Reviews of "How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit"
Review by Matt McDonnell of collegesportsmadness.com,Tue, 03/27/2012
“How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit” written by James Wolfe is an exciting book that entails much more than the title implies. The book takes you inside the life of a fictional collegiate basketball referee, Stanley Osborn. It is written in both a unique and entertaining style that grips the reader’s attention and does not let go. The fast paced, easy to read nature makes reading the book all the more enjoyable. The job of being a referee is not as glamorous as it appears, and Wolfe does a great job of taking you deep inside the life of Stanley Osborn, and the game of college basketball. His problematic life is believable and exposes issues of college basketball, officials, and the trust we place in them.
Stanley Osborne is an accountant by trade and moonlights as a college basketball referee for the love of the game. He loves being an official and takes great pride in his work and integrity. He is an honest, ethical, and hard working man. Of course this all changes in a flurry when he makes one call on a bang bang play where he whistled a charge that should have been called a block. It ended any chance the home team had of winning the game. This landed him in some hot water with the media, fans, and the Big 11 conference. Stanley moved on from his mistake; however several games later he blew his whistle on an obvious travelling call. The call was against a star guard on their home floor. The team was also coached by one of the best and highly profiled coaches in the nation. He erupted and proceeded to take his anger out on Stanley, who gave him a deserving technical. This game led to Stanley being suspended by the Big 11, and that is where he hatched his plan to come up with a scandal so big the NCAA could not ignore it and it would expose all the problems with the game he so loved – college basketball. So Stanley changed his ways and set out to rig the NCAA tournament, which is where the book gets its title. Although this may seem impossible, especially in today’s technology driven age, I assure you that it is not. However to find out how Stanley went about attempting to do this, you need to read the book. Although when you read this you will realize some problems with the game of basketball, like any other sport it has its weaknesses and flaws, you will gain some valuable insight on the challenges and integrity it takes to be an official, especially in big time college basketball. It will most certainly change how you watch March Madness, or any other college basketball game. Moreover it will give you an appreciation of referees, rekindle your love and passion for the game, and of course keep you flipping pages until you reach the end.
“How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit” is a must read book for anyone who has even the slightest interest in college sports. If you love college basketball you will absolutely love this book. It forces you to take a step back and examine the game you love. Although the book has a realistic and scary premise, it is thought provoking, entertaining, well-written, and a great read.
Rating: 5 (of 5)
Review by Blake Lovell of bustingbrackets.com
Is rigging the biggest game in college basketball really possible?
That's what the main character in the new novel by James Wolfe, How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship For Fun and Profit, wants to know.
Stanley Osborn is a college basketball referee that is tired of watching the game that he loves slowly turn into something else. A sport driven by money and politics. A sport in desperate need of reform.
So he decides to fix it. Literally.
He puts a long-term plan in place in hopes of getting a chance to officiate the grandest game in college hoops, the national championship game.
And this is where it started for me. In reading the journey that Osborn takes on his quest towards his ultimate goal, a swift dose of reality hit.
Ya know, this is actually feasible. Could college basketball be susceptible to this?
The more I asked myself that question, the more the answer kept getting strong in one particular direction: yes, yes it could.
The Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA caught everyone by surprise. But should it have? Referees are human beings, just like everyone else. They are put in a position where they control the game. They are trusted by someone to call the game right down the middle, with no outside factors influencing their decisions on the court.
Yet the biggest truth associated with refereeing is that it is subjective. And everyone knows it.
Fans and coaches are quick to put the blame on a referee for making a bad call. Why? Because they know they can. Calls are subjective. They are made based on what that particular person saw.
But due to biases and such, most fans, coaches, and players only see it from one viewpoint. The one that will benefit his or her team.
And that's where Wolfe absolutely nails it in this book. Take this excerpt, for example, from the "Notes on What I Did, How and Why I Did It" section:
Analysts and coaches are fond of saying that they like consistency of the officiating within a game so that the players know how to play. Obviously the rules don't fluctuate within a game, or from contest to contest. They are not different for different conferences or schools. But enforcement is different. What's a foul to one official isn't always a foul to another. What's a foul in one conference isn't one in another. What's a foul one night, isn't another night. What's a foul in the first half may not even be a foul in the second half. How games are officiated varies tremendously from game to game, quarter to quarter, from minute to minute. From player to player. Dare I say some stars are given preferential treatment?
