Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Wonder Girl" by Don Van Natta Jr.

Recently finished reading Wonder Girl: The Magnifcent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Don Van Natta Jr.

Didrikson was an incredible athlete (listed in the top 10 of the Sports Illustrated listing of best athletes of the twentieth century - male or female) and the book is a solid account of both her achievement and life as a whole. At times I found my interest in Didrikson waning with the accounts of her over the top cockiness to the point of extreme rudeness, but the account of her latter years really brought her back into the realm of someone I wanted to care about. Van Natta I'm sure portrayed her as his research revealed, it was just nice to feel some semblance of warmth towards someone time as a reader has been invested with.

Completely setting aside how nice Didrikson may or may not have been at different points of her life, one thing that struck me reading the book was her struggles with eligibility for amateur competition due to her attempts to actually make a living at sports. Different times than now to be sure, but I really saw correlation between what she faced and the environment modern day college athletes compete and live in.

All in all, a good book on a remarkable athlete and competitor... one who faced adversity along the way and when all was said and done, seemed to have her heart in the right place.