The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around-the-World Sports Odyssey

Overview

Now in his 11th season in the NFL, Dhani Jones has had an unusually long career for a football player. Just a few years ago, however, Dhani thought his playing days were over. Cut by the Eagles and the Saints, he was at a professional crossroads. When the Bengals called, though, he was more than ready and in the best shape of his life. And for that, he credits his off-season.

 

The Sportsman follows Dhani’s discovery that the parts of his life that, to many, seemed to be ...

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The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around-the-World Sports Odyssey

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Overview

Now in his 11th season in the NFL, Dhani Jones has had an unusually long career for a football player. Just a few years ago, however, Dhani thought his playing days were over. Cut by the Eagles and the Saints, he was at a professional crossroads. When the Bengals called, though, he was more than ready and in the best shape of his life. And for that, he credits his off-season.

 

The Sportsman follows Dhani’s discovery that the parts of his life that, to many, seemed to be distractions— including an off-season TV show that sent him around the world to learn and compete in other sports—actually served to cross-train him in ways he’d never imagined, enabling him to become more grounded, globally aware, and, most surprisingly, a much better football player.

Part travelogue, part workout guide, part Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Sportsman is an invigorating account of Dhani’s global sporting adventures and the lessons he has learned along the way. From dragon boat racing in Singapore to carrying 300-pound rocks in Iceland to biking in Italy, Dhani’s adventures taught him to be tougher, smarter, and stronger than ever. The Sportsman is a reminder that by connecting to the world through its people and customs and the spirit of competition, we empower ourselves in ways that can surpass our craziest expectations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jones, a defensive captain with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and host of the Travel Channel's Dhani Tackles the Globe, touts his blueprint for physical and spiritual renewal through sampling the world's sports in his new book. With an assist from writer Grotenstein, he survives the arduous process of being a professional football has-been, cut from two teams, and pushes his body and mind in the off-season as a world competitor in activities like surf lifesaving in Australia, biking in Italy, and mountaineering in Nepal. By recognizing the worst in himself, Jones explains in honest, bold terms that trying to best his emotional demons and physical limitations makes him "wiser, stronger, and more in touch with the world." Well-meaning and reflective, this hybrid memoir-travelogue can appeal to those wanting self-evaluation and mental and physical challenges. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

Freethinking NFL linebacker opens up about his adventures tackling the globe for two seasons on the Travel Channel.

The gridiron just isn't big enough to hold Jones, a decade-plus NFL veteran. Despite that remarkable feat, the debut author has had to continually fend off critics who say his varied outside interests distract from his game—among them, the design and manufacture of his signature bowties. The criticism reached its apex a couple of years ago when the author started secretly shooting episodes ofDhani Tackles the Globeduring the off-season. His reality show took him around the world and placed him in sporting arenas and cultures totally alien to him. Far from hindering his day job, Jones writes, butting heads with opponents as daunting as Singaporean dragonboat racers, Senegalese strongmen and latter-day Vikings has made him a much better football player. Beyond that, he insists, it made him a better human being. With co-writer Grotenstein, Jones offers a thought-provoking adventure story that's part travelogue, part sports journal and even part fitness manual. The pages turn quickly in anticipation of the next stop on Jones' itinerary. Breaking down stereotypes is fun and fulfilling, but Jones spends an equal amount of time slaying his own demons, both physical and mental.

A cathartic, inspiring tale that promises much more to come.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609611118
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/7/2011
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dhani Jones

DHANI JONES is defensive captain for the Cincinnati Bengals and the host of his own show, Dhani Tackles the Globe, on the Travel Channel. He also hosts In the Zone with Dhani Jones, a regular TV segment for WKRC, Cincinnati’s local CBS affiliate.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

The Sportsman xiii

Part 1 Laying Tracks

Dhani Makalani (Potomac) 3

Be the Outlier 11

"NSATIBL" (Ann Arbor) 13

Looking the Part 23

Pitching Tents and Tying Knots (New York) 24

The Bow Tie 28

A Good Vanilla is a Great Ice Cream 30

Foundation 32

The "D-Word" (Philadelphia) 36

Dancing in the Streets 43

The Feel-Good Space 44

Sucking it the F*** Up 46

You've Got to Suffer 51

Survival Mode 53

Wishing, Not Wanting 58

Part 2 Tackling the Globe

Disorganized Chaos (England) 67

Move Slowly Down the Hill 79

Organizing Chaos (Ireland) 81

Washing My Clothes in the Sink 89

Getting into the Ring (Thailand) 90

Optimus Prime Ain't Shit without Bumblebee 99

Mastering the Routine (Singapore) 100

The Apeshit Switch 104

Eating Sawdust (Switzerland) 105

Black Man l13

Expectations vs. Reality (Spain) 115

Learning to Talk about It 121

Back to Camp 123

Iterations 126

Yes, I Can Swim (Australia) 127

Mr. Snake (Cambodia) 133

Brotherhood 140

The 18th Man (New Zealand) 142

The Travelling Circus 148

Ice Country (Russia) 149

Cincinnati, Part One 155

Back to Africa (Senegal) 156

Give Yourself Some (Extra) Credit 166

No Problem for Jon Pail (Iceland) 167

A Selfless, Self-Centered Egotist 173

Tre Amici (Italy) 174

Modes of ExpressiOn 180

City of Artists (Croatia) 182

The Ties That Bind 189

High Passion (Scotland) 190

Even Buffaloes Have to Nap 196

Everyt'ing Criss (Jamaica) 198

Cincinnati, Part Two 204

The Perfect Woman 207

It Takes All Types (Brazil) 209

Life is Complicated, Sports Are Simple 216

Small Steps (South Africa) 217

Can't Fight Life 223

Fantasy vs. Reality (Mexico) 225

Connections 236

Mountains Don't Lie (Nepal) 238

A Note from Don Yee, Agent 247

The 11th Floor 248

Acknowledgments 251

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