Would you disagree with any of the above? I wouldn't. But in all honesty, how many times do you stop and think about officiating that way?
That's what makes this a very enjoyable read. Without a dog in the hunt, it allows us to take a step back and really think about the game itself. Is basketball in its current form vulnerable to something like this? Can something as subjective as officiating be changed so that it's not possible for this type of event to ever happen?
Sure, this is a novel. But the ideas and concepts behind it could easily apply to the state of basketball and officiating today.
A referee will never get every call right. But like the case of Stanley Osborn, what if he wasn't trying to?
RATING: 5/5 (a quick read with an intriguing story that makes you think about the state of officiating)
You can purchase the book (under 10 bucks) on Amazon by clicking here. Also, be sure to head over to jameswolfebooks.com for more information as well as other books written by the author, including sports titles like Little Balls Big Dreams and Curse? There's Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse.
Review by Dennis Berry of thebestbasketballblog.com
Book titles need to be able to grab your attention. How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit does just that. You may think you are being given step–by–step guidelines; instead you are given the story of what drove one man to go rogue and profit from betting on NCAA basketball.
The author, James Wolfe, is a sports fan himself. This is his third sports related book; he also wrote Little Balls Big Dreams about an everyday golfer turned PGA Pro. He also co–authored Curse? There Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse, a collection of sports related short stories.
This time Wolfe introduces you to Stanley Osborn. Stanley comes across as your "Average Joe". He is married with one child. He is a sports fan and works as an accountant. He also works a college basketball referee.
While he is content with his life, his wife is not. She always wants to improve something: her car, their home, or even herself. Because of this, she is always complaining about money, or the lack there of.
Stanley is always passed over for promotions at his office because refereeing keeps him away during tax season. Although he is good at his job, they cannot look past that. Although he enjoys being a ref, he never gets the chance to ref during the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Early on we are given the details of what led Stanley to turn college basketball upside down. A run in with a legendary coach makes him a target of everybody: the media, fans, and even the conference officials he works for. While Stanley seems justified with the way he dealt with the coach, everyone else disagrees.
The negative response that Stanley sees really takes him back. He cannot believe what the game he loves has become. It is then that he decides to hatch his plan to show everyone just what is wrong with the game.
He will begin to bet on basketball games that he referees and influence the decision to make sure he wins. Sounds familiar doesn't it? You have heard of this happening before, but not in the NCAA, but the NBA. Tim Donaghy went from NBA ref to famous standing when it came out that he had been influencing games he refereed in the NBA.
Like Donaghy, Stanley wanted to have a financial gain for his actions. He knew it would take time to get the chance to officiate the NCAA Championship game. So during that time he perfected his skills. At first he would only influence games, but not bet on them. He had to see what he could and could not do.
Over the course of time, he perfected his skills and began to bet on games. With the help of a childhood friend, Flip, he started betting on games. He would select the games he felt best about to bet on. Soon it comes to his friend's attention the success that Stanley has enjoyed. Along with his associate, Switchblade, they form a partnership that raises the stakes for Stanley, but also puts him at a bigger risk of failure. That means getting caught or having a run in with Switchblade.
Eventually Stanley gets his shot at the big game. Of course it comes down to a "David versus Goliath" match up. Will Stanley be able to keep his cool and keep the final outcome under the point spread so he can win? Or will his actions become too obvious and get him caught?
While he feels just in trying to show the bad side of college basketball, he also profits from it. For Stanley it is not just about saving the game he loves because it needs to be saved. He also does it so that he can profit himself from betting.
Overall How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit is an enjoyable read. Wolfe provides an excellent story on what can drive an honest referee over the edge into the dark side of sports. Is Stanley Osborn a hero or villain? You will have to read the book to gain your own opinion of Stanley.
