Thank you to author, poet, creative photographer, naturalist, publicist and dear friend Zinta Aistars for tagging me in this Next Big Thing meme. I had no idea what a meme was, and as I type, I’m still learning. BUT I think it is like a sophisticated game of “tag, you’re it” that in the end lets writers reconsider their work and share it with a wider audience.

Here’s how this works: each writer tags several other writers after answering a series of questions about that work in progress. While I am new to the writing scene, I have had the opportunity to interact with and be inspired by other writers, all of whom I would call friends. They have all agreed to be tagged in my meme and to carry on the good word!

The first is writer, author and editor to several books, including my own, Robert Weir. Robert has authored Peace, Justice, Care of Earth, the story of Earth Day founder, John McConnell; Brain Tumor: Life, Love, Lessons: a medical memoir, and Cobble Creek: short stories and poetry based on the human experience. He has edited several other books, including Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, Spontaneous Evolution, and other Hay House authors. He has many essays, articles, and reviews to his credit. His new book will be co-authored with Rosalie Giffoniello in regard to her work to educate slum-dwelling children in Kolkata, India. His slogan, “have laptop, will travel” has taken Robert to fascinating destinations, each with a different, fascinating story.

Second, I’d like to introduce Karen Horneffer-Ginter, recently published author of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit. Karen is upbeat, positive, and quite humorous with her real accounts of the busy life of a purposeful 21st century woman. Her work encourages us all to stop and smell the flowers on a regular basis.

Last but certainly not least, I met Kurt David a few years ago after his work, From Glory Days appeared on the bookshelves. Being a Detroit sport aficionado myself, I resonated with his stories of retired professional athletes from each of the four major sport teams – Red Wings, Pistons, Lions, and Tigers. Kurt’s experience as a professional athlete allows him to relate well with those guys; to draw forth stories that enlighten and entertain.

That said, I’ll move on to answering the questions all authors will do in this meme:

1)      What is the working title of your current/next book?

My current book is Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games. After living with it for a year now, I have found that it requires a children’s version, so the next book will be Sportuality for Children.

2)      Where did the idea come from?

Sportuality began with the thought that we use competition more often to separate, to judge, to hate, and to justify violence, “us vs. them” thinking, and even war. Words that we use within sport, when redefined to their original meanings, can evoke more meaning and purpose for anyone involved in sport at any level. Sport needs to evolve.

3)      What genre does your book fall under?

Some might put it in the “spirituality” category, but it also appeals to sport enthusiasts.

4)      What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Several sportual movies already exist. Consider the following: Field of Dreams, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Miracle, Mighty Ducks, Bad News Bears, Brian’s Song, Hoosiers, Rudy, The Jackie Robinson Story, Rocky, Seabiscuit, and We Are Marshall…and insert others here as they come to your mind. I’m sure that more movies will continue to be made with a sportual theme.

5)      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sportuality redefines words commonly used in sport toward a higher purpose of outcomes of greater peace, love, and joy for all involved. The children’s book will be a letter to children age 4-7 so they might consider what kind of competitor or fan they want to be.

6)      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Balboa Press, the self-publishing arm of Hay House, published Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, and the Children’s book is still up for grabs!

7)      How long did it take you to write the first draft?

The original book was three years, first word to publication.

8)      What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sportuality is rather unique, in that it appeals to athletes and coaches, and also fans, parents, and officials. It definitely crosses genres, but I would call it a cross between Marianne Williamson’s “Return to Love” and “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand.

9)      Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A 30+ year career as a NCAA Division III volleyball coach combined with being married to a Division I women’s basketball coach, and parenting 2 professional athletes. I’m a pretty competitive person in a chaplain’s body, and I believe that sport has the ability to shift culture from a fear-based, violent culture toward a love-based, positive way to find one’s joy.

10)   What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Sportuality is an examination of sports at all levels from a Western perspective, focusing on how it reflects our cultural belief in separation and dualistic thinking, as well as how sports can grow peace, understanding, and joy. Sportuality crosses disciplines of sports and spirituality to help readers-athletes, coaches, parents, and fans-evolve a higher consciousness within sports and competition. Using a journal and questions for self-reflection-called a “box score” and “time-out” -readers can reflect upon and create their own sportual stories. By examining words traditionally used within sports, Sportuality helps the reader think critically about competition, community, communication, spirit, humor, enthusiasm, education, religion, holiness, sanctuary, sacrifice, and victory. Sportuality can also expose our learned beliefs in war and violence so we might be willing to choose the alternatives of joy and peace.

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