weren't shooting for As or Bs like most of the techies. We just wanted to pass. Those four years at Roosevelt were brutal. If it weren't for a steady diet of cheating and makeup tests, we might not have graduated. But at least we got to sleep in!

Eric, who lived right across the street from me and was my best friend, went to DeMatha, an all-boys school, with Jason, a six-foot-six-inch basketball prospect. Both were the furthest thing from nerds. They played sports, hung out with the jocks, and were social butterflies.

Because of the proximity of Roosevelt and DeMatha—the two schools are separated by just seven miles—and because many of us grew up as friends, we all partied together. After a few hours together, the inevitable would happen. The DeMatha boys would start to make fun of Roosevelt – in PG country we called it joning – and brag about their national rankings in sports. All us Roosevelt guys could do was fire back, "At least we have girls!"

After graduating high school in 1988, Eric and I attended the University of Maryland in College Park just a half-hour away. While I lived in the dorms my freshman and sophomore years, Eric commuted. Finally, as a junior, Eric moved out and we lived together the next two years. Neither of us knew what we wanted to do, but we did have a common goal. We were tired of school, and we wanted to finish on time. After four years of taking as many electives as possible while still remaining eligible to graduate, Eric earned a degree in psychology. His unofficial minor was sports, as he took such classes as Bowling and Theory of Coaching Basketball.

While Eric was studying sports, I was playing every intramural sport known to man. I was a decent high-school athlete, playing on both the soccer and baseball teams at Roosevelt, but I wasn't talented enough to play in college. Still, this five-foot-nine, 165-pound white boy could play intramurals in college, so I did. All of them. I played indoor soccer, outdoor soccer, softball, flag football, and basketball. It was a blast. Eric played on some of those teams with me. He also coached his brother's basketball team, where I served as his assistant. We truly were sports junkies.

It's amazing I found any time to study at all. Well, actually, I didn't. I did the minimum, but that was enough. After four demanding years at Roosevelt, college was a breeze. I went out drinking with my roommates three or four nights a week at the Cellar, a nearby dive bar. I blew off classes when I didn't feel like going. I slept in all morning and played sports all the time. But somehow, I was still able to graduate on time with a 3.1 grade point average and a degree in international business. I chose that major because I could speak Spanish, and I figured it might help me land a great job. Not at all!

As Eric and I were playing intramurals and going to every Maryland Terrapin football and basketball game possible, John was at nearby Towson State just outside of Baltimore. There he lived with two Towson basketball players, Chuck Lightening and Scott Heidler. Beyond hoops, they were heavy partiers. John was over his head and got caught up in it one semester. That and maybe too many bong hits led to a 1.0 grade-point average.

Soon his dad, affectionately known as "Mean Gene" for his fondness for arguing with us fervently on everything—from his belief that Larry Bird was overrated to his hatred of Notre Dame—was threatening to enlist John in the army during the first Iraq War. That was enough to scare John straight. After struggling to pass Accounting 101 two semesters in a row, he realized that Mass Communications was an easier path to a degree. Better grades meant fewer threats from his pops, too. John could stay in school and out of boot camp.

During one semester, John served as an intern under George Michael, the host of the nationally syndicated Sports Machine and the lead sportscaster for Channel 4 in DC for over twenty years. There John learned to log videotape of every NASCAR crash and crazy golf shot for King George, who chain-smoked cigarettes as the lowly interns grinded away searching for bloopers. Though he was about to graduate with a degree in Mass Communications, John still didn't have a clue what he wanted to do after college, just like me and Eric.

Meanwhile, Jason was embarking on a bit of a collegiate odyssey. At the University of Richmond, Jason played basketball under Dick Tarrant, the winningest coach in Richmond history, who had just led the Spiders to the Sweet Sixteen the year before Jason's arrival. As a freshman, Jason struggled in the classroom ... that is, when he went to class. Before he knew it, he'd landed on academic probation with a 0.9 GPA his first semester. That didn't earn Jason points with Coach Tyrant, as he was known to many of the Spiders. Back surgery didn't help Jason's cause either, so he decided to leave the coach's doghouse after just one season to enroll at Grossmont College, a community college in El Cajon, California, just outside of San Diego.