Review by Allen Moody of sportsgambling.about.com
5 Star Rating (highest rating)
There is a definite lack of fiction books that deal with the world of sports betting. For an activity that so many people partake in on a regular basis, authors tend to stay away from the subject, which is too bad, as the potential is there for some excellent stories.
Fortunately, Wolfe doesn't shy away from the subject and instead takes on the taboo subject of fixing games.
How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship For Fun and Profit is told from the perspective of Stanley Osborn, the occasionally quirky accountant who also happens to be a college basketball referee. Osborn's life is far from perfect, beginning with his money-hungary wife Jill, who is always wanting more, to him consistently being bypassed as a partner with the accounting firm.
Osborn takes his job as a referee seriously, so when he is unfairly suspended he plots out a course of action, knowing that it will take some time before it can come to fruition.
The title of the book gives you a pretty good indication where his plan is leading, although the path is definitely not an easy one, and Osborn runs into some rather interesting characters along the way.
The book is probably a bit more thought-provoking to us, as sports bettors, than it may be to somebody who isn't actively involved in the sports gambling scene. The first thing we'll want to know is "Is it Possible?"
Wolfe covers a good amount of the plausibility aspect in the books final chapter, "Notes on What I Did, How, and Why I Did It," mentioning several points, such as the way officials are notorious for calling the game differently down the stretch than they are in the first half, the number of different calls that are purely subjective and others.
Wolfe also looks at several of the problems in college athletics, such as the amount of money the schools are making, while the players are making none, except through some illegal payments, which probably takes place more often than realized.
Officials and Point Fixing
While most people didn't think of a referee as being a conspirator in point shaving until the Tim Donaghy scandal broke, it's something that likely has taken place for a number of years. See Was Tim Donaghy the First Official to Fix Games? for more.
Some of the most definitive work on the possibility of shaving points was done by Justin Wolfers, a professor of business and public policy at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Wolfers looked at the possibility of fixing games both at the professional level and the collegiate level and concluded that is was likely there was something going on in games that had bigger point spreads, which would be among the easiest to fix, as you're not changing the outcome, merely the margin of victory.
But often overlooked in Wolfers' work is this one statement: "Additionally, a major point, untouched in this examination, is that point shaving is consistently attributed to players, while coaches and referees are no less principal characters in basketball games and could be equally culpable. Further research could study substitution patterns and infractions called to test if, instead, coaches or referees are willfully affecting the final margins of games."
How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship For Fun and Profit is an entertaining book that anyone who wagers on basketball will enjoy reading. At $12.95 the book is a solid bargain and is available at bookstores, through Amazon or through Wolfe's website (www.jameswolfebooks.com).
The book is an excellent way to spend some time and will no doubt get you thinking the next time a call goes against your team in a game where the point spread cover is in doubt.
Review by Mitch Blatt of juicedsportsblog.com
James Wolfe sent me an email about his latest book How to Rig the NCAA Tournament for Fun and Profit, and I thought it might be an interesting book to review just as the college basketball season started. The premise is that a frustrated referee decides to expose the NCAA’s corruption in a scandal that will shake the sports world …and give him a big bundle of winnings. With the latest scandals to come out about Miami, Alabama, USC and Ohio State, among others, this is definitely a relevant subject.
Stanley Osborn has troubles at home, at his accounting job and at his side Big Eleven conference referee job. Basketball is his true passion, but his honest naivete is shattered when he gets into a confrontation with one of the power players of the corrupt NCAA and he becomes disillusioned. Throughout the rest of the book, he is working out how he can rig the NCAA tournament and make some money in the process. I am not an avid gambler, but the look Wolfe gave to gambling culture, inside the seedy bars of Detroit and the glamorous clubs (strip and otherwise) of Vegas, was engaging.
For gamblers, the book includes added interest. According to Allen Moody, About.com’s gambling expert:
The book is probably a bit more thought-proviking to us, as sports bettors, than it may be to somebody who isn’t actively involved in the sports gambling scene. The first thing we’ll want to know is “Is it Possible?”
