I really enjoy reading a good book, but my typical reading list is usually more about history. I read very few books on sports or athletes. However, there was one book I had always wanted to read, and my wife gave it to me for Christmas. The book was “Orr My Story”. Growing up in New England and being a hockey fan, this was a must-read. My wife has heard me talk about him many times, and she squirreled away that memory I guess and gave me the book for Christmas.
There are great athletes in many sports, they win championships, set records and are fan favorites. There is only one that has such an impact, it not only transforms the game as it is played, the sport completely, a region and possibly a country, that was Bobby Orr.
Bobby Orr was discovered at the age of 12 and by 14 was signed to the Bruins organization when he left home to play major junior hockey with the Oshawa Generals. By the age of 18, he was a rookie in the NHL. It is easy to just list his accomplishments, some of which will never be matched. What made this book more than a hockey book, anybody can talk about athletic glory, this was about his life and how he became the greatest player of all time, how he got there, and all the help he had. He never lost sight of that.
Sure, there were things in the book about specific seasons, but they were always in the context of the team. He covered the great seasons, but it always spoke about the people around him, his teammates, his support system, and everything that goes into making a champion athlete.
What the book highlights, is his life, the sacrifices his parents and siblings made for his success. His coaches encouraged his style of play, the community he grew up in, and his life in general. It exposed everything about him as a person, being scared and homesick when he left home at a young age to pursue his dream. The mistakes he has made both personally and professionally. He allowed us to see him as a human.
The message he tried to deliver and did excellently was, nobody does it alone. No matter what talent you have you need people every step of the way. He never forgot that. He drives this point home with young athletes today and how some parents and coaches make everything about the end game, the drive to be a professional. Many kids leave sports because the fun is being taken away through year-round training, single-minded training around one sport, systems and structures at a young age. He mentions where his passion came from, it was the fun of playing, on the pond with his friends. No systems, no structure, and in the leagues it was always a message of fun first. That is pretty rare today. I saw that change when my son was playing.
If you are a parent this is a good book to read regardless if you or your child plays a sport. If you are a parent with a young child starting out in sports I strongly recommend you read this book and if you are a coach, at any level, it should be mandatory. It is not a book about sports. It is a book on life, lessons, passion, respect, and always pursuing your dream as far as you can take it.
Because of what happened to him professionally and the greed of corrupt agents he dedicates himself through his company to work with young athletes for what is best for them and their future. He has established camps for kids where the emphasis is on learning to play the game through respect for others and of course having fun.
Here is a link that can give you some background on the man and his accomplishments, he will never talk about them, it is just the way he is. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Orr