Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan's Soul: Stories of Insight, Inspiration and Laughter in the World of Sports

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This latest collection of Chicken Soup celebrates sports. From major leaguers to little leaguers, from hockey stars to figure skaters, and from horseracing to mushing, the stories in this book highlight the positive and transformative nature of sports. As you read, Chicken Soup for the Sports' Fan's Soul, you will see sports as one of our most important and powerful teachers, one that teaches us to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat; the importance of teamwork and the value of striving. At its best, ...

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This latest collection of Chicken Soup celebrates sports. From major leaguers to little leaguers, from hockey stars to figure skaters, and from horseracing to mushing, the stories in this book highlight the positive and transformative nature of sports. As you read, Chicken Soup for the Sports' Fan's Soul, you will see sports as one of our most important and powerful teachers, one that teaches us to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat; the importance of teamwork and the value of striving. At its best, sports builds character and teaches us to oversome adversity. Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekend warrior; a soccer mom or a diehard sports fan; a marathon runner or a neighborhood jogger, these stories will provide you with treasured insights into the game of life.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty New York Times bestsellers, and coauthor of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. He is a leader in the field of personal transformation and peak performance and is currently CEO of the Canfield Training Group and Founder and Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for Self-Esteem. An internationally renowned corporate trainer and keynote speaker, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.


While Jack Canfield himself may not necessarily be a household name, it's very likely that you have heard of his famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series and nearly as likely that you have at least one of them sitting on your very own bookshelf! Having got his start as an inspirational speaker, Canfield's own story is nothing less than inspirational.

Jack Canfield had been traveling around delivering key note speeches and organizing workshops to help audiences build their self-esteem and maximize their potential when he had an in-flight brainstorm that changed his life. While flying home from a gig, Canfield realized that the very same advice he had been delivering during his in-person addresses could potentially form the basis of a book. Canfield used inspirational stories he'd gleaned over the years as the basis of his speeches, and he thought it would be a terrific idea to gather together 101 inspirational stories and anthologize them in a single volume. Upon returning home, Canfield approached friend and author Mark Victor Hansen about his concept. Hansen agreed it was a great idea, and the two men set about finding a publisher. Believe it or not, the mega-selling series was not an easy sell to publishers. "We were rejected by 123 publishers all told," Canfield told "The first time we went to New York, we visited with about a dozen publishers in a two day period with our agent, and nobody wanted it. They all said it was a stupid title, that nobody bought collections of short stories, that there was no edge -- no sex, no violence. Why would anyone read it?"

Canfield wisely practiced what he preached -- and persisted. Ultimately, he and Hansen sold the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book to a small press based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, called Health Communications. The rest, as they say, is history. There are currently 80 million copies of the Chicken Soup books in print, with subjects as varied as Chicken Soup For the Horse Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup For the Prisoner's Soul. Canfield and Hansen ranked as the top-selling authors of 1997 and are multiple New York Times bestsellers. Most important of all, the inspirational stories they have gathered in their many volumes have improved the lives of countless readers.

This year, expect to see Canfield's name gracing the covers of such titles as Chicken Soup For the Scrapbooker's Soul, Chicken Soup For the Mother and Son Soul, and Chicken Soup For the African American Woman's Soul. He and Hansen have also launched the all-new "Healthy Living" series and 8 titles in that series have already been released this year. There is also the fascinating You've GOT to Read This Book!, in which Canfield compiles personal accounts by 55 people each discussing a book that has changed his or her life. The most compelling of these may be the story of young entrepreneur Farrah Gray, who read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at the age of 11 and made his first million dollars at the age of 14!

With no sign of slowing down, Canfield continues to be an inspiration to millions, who fortunately refused to give up when it seemed as though he would never even get his first book published. "Mark and I are big believers in perseverance," he said. "If you have a vision and a life purpose, and you believe in it, then you do not let external events tell you what is so. You follow your internal guidance and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell used to say."

Good To Know

Canfield is the founder of two California based self-esteem programs, "Self-Esteem Seminars" in Santa Barbara and "The Foundation For Self Esteem" in Culver City.

Writing the first Chicken Soup book was a lot more daunting than Canfield expected. After the first three years of research, he and Mark Victor Hansen had only compiled 68 stories -- 33 tales shy of their goal of 101 stories.

Along with co-writing dozens of full-length books, Canfield also publishes a free biweekly newsletter called Success Strategies.

Some fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Canfield:

"My inspiration for writing comes from my passion for teaching others how to live more effective lives. I started out as a history teacher in an all-black inner city high school in Chicago, graduated to a teacher trainer, then psychotherapist, then trainer of therapists, then large group transformational trainer and then a writer and keynote speaker. All along the way, my desire was to make a difference, to help people live more fulfilling lives. That is what I still do today. Most people don't know this but I was not a good writer in college. I got a C in composition. Nobody would have ever believed I would grow up to be a bestselling author."

"I play guitar, and I am learning to play the piano. I love movies and some TV shows. My favorites are Six Feet Under, Grey's Anatomy, House and Lost. I love to play Scrabble, poker and backgammon with my in-laws, nieces and nephews. We really get into it. I love to travel. I have been to 25 countries and try to add two or three new ones every year."

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    1. Hometown:
      Santa Barbara, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 19, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

It's How You Play the Game

Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.
ùDaniel Considine

When I was growing up, I remember hearing and reading many times, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." In spite of these constant positive affirmations, I didn't believe that. The real world taught me the importance of winning. Finishing first at whatever I was doing became a priority, and if that didn't happen, "how I played the game" was meaningless. In my mind, second place meant first loser.