Wolfe covers a good amount of the plausability aspect in the books final chapter, “Notes on What I Did, How, and Why I Did It,” mentioning several points, such as the way officials are notorious for calling the game differently down the stretch than they are in the first half, the number of different calls that are purely subjective and others.
– Allen Moody’s review
Wolfe takes you through years of his planning and action and introduces you to the characters and the places where the action takes place. I myself thought some of the action in the NCAA arena–him officiating in the Big Eleven and with angry coaches threatening his life–was based on real life people, but Wolfe said it wasn’t.
He started writing and researching the book seven years ago, before Tim Donaghy got caught for fixing NBA games, and he stopped when that happened, but he decided to continue with the book after the recent spate of NCAA scandals.
He interviewed dozens of people for background research, including NCAA basketball and football officials, coaches, refs, student athletes, bookies and a Big Ten trustee. He wrote extensively in final section about what he thinks is wrong with the NCAA and what could be changed.
His style throughout the book is humorous with a lot of funny lines about gambling, basketball and the NCAA’s corruption. It’s a quick and enjoyable read at 188 pages. You can find it here atJames Wolfe’s website along with his other books Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse, Little Balls Big Dreams, The Big Five-O Cafe, and two books about sex.
Review from windowssportsbook.com, footballnewsdigest.com, footballnewsdigest.com and basketballfool.com
With the recent allegations that surfaced against the University of Hawaii’s football team, fixing games has once again become a hot topic among sports fans and sports bettors. Basketball gets most of the attention when it comes to fixing games and that is the subject of James Wolfe’s new novel, How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship For Fun and Profit.
The entertaining story is about referee Stanley Osborn and his plan to get even, while getting rich along the way. Things don’t go quite as planned, however, which makes for some entertaining reading.
How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship For Fun and Profitis definitely worth a read.
Review by Mariesa Negosanti of emersoncollegesbs.com December 29, 2011
RATING: 5 out of 5
How to Rig the NCAA Basketball Championship for Fun and Profit is a sports novel intended to display college basketball for what it really is; a business. In this James Wolfe novel, Stanley Osborn uses his power as a college basketball referee as a way to profit and get revenge.
You see, Stanley wasn’t exactly what you would call a “family guy.” He loved his daughter, Amy, but disliked his wife’s constant desire for a more expensive lifestyle. Stanley’s refereeing salary, along with his accountant salary, wasn’t enough to keep his wife from complaining.
Stanley is considered for a promotion every year with his accounting firm, but is always looked over due to his inflexible schedule overlapping with the games he officiates. He loves the sport of basketball first, and everything else comes second.
One incident was all it took to change the way Stanley felt about basketball though. He made one bad call against a popular coach that caused every one to turn on him, including the conference officials who reprimand him.
The negativity he received angered Stanley into his brilliant plan of showing the world just how dirty the game of basketball can be. In the “Notes On What I Did, Why and How I Did It” section of the novel, Stanley notes, “college basketball has become big business,” which is exactly how he approaches his plan of attack.
Stanley put his tactics to practice before betting on any games. It’s amazing how much a few small calls here and there can completely change the outcome of a game, and Stanley proves that he has ability to make it happen.
Once he had mastered the art of rigging a game, he began betting on them with the help of one of his friends, Flip, that is involved in illegal gambling. He starts off with small bets and only rigs a few games out of a season so that he goes unnoticed by the conference officials.
Flip eventually introduces Stanley to his boss, Switchblade, and the three work together to select which games to bid on, how much to bet, and sort out any issues that might come up.
Eventually the opportunity Stanley is waiting for arrives: refereeing the big game. He is able to bet the biggest amount yet, while he also receives a large chunk from Switchblade for doing the dirty work.
The day arrives for Stanley to rig the biggest game of his life. The point spread is not working out in his favor, so if he wants to successfully pull of his plan he needs to make a major call that will likely get him fired from any officiating job he would want. Does he make the career ending calling just to win some money? Read to find out!
James Wolfe changes his readers’ perspective on basketball games and causes them to think twice about every game they watch. He makes solid points as to why basketball is such a subjective sport, and how easy it is to influence its outcome.