Jason loved San Diego, and he prospered on the court, averaging fifteen points per game. But after a year away from his friends and family on the East Coast, Jason was itching to return. He wanted to play hoops at the University of Maryland, but he couldn't get in academically, so he settled on Salisbury State near Ocean City, Maryland.

At Salisbury, Jason hung up his high-tops when he discovered basketball practice was at five-thirty a.m. Sleep was more important. And so was partying. Instead of chasing his hoop dreams, Jason focused on broadcasting. He worked as a DJ spinning records for the SSU Café, and he became the sports director of the university radio station, WSUR. There he cohosted a show called Sports Wrap, a radio show that could only be heard via the local cable-access television feed. Little did he know that he'd be back on cable-access television before long.

After graduating from the University of Maryland in May of 1992, Eric and I both became full-time members of the "real world." It sucked! Eric got a job doing research at a home for the elderly, where he literally was counting footsteps. Meanwhile, I was confined to a cubicle working as a "document control coordinator" at BF Saul mortgage company. Sure it was a fancy title, but it was also a pathetic, mind-numbing job. After four years of college, I was making copies and checking for errors on loan applications, titles, and deeds.

During that first year after graduation, Eric and I still lived together. We shared a dilapidated house on Norwich Road just outside campus with four of our buddies. The hard part for us, particularly for me, was that none of the other four idiots had graduated on time. That meant they were still in full party mode. At least four nights a week, they were getting hammered and staying out until the wee hours of the night. To his credit, and probably because he had a girlfriend, Eric was usually responsible and didn't go out with the gang. He got to bed so he could wake up for work. Me, I wasn't so disciplined.

It got to the point that I just couldn't handle the college lifestyle anymore. That seven-thirty a.m. chime from my alarm clock came way too fast after a night out with the fellas. Even though my commute was just twenty minutes, I was struggling to get to work on time. And since I wasn't exactly flush with cash, I decided to move back home with my parents in Bowie.

I had actually started to like my job a bit when I was promoted to the prestigious job of "loan closer." At times, I'd have to work long hours, but I didn't mind because I was making a whopping ten dollars of commission per loan. I felt like a high roller, baby!

Now when I went out with the fellas, I was actually willing to pick up the tab. And when I went to the ATM, I actually could take out more than twenty bucks. But I did still dread the daily dagger that was my drowsy drive into work each day.

On a typical morning, it would take me forty-five minutes to get from Bowie to Bethesda. Sometimes it would take over an hour. Every time, I was tired.

One morning, I decided to take a detour to avoid the congested Beltway traffic. That meant more traffic lights, but I should have been able to make better time. That is, if I hadn't fallen asleep at the wheel as I was slowing down for a red light. I smashed my 1990 Plymouth Laser right into the back of a Honda Accord. Thankfully there were no injuries, and the damage was minor, but I was so embarrassed. You think my boys didn't grill me? Of course they did. I was the butt of everyone's joke. Damn, I needed some sleep.

That accident was a bit of an awakening for me in more ways than one. I didn't know what I wanted to do, but after less than two years in the workforce, I knew I couldn't handle the real world anymore. I was tired of the cubicle. I was tired of the commute. And I was just plain tired.

That's why I took all the graduate school exams I could. I took the GMAT, the GRE, and the LSAT. In the end, I figured law school was the best fit. I was interested in politics and civil rights, and I had a penchant for arguing.

So in the fall of 1994, I enrolled at Temple Law School in Philadelphia. Temple was an upper-tier school known for trial advocacy, with one of the best moot-court teams in the country. It seemed like the perfect place for me. And unlike the other law schools I got into, including American University and Catholic University in nearby DC, I got a half-scholarship to Temple based on my Hispanic heritage. Since my mother, Lourdes Josefina Nieves, was Puerto Rican, I was able to save seven thousand dollars a year on tuition.