I've since learned that this winner-take-all attitude ultimately leads an individual in any phase of life to frustration and misery. And it was the world of sportsùspecifically as a fan of competitive wrestlingùthat opened my eyes to the value of doing my best and taking pride in the results, regardless of the outcome.

My son Kevin loved wrestling when he was growing up. I remember taking him to his first practice when he was only ten years old. On that warm spring afternoon, we walked into the wrestling room at Father Ryan High School, and he immediately wanted to know what was on the back wall. As we walked closer, he could see that there were fifteen or twenty plaques, each bearing an individual's picture. I explained to him that everyone on the wall was a Father Ryan wrestler who had won a state championship.

Years later, when Kevin entered high school, it was clear he was blessed with a lot of athletic ability. Even as a freshman wrestler he showed promise, and he continued to improve each year. As a senior, he was captain of a team that compiled an incredible record, and he went into the state tournament ranked number one.

He won his first match . . . he won his second match . . . he won his third match . . . and he won his fourth match. Here we were, in the finals of the state tournament, ready to claim our championship. Unfortunately, the next match didn't go well. I don't know if it was the stress of the season, the level of competition or just plain bad luck, but Kevin fell behind early in the match and he never recovered. As I watched the clock wind down in the final period, it was obvious that he wasn't going to win.

His season had ended, his high-school career was over, and we didn't have a state championship. Oh, I was devastated. I felt horrible, and I knew I was going to hurt for a long time. I believe at that moment you could've smacked me across the head with a two-by-four and I wouldn't have noticed. I stood there in shock, unwilling to believe what had just happened, and unable to accept it.

I painfully watched Kevin as he slowly took off his headgear, shook his opponent's hand, and stood calmly in the center of the mat as the referee raised his opponent's hand in victory. Then he quietly walked out of the gymnasium.

A few weeks later I received a newsletter in the mail from Holy Rosary Academy, where Kevin had attended grade school as a young boy. The school's principal wrote the following words:

One of our more recent graduates has been the subject of our daily newspaper's sports section. In two of the articles about Kevin Baltz, his prowess in the sport of wrestling was discussed. While Kevin enjoys an impressive reputation statewide in the sport of his dreams, it is his noble character that is the focus of the newspaper articles.

We who knew Kevin as a boy at Holy Rosary are not surprised that he should be honored. We enjoyed that same quiet heroism in him here. The impeccable courtesy now described by sportswriters was a hallmark of Kevin Baltz five years ago. His self-sacrificing manner, his respectful approach to peers, his devotion to friends and his spirit of cooperation were all very evident.

We are proud that Kevin's character has left its mark at Father Ryan High School, and in the sport of wrestling in Tennessee. We are grateful he was a part of our lives here. May his spirit continue to bless those he will touch in all his life's journeys.

When I read this, I sat down and cried. For Kevin, they were tears of joy. Wouldn't any parent be proud after hearing comments like these about his or her child? For myself, though, they were tears of gut-wrenching disappointment.

You see, I had watched every single match Kevin had wrestled in high school, yet I hadn't noticed all the outstanding qualities that the sportswriters and his principal recognized. I was focused on the wins, the victories, the championships. And when he didn't get that final win, I was especially hurt and disappointed. I'd failed to recognize that Kevin was diligently working to achieve victories, but always performing with character regardless of whether he won or lost. In that moment, my eighteen-year-old son became my mentor. He taught me that the pursuit of victory is a noble goal, but that winners in life appreciate the pursuit more than the victory itself.

I wish my son had won that state championship and claimed his plaque on the wall in the Father Ryan wrestling room. It was his goal, and I know how badly he wanted it. But really, he got so much more by not winning. That's because his championship plaque would forever be nailed to that wall, visible only to the eyes that walked into that room. Now, every second of the day, regardless of where I am or whom I'm with, I carry a much bigger announcement across my chest, which I'm sure most people see. And it says: "I'm proud of my son."

I applaud my son's effort and accomplishments, and his fortitude to accept that he had done his best. He taught me a valuable lesson about the game of life that has had a profound effect on me, and I am only grateful for his wisdom. I have now achieved an inner peace by refusing to accept losing as an outcome, rather recognizing that it is only a step in the process of growing.

In reality, all of us face adversities throughout our life, some that can destroy us physically, emotionally and financially. Our challenge is to stay in the game and enjoy the competition, whatever the outcome. Yes, we will experience obstacles, we will experience setbacks, we will experience defeat. They are inevitable. But winning in life is not based on the final score. It is only measured by "how we play the game."

¬ 2000 Larry Baltz, Reprinted with Permission

(c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly, Jim Tunney. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

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Customer Reviews

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( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2001

    Good book for sports fans

    This book is for anyone who has ever enjoyed watching or participating in sports, from the professional athlete to the weekend warrior, from the soccer mom to the diehard sports fan, from the marathon runner to the neighborhood jogger. The main point of the book is that sports can bring out the best in the human spirit. There is an intensity inherent in sports that amplifies our emotions and our connection with the moment and even ourselves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2001

    A great book for anyone not only sports fans

    Chicken soup for the sports fans soul is a great book. I belive that anyone would like this book not only sports fans. Everyone would be able to relate to some if not most of the stories. I like the 'magic bat' and 'the winner'. Every single author in this book brings a new emotion or felling to the book. I love how the book is brought togeather sperating each kind of story into its own chapter or section. I love the family time. I also I really enjoyed reading the qoutes and the comics. Most of the comics where really funny and intresting. Every single story cought my attion in some new and intersting way. I loved reading about others exspriances with profession athlets and other athlets, childern or some wrid stories of people who don't know what they are doing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2010

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    Posted September 27, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

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