Visit jameswolfebooks.com to read more about James Wolfe and his other novels including sports classics like Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse and Little Balls Big Dreams, and more.
Reviews of "Curse? There Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse and Other Stories About Sports and Gamesmanship"
Review by Cubbiedude of viewfromthebleachers.com, Sunday July 26, 2011
The complete title of this book is “Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse – And Other Stories About Sports And Gamesmanship”. The authors are James Wolfe and Mary Ann Presman. It was published in January 2010.
I have to admit, I misunderstood the concept when I first saw the cover of this book. I thought it was an entire book about “The Curse”. And actually, as it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
This book contains eleven short stories: four by James Wolfe, and seven by Mary Ann Presman. They are all good.
Author James Wolfe is an engineer, entrepreneur, and lifelong sports fan. He has authored six books, including “Little Balls, Big Dreams”, a novel about golf.
Author Mary Ann Presman has written advertising copy, newsletters and public relations materials prior to creating the seven short stories included in this book.
The first short story, the title story, is not ABOUT the curse, but it is built around the curse, peripherally. James Wolfe wrote it, it’s 40 pages long, and it’s funny as heck.
The other 10 short stories are peripherally about gambling, bocce ball, golf, basketball, tennis, etc. As I said, they’re all good.
Reviewing briefly each story:
- “Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse”, by James Wolfe, is built around a fantasy which I truly wish would come true. As it is, there is a lot of truth in this story.
- “Gambling 101”,by Mary Ann Presman, involves blackjack and people. It contains an ending which I didn’t see coming, and with which I do not necessarily agree. But, hey, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
- “Backyard Bocce Ball” is about people, families, and bocce ball. This one struck a little close to home, but it was entertaining. Mary Ann Presman hit a home run with “Backyard Bocce Ball”.
- I’ve only golfed twice in my life (not counting hitting balls on the driving range and hitting whiffle golf balls in my yard), but from what I’ve seen, “Wine, Women & Golf”, by James Wolfe, is an accurate depiction of the game and of the people who play it. That’s why I never allowed myself to become obsessed with golf. This one also has an ending which I didn’t see coming, and with which I don’t necessarily agree.
- “Straight Shooter”, by Mary Ann Presman, while not the funniest of the short stories in this collection, might be the most honest. My jaw was dropping as I read it, because Ms. Presman kept hitting the nail on the head. It’s all true! Oh, did I mention it takes place while shooting pool?
- “Paper Airplanes”, by Mary Ann Presman, is possibly the shortest of the short stories in this book. I do not necessarily disagree with the ending, which I did not see coming.
- “Only Three More Outs”, about Little League baseball, almost brought a tear to my eye with its depiction of the perspective of a little guy. Once again, I did not see the ending coming.
- The story in “H-O-R-S-E” unfolds as two brothers play basketball. It is a sibling relationship which I enjoyed following. Families are really something. And, no, I did not see the twist of the ending coming.
- The setting in “Scrabble Date”, (somewhere between a nursing home and a retirement villa, depending upon your personal bias), has become a little too familiar to me lately, but author Mary Ann Presman handles it deftly. I believe this one deserves the descriptor “poignant”.
- The penultimate story, “If Profanity Improved The Golf Game, There’d Be More Good Golfers”, aside from being true and profound on the surface, is about the game of golf. And born-again Christians. Once again, a little close to home. But I enjoyed it.
- Last but not least, “Double Fault” takes place on the tennis courts, but it’s really the universality of humanity we’re exploring here. Not falling down funny, but definitely satisfying.
As I said before, this book turned out to be nothing like I expected at first glance. I really enjoyed it.
I recommend “Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse” highly to anyone with an interest in sports &/or gamesmanship. It’s the human condition we’re looking at here, the human condition and the competitive spirit.
I thank Joe Aiello and the Rensselaer Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of “Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cubs Curse” to read and to review.