On top of that, one of my best friends was already there. Mike Fraser, another DeMatha grad who was tight with both Eric and Jason, was pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology and living in a row house in the nice suburb of Chestnut Hill just outside the dirty streets of Philadelphia. As luck would have it, his house had an extra room that was tiny, but big enough for me. I could squeeze a single bed and a desk in there. That's all I needed, especially at the cost of just two hundred dollars a month for rent.

Law school was so much better than working. It was like college all over again. I could schedule my classes for later in the day and sleep until nine or ten every morning. During my second semester, I actually tried to enroll in three night courses when I found out those classes met just once a week, but the dean of admissions informed me that I couldn't because I was enrolled as a full-time student. Oh well, it was still a sweet schedule.

The other thing that was great was that each class had only a final exam. Everyone had warned me that law school would be so hard and that there was so much reading. I even read Scott Turow's One L before my first semester, but to me it was just a bunch of hype. Sure there was a lot of reading, and the professors were intimidating calling you out during class using the Socratic method of teaching, but this couldn't touch Roosevelt. One exam! Are you kidding me? I thrived that first year, finishing in the top 20 percent of the class and earning a spot on the Political and Civil Rights Law Review.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from CHASING ROCKY by J. P. FLAIM Copyright © 2012 by J. P. Flaim. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Prologue....................xv
1: Sleepless in Suburbia....................1
2: The Contender....................18
3: The Hustler....................38
4: The Heat....................57
5: The Hurt....................73
6: The Grind....................96
7: Boxing 101....................115
8: The Heel....................125
9: The Hype....................146
10: The Fear....................161
11: Sacrifice....................178
12: Crunch Time....................189
13: The Guru....................197
14: Shakedown....................208
15: The Italian Stallion....................216
16: One Shot....................221
17: D-Day....................235
18: Fight....................247
19: Glass Joe....................258
20: Off the Canvas....................264
Epilogue....................277
Acknowledgments....................279
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Great story

    Great story of a guy that challenged himself to fight in a professional boxing match. Cleverly written including stories of life. Very good read, finished it the same day.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT!!

    Like the Rocky saga, I thought it would never end! On a serous note: For those who are looking for inspiration to keep their dream alive, get the book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    get a law degree and you're qualified to be a boxer

    apparently the best thing JP Flaim, lawyer extraordinaire is qualified for with his law degree is to get his brains pummeled in a boxing ring and talk about sports.

    Who says there are too many lawyers in America?

    This book should be given out with every entree at Bonefish Grill. It was so exciting I managed to read the whole thing despite sitting on my super comfy Sleep Number bed.

    Matt Valdez rocks.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Highly recommended for boxing fans

    As the author's mother, I'm somewhat biased but I think he did a great job describing the process, from making the decision to fight a pro to the ardous days of training to the actual fight. I'm very proud of JP! Look forward to another book by him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    I recommend it

    Pretty good book. I like how it goes into detail of his life and the people he meets leading up to the fight. Read it over the new year weekend, could'nt put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Sweet Baby Jesus

    This book is about a terrible radio personality who took over a decade to write a book about being knocked out in 15 seconds. If you think the literary hours it would take to write abouta 15 second knock out and the subsequent time the book was actually written in (many many years)....your initial thoughts would be correct...the math doesn't add up or this book is full of garbage (ps both are correct).

    If you like wasting money...please buy...I mean who wouldn't want to read about working out, hitting a punching bag for months to be knocked out in 15 second by a crack head because that isn't embarrassing at all.

    Since we are in a recession I will save you money...."I trained to be a boxer...I boxed....I lost very quickly....the end." Take your money and donate it to a charity....trust me you will feel better about yourself.


