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    Before I started reading Wherever I Wind Up, I hadn't really paid much attention to R.A. Dickey. As much as I enjoy watching baseball these days, the Mets just weren't on my radar at all. So when I saw him during the 2012 All-Star game, and heard about his recent climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of a mission to raise awareness to the plight of human trafficking, I was impressed enough to want to know a bit more about him.
    After reading the book about Bryce Harper, a 19 year-old phenom at the very start of his career, it was refreshing (and a little easier to relate) to read about a 37 year-old, family man and all he has gone through to get to where he is now. From dealing with a vast array of psychological and physical struggles, making very little money, doing the best he can to provide for his family - to becoming one of the best pitchers in the majors.
    There are parts of the book that make you cringe. Parts that make you sympathetic to all he has endured. Things that make you question how you would react if faced with the same things in your life. He has wears his faith on his sleeve. He has taken the circumstances of his life - circumstances that would make just about anyone else give up years and years ago - and held true to his belief that God is in control. That He has a plan, not only for R.A. Dickey, but for all of us. It may not be appropriate for the youngest readers in your family, but there are lessons to be learned for anyone that reads this book. As I turned the final page, I became a fan of R.A. Dickey. A fan of the man. The husband. The father. And yes... the pitcher. I'll be looking forward to seeing his stats for the next couple years, but even more than that, I'll look forward to hearing about what he does once his time on the diamond is over. 

 
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     I've never been much of a spectator when it comes to sports. I'd much rather be out there throwing the ball around, or playing with my kids as opposed to parking my butt in front of a tv to watch games all day. That changes when I have the opportunity to watch greatness. I know most people love to root for the underdog, and I do appreciate a good upset, or come from behind story. But even more than that, I enjoy watching the athletes that set themselves apart by playing on an almost entirely different level than the professionals around them. I was never much of a basketball fan, but I knew that if Michael Jordan was playing, there would be a chance to witness greatness. That he might do something that almost defies logic. If Tiger Woods was playing golf on a particular weekend, I would tend to tune-in for the last few holes on a Sunday afternoon to watch how he would put a tournament away. Lance Armstrong (doping debate aside because everyone he beat also doped) was still exciting to watch as he dominated time-trials and mountain stages for years.
     When I first read about Bryce Harper as a sixteen year-old in Sports Illustrated, it was another story of an athlete playing at a level far above those around him. The Last Natural: Bryce Harper's Big Gamble in Sin City tells the tale of this true prodigy and his journey from being the best high school player in the country as a sophomore, through his one year at a junior college and on to the professionals. It's a close-up look at what he goes through as just a teenager with the spotlight of the sports world following his every move, and how he is able to continue to astound people with his abilities. Stories of 570 foot home-runs. Playing 170 games a year for different travel and US teams. Choosing to play in a wood-bat league to show that the power he had at just 17 wasn't a result of the technology in today's metal bats. He had more home runs than any other player in the country, in any collegiate division, with a wooden bat, at a time when he really should have been playing his junior year of high school.
     What makes this book even more enjoyable is Harper's constant belief that everything he does is possible through God. His family and his faith are a recurring theme throughout the book, and it is evident that having that support is what makes his journey possible. Luke 1:37 Nothing is impossible with God He puts it on his baseball bats. He often signs autographs with the verse under his name. It is clear that he understands that He put him here to play baseball, and to let people know who is responsible. It certainly sets him apart from those other athletes I mentioned early on in this review. The only problem with the book is that it was nearly impossible to put down. If you want an enjoyable read, and like hearing tales of greatness, I strongly encourage you to pick this book up. Click here to purchase from our website.

 
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     Baseball gloves are a very personal item. They become a part of the player. It breaks in with you. When you put on your glove, it just feels right. The Wilson A2000 has been the glove of choice for players of all levels since 1957. The leather quality and overall construction is second to none. When well taken care of  (and not lost) an A2000 can last through decades of use. As a matter of fact, my A2000 is the only thing that I have held on to since my 16th birthday back in 1988. It has made the journey with me through high school, college, living in a number of different cities and countries. I finally added a newer A2000 to my collection when I got one for each of my sons. The A2000 is available in all different sizes and models for different positions. Wilson even added a new Showcase Series of A2000 gloves with the same quality construction, just made to fit smaller hands. Yes, at $200 it may seem like a lot for a baseball glove, but rather than buying a new $60 year after year, it is worth the investment. If you ever get tired of it (or need to move up in size) chances are pretty good you can get most of your investment back selling it on Ebay. There is a nice market for worn in A2000s. For more information, click here. And if you want something really special, customize your glove at www.wilsoncustomgloves.com.