Review by Matt Smith of baseballgb.co.uk
‘Curse? There ain’t no stinking Chicago Cubs Curse’ is a collection of eleven “stories about sports and gamesmanship”. The title story is the most substantial piece in the collection. It tells the tale of a rich businessman called Johnny who decides to buy the Chicago Cubs and gleefully runs the organization with the joint intentions of winning the World Series and making lots of money. He immediately poaches the best manager in the game and throws his cash around like confetti to assemble the best team money can buy; however this comes at a price. Cubs fans are able to watch a great team, but they do so at Goldman Sachs Field (the naming rights to Wrigley having been sold to the highest bidder) where advertising billboards take the place of the cherished ivy on the outfield walls and everything, from game tickets to hot dogs, costs a fortune.
Like many good stories, it has a central element of truth to it that draws you in. The dream turned into a nightmare of a rich owner buying up a sports team and doing whatever he wishes has been played out in real life many times before and will be countless times again. Johnny’s brutal description of the Cubs fans who don’t like his methods, “a bunch of malcontent losers who don’t deserve a winning team”, could come from the mouths of plenty of other owners.
The non-baseball stories are just as effective and entertaining, highlighting the different ways in which sports and games form a backdrop to life and bring people together. We see the tensions and acting between relatives in ‘Backyard Bocce Ball’ as the main character’s older brother brings his new much-younger wife to a family get-together, and the way a father’s death lifts a burden from his two sons and brings new light to their relationship while shooting hoops in ‘H-O-R-S-E’. And you’re guaranteed to squirm along to ‘Straight Shooter’, as a thirteen year old girl is given a sex education lesson by her grandfather at the pool hall (“Lucy was glad it was dark in here – she was sure her face was bright red. She’d never heard Grandpa Craig talk like this”).
Wolfe and Presman’s styles mesh together well and the overall mix of characters and settings makes this collection enjoyable to read from cover-to-cover, or to dip into one story at a time.
Read entire Matt Smith review of Curse? here
Review by Brian Corbin at Bullpenbrian.com
If a 102-year championship drought won’t break your Cubs loyalty, what will?
James Wolfe and Mary Ann Presman explore such a scenario in their newest book titled Curse? There ain't no stinking Chicago Cub Curse and Other Stories About Sports and Gamesmanship. Like a top-of-the-rotation dynamo, Wolfe & Presman pitch eleven clever, humorous and imaginative short stories ranging from the Cubs’ Curse to habitual swearing on the golf course!
Not only will you laugh out loud, but you’ll also reflect on some of the toughest questions we often forget to ask ourselves as fans and sportsmen. Read the book to get your answer! I got mine with many chuckles along the way, too! Curse? There ain't no stinking Chicago Cub Curse and Other Stories About Sports and Gamesmanship has reached as high as No. 4 on Amazon’s sports genre best selling list.
Read Brian's entire review here: http://bullpenbrian.com/2010/03/16/curse-there-is-no-cubs-curse
Review by Brandon Christol at Waittilthisyear.blogspot.com
The first two stories in "Curse? There Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse" find the Chicago Cubs making a run toward the World Series and a man named Henry Crawford going on a lucky streak at a blackjack table. If you know me at all, you know I loved the beginning of this book.
There are many reasons to participate in sports and games: to try to win the World Series, to pass the time at a family gathering, or as the background to a first date, just to name a few. James Wolfe and Mary Ann Presman explore these and many other reasons that people engage in friendly--and sometimes not-so-friendly--competition in a collection of 11 short stories that's sure to bring a smile to your face if you've ever played Scrabble, tried to master golf, or dabbled in almost any other competitive activity.
Curse? is a quick read, and an enjoyable one. Whether Wolfe and Presman are exploring sports as power, as diversion, as tradition, or as a way to connect, they draw you in with their unique characters and engaging narrators. The short story format enables them to traverse a variety of sports and games and to analyze some of the many ways in which people compete with one another. Whether you're a sports addict, you enjoy the occasional game, or you just like a good story, Curse? will have something for you.
Read Brandon's entire review of Curse? here
Review by Michael Halston at CubHub
There is a new bookout, Curse, There ain't no Stinking Chicago Cub Curse and Other Stories About Sports and Gamesmanship, by James Wolfe and Mary Ann Pressman. The book is a collection of 11 fictional short stories illustrating how people compete. There are chapters on golf, tennis, gambling, and the fictional story of a Cubs owner who unscrupulously manages to win the World Series. You’ll have to read to story, but let’s just say the team adopted a lust to increase revenue by any means possible – which is starting to sound a little familiar on the Northside. So the moral question here is does the end justify the means? Pick up a copy of this book to further explore this idea.