    I can't wait to go to the book signing at his house and upper deck his toilet which ultimately will be finally the final resting place of this book which I didn't buy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    15 Seconds of Glory

    If I were to walk on a football field and fall down then would that make me a football player? Even though I can catch and throw a football. If I were to be in a boxing ring and fall down, then would that make me a boxer? Even though I can catch a punch?

    According to JP this is a qualification for a boxer. This book is suitable for those on a 1st grade reading level. Pictures are nice - except the cover.

    I hope my bird can read because I know where the pages are going.

    It must be quite an achievement to spend as much time lying on the ring as standing in it.

    I can't wait for the sequel...Chasing Being Annoying. Because for this book you are well qualified.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    Riveting story

    A moving story about the worlds top lawyer who traded in this profession to become a boxer. He had houses in California, Flordia, Bowie MD, and New York. Multiple cars, part owner of the Maryland Nighthawks, drugs, and women but traded it all in to become a boxer. Heard the movie is already in the making.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Powerfull story

    This is a powerfull story of a young Ecuadorian who made his way to Bowie, MD. There he befriends a older challenged gentleman named Bruce who taught him english and American customs. However he became so good at speaking english he wouldn't stop, its later explained as "JP Flaiming". He rants on and on about his workout regime and things no one cares about. He eventually makes it to the top of the world fighting at the world famous DC Improv. This is where all the top fights in the world are held. There he fights the 99999th ranked boxer in the world and loses in 10 seconds. Even though the fight was short its considered the greatest 10 seconds in boxing. Its a must read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    The ultimate sitting on the toilet material

    This is about a surprising boxer from Peru who came to the US as a immigrant in in the early 80's. He attended school in Maryland without knowing any english. Throughout the years he learned english and talked too much. The book calls the long rants as "Flaiming." I guess its some spanish word or some slang. Long story short is that he fits some no name boxer and loses in 15 seconds. Other parts are about waking up late, no buying things for his kids at sports events, drinking mudslides, and so on.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    This book is for all flamers

    If you want to be inspired this book is for you. It has the picture of some guy raising his hand in victory for crying out loud. It's about a boxer who chases after Rocky and finally catches him at the end. Heart warming to the max. BDK gave it three BDK's. Flakes gave it 5 out of 5 cake batters. Lurch doesn't care.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    THOUGHT THIS WAS ABOUT SYLVESTER STALLONE

    THIS BOOK IS OKAY BUT ITS ABOUT SOME GUY WHO WANTS TO BE STALLONE I GUESS.....HE SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN THE BOOK ABOUT THE MOVIE "NIGHTHAWKS" NOW THAT WAS A GOOD MOVIE..

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    WOW

    This book is amazing.......My favorite cartoon was Rocky and Bullwinkle even though Bugs the bunny ranked right up there and then Daffy the duck was cool too.Okay back to the book...well it was okay I think but it needs what every movie needs,lots of Boobs and babes and this lacks in that content I think.Now I did the review so send my free windows that you guys shill for.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2012

    horrible waste of time and money

    a true and pathetic story of an E-list, soon to be out of work DJ, who fought a no name boxer as a publicity stunt to boost ratings for his failing radio show. youtube the name along with "boxing" to see his 15 seconds of fame. He was knocked out and laughed at by all.
    there is a reasong the book signing is at his house. there is a reasong people are goofing on this. the best part of the book is the ...well there is no best part of the book. it stinks

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    This book is a must read for everyone, not just Sports Junkies Fans!!!

    Loved this inspirational book by one of my favorite radio personalities.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    TOTALLY FANTASTIC and amazing

    This book has changed my life and now I feel I can go out and accomplish anything I dream of.It will inspire millions of people to go out and do that thing they always wanted to do...
    Myself.I want to be a banker and I never have achieved that success.With the inner power that I recieved from reading this book I am going to make that dream come true.Today I have applied to be a teller at my local bank.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

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    Posted December 22, 2011

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