- Inevitably, talk of whether there is a curse on the Chicago Cubs comes up each season, usually from outsiders or someone looking to stir the pot a bit. Let me go on record as believing the only curse that affects the Cubs is that of a history of bad decisions. No supernatural hexes, no goats, just the natural consequences of poor decision making by management. GMs make bad deals, ownership hires the wrong people, people just generally make mistakes. But I prefer to think of this as an organizational matter not really that of mysticism.
Review by DiLo, thundertreats.com
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Curse? There Ain't No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse: And Other Stories about Sports and Gamesmanship by bestselling author of Little Balls, Big Dreams James Wolfe and Mary Ann Pressman. This book is a collection of 11 short stories that will hold your attention and leave you wanting more from each and every story. Both Wolfe and Pressman have such descriptive writing skills that you are enamored by each story within the first couple of paragraphs. The stories cover everything from baseball to Scrabble. Personal favorites of mine were the main title “Curse? There Ain’t No Stinking Chicago Cub Curse”, “Only 3 More Outs” and “Gambling 101”. The book leads off with the title story and never lets off the gas. Living in Las Vegas, I was reading “Gambling 101” and shaking my head with a smirk on my face because I knew how the story was going to end. I also coach Little League baseball so I was definitely entertained by “Only 3 More Outs”. If you are an avid sports fan then you will definitely appreciate this book. It allows you to sit down and step away from the main stream sports while still being entertained. I can guarantee you that you will be able to relate an experience you, your family or your friends have had to anyone of these short stories. You can purchase this book on Amazon.com for $12.95 or head on over to Jameswolfebooks.com where you can pick up this and other great titles.
Reviews of "Little Balls Big Dreams
Marvin Beatty’s Blog (marvinbeatty.blogspot.com)
Premise: "This is the story of how an average middle-aged guy manages the newly acquired raw talent of a superstar."
I read this book in two sittings, not including throne time. In other words, it held my attention quite well...and I have the attention span of a circus monkey. That this is a book about golf, wasn't really the hook.
The hook came in the form of well-developed characters and vivid imagery. The conversational writing style and cheesy (but funny and very accurate) one liners, will have almost all golfers believing that the story was based on their Sunday golfing partners. Though fiction, there is something so believable about the journey the main character, Matt, gets swept up in. In fact, it didn't take long before I was hitting the shots and feeling the pressure, seeing myself in the main character's shoes.
I won't say that I'm going to go online and buy James' other book, The Big Five-o, right away...but I imagine my significant other, who had to listen to me laughing while repeatedly calling me for dinner, has the website bookmarked and diarized for around the time of my 49th birthday.
I give this book 9 out of 10.
The story was a fun ride. It was an interesting look at a situation where the talent issue is gone, so now what does a man do to reach his dream? As it unfolded, I found myself further wrapped up in wanting him to succeed.
I enjoyed the characters and their interaction. From Matt’s golf buddies who were constantly needling each other, to the fast-talking head of the golf school that Matt attends to Matt himself who was purposely ordinary, I thought they all worked well with the story.
The length of the novel was good. It’s relatively short at 167 pages, though it’s length serves the story well. It flows well and can be finished fairly quickly.
If, like me, you’re a sucker for “golf is a metaphor for life” stories, then this is one you’ll enjoy. I also happen to have a very weak spot for stories about following dreams, and this book delivers in that department too. I enjoyed it, and I think you might as well.
Every once and a while I get offers to read golf books and review them. Puts me in a kinda tough position. What if I think the book is crap? Do I write an honest review after being given a free copy of a book? Do I lie and say I liked it? Nope, I'd never do that. So as much as I enjoy reading I typically prefer to make the decision myself on what I'd like to read.
A couple of months ago James Wolfe emailed me about reading and reviewing his book: Little Balls, Big Dreams. At first I was like, thanks but no thanks. Then I read the title of the book again and thought with a title like that, why not.
Here are my thoughts: Would I put it in the same league as The Da Vinci Code, of course not. Would I recommend this book to any avid golfer - you betcha! This little book (it's around 167 pages) is a pleasant quick read. It's filled with so many golf cliches, terms and phrases I almost forgot some of the lingo existed. If you're a golf fanatic or you've got a buddy that is, you'll really enjoy Little Balls. Worst case scenario, you put it on a coffee table, the title alone makes for great conversation.
What are you waiting for? Buy Now
Review by Chuck Evans, Executive Director of Instruction Medicus Golf Institute
EVERY club has characters like in this book, some even worse! And there ARE teaching professionals like Chip Hagen still around but basically doing the same thing...hustling lesson packages and treating their students gruffly. Think Bob Toski!
If you want something, or someone to cheer for then read this book. I highly recommend it to be added to any golf addicts library.
Review by Mark Balderson, Waggle.com
In addition to being a good story, the book is loaded with material aimed at the mental side of the game. The author does manage to use most every golf cliché you've ever heard and borrows quotes from every great player in delivering his message, but still manages to put forward a lot of good ideas. My favorite was to not confuse worrying for concentrating... what a concept. There are a lot more, many you've heard before, but if you pay attention, you'll certainly find a keeper or two.
Like most middle aged golfers, I tend to think that I can still play and improve. For that reason, I was able to relate to Matt True and it made me happy to see this average fellow get a shot at that dream we've all had. You know; the one about just having the time to practice, just working a little harder, and just getting a nod from the golf gods. And, how that's all it would take to get you/me to the next level. Matt gets all of that and it's a fun story.
Donn's Book Club
For the Cultist, golf is a metaphysical experience requiring a mystical understanding of a higher celestial plane, upon which the individual plays out a solitary contest bounded by the micro cosmos of the inner self. Golf is the religion of the pious “true believer” and this view has been celebrated in works such as Golf In The Kingdom,The Legend of Bagger Vance…and of course The USGA Rules of Golf.
That said, I really enjoyed Little Balls, Big Dreams. It's got a good story, likable characters and is a very enjoyable read. If one must read a "cultist" golf book than this is certainly the one to choose.
I give it a big thumbs up.
Matt True, an aerospace engineer, husband, father, and all around good guy, loves golf. It is the focus of most of his non-working hours. One day, the golf gods allow him to sink a hole in one. From that point on, he can’t seem to hit a bad shot. It’s like every lesson he’s taken, every book he’s read, every golfing video he’s watched suddenly sinks into his subconscious, creating a golfing machine. His game has improved to the point where he decides to go for a childhood dream of becoming a touring golf pro competitor. He begins his odyssey by playing on the semi-pro circuit.
What the golf gods give, they can take away and do so after one year of glory. How Matt deals with sudden fame and consequent failure points to the things that really matter in life. We rated this book four hearts.
Review by Dr. Kiel Christianson, travelgolf.com
This unassuming but entertaining little novel ($12, Windstorm Creative) by a Rockford, Illinois-based writer is worth picking up just for the title. (Might even be a nice, not-so-subtle gift for that lay-about brother-in-law of yours.)
It tells the story of a weekend hacker who is suddenly transformed into a tour-quality player by virtue of a magical hole-in-one.
The freewheeling, up-and-down plotline brings to mind that old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
Review by Mike Gray, lifeintherough.com
"The story was a fun ride. It was an interesting look at a situation where the talent issue is gone, so now what does a man do to reach his dream? As it unfolded, I found myself further wrapped up in wanting him to succeed.
I enjoyed the characters and their interaction. From Matt's golf buddies who were constantly needling each other, to the fast-talking head of the golf school that Matt attends to Matt himself who was purposely ordinary, I thought they all worked well with the story.
If, like me, you're a sucker for "golf is a metaphor for life" stories, then this is one you'll enjoy. I also happen to have a very weak spot for stories about following dreams, and this book delivers in that department too.
I enjoyed it, and I think you